Behavioural Design Digest
July 10th, 2019

Dear reader,

Did you know that in Norway more than 60% of all newly bought cars are electric? Here's the surprising story of how they used smart behavioural design thinking to achieve their aggressive CO2-zero ambitions. They came up with a couple of interventions tht provide people with daily reminders of how awesome it is to drive electric.

I also want to experiment with a new item in this newsletter. In "Meanwhile at SUE, I want to give you a glimpse behind the curtain of what we're currently up to". I hope you like it.


Principle 1: Trigger selfish motives

The Norwegian Government doesn't want to turn you into an eco-fanatic. Neither don't try to convince you to make the transition because of the environment. They just make it much more attractive for you to drive electric. The brilliant part of their strategy is tha they didn't stop at your typical tax cuts - although they are enormous. They turned the benefit in something far more system 1: Electric cars get a free passage at the Toll Gates, get free parking in a lot of municipalities and get permission to drive on the bus lane. In other words: they get to experience the benefits daily. This brings me to the second principle.

Principle 2:  feedback

A driver of an electric car gets constant positive feedback on their behaviours. Every time they use the bus lane to skip traffic jam, or every time they pass a toll gate for free, they get a chance to look at all those combustine engine suckers. They get visual reminders on a daily basis of how stupid one must be to drive the old school way.

The opposite is also true: Every time you get stuck in a traffic jam, and you see a Tesla or an electric Kia legally using the bus lane to cut you off, you get a painful reminder that your not part of the priviledged class of the country.

Principle 3: Take away barriers

The big challenge is still to tackle "range anxiety". More than often, people in Norway buy an electric car for their second car, with which they commute to work. For the long distances, they still don't feel secure enough that they could travel comfortably without having to freak out about finding a re-charge station on time. Norway is investing rapidly in charging infrastructure. Ability is not a detail.

What can we learn: Re-think incentives

First and foremost, we can't compare apples with pears. Norway can issue this enormous tax cut because the country can afford it. The state - ironically - lives of the export of oil. Furthermore: they have - unlike most other countries - a heavy taxation in place on imported cars. A tax cut on the imported electric car quickly makes a significant financial difference.

But what we can learn is that there are far more clever strategies to get people to switch to electric driving. Instead of using the traditional taxation-stick, we could come up with benefits that have a much higher psychological value:

  • Legalize autonomous-driving asap: Last week I saw a guy driving his Tesla while reading his newspaper. I realized I just saw the future. And it looked frikking cool.
  • Give visual benefits in traffic: Definitely in Holland, to be allowed to cut traffic Jams by using the emergency lane, will give you a guaranteed daily dopamine rush to the brain.
  • Replace most parking spots in big cities like Amsterdam with parking spots that are exclusive for electric vehicles. Having to park your diesel on the outskirts of town, while having to take public transport to the city centre, meanwhile having to watch Electric Vehicle owners parking their car next to the canals for free: priceless.

The green revolution is coming.
We're only using the wrong incentives to make it attractive.

Join us at Behavioural Design Fest

We just finished the line-up for the second edition of Behavioural Design Fest, our conference on Behavioural Design on September 20th in Amsterdam. We have Dutch Politician of the Year Klaas Dijkhof on politics, Sony Music CEO Benelux Toon Martens on how to influence employee behaviour in turbulent times, bestseller Author Mark Tigchelaar on how to regain your focus, TUDelft Professor Nynke Tromp on Design for Societal Change, Fundraising guru Alan Clayton on how to design fundraising campaigns that work, SUE founder Astrid Groenewegen on designing happy workspaces and Ruurd Oosterhout on how to design a trolling farm and how to spread fake news. 

PS: Not an unimportant detail, but the conference is in Dutch. We wanted to test-run the potential of Behavioural Design Fest first in our home market, before taking it abroad. 
Get your Early Bird Ticket Now (Dutch)

Meanwhile at SUE...

Cleo and Maaike are currently in Sydney doing a sprint for the UN Refugee Agency. We are running a Behavioral Design training program for eBay Classifieds Group in Germany, UK and The Netherlands. Vincent and Tim are running a Behavioural Design Sprint for a new healthcare brand in the Netherlands. I hosted a sold-out first edition of the Behavioural Design Academy in Finance last week. Astrid is about to complete the product development of our advanced training programs. And Marjan, who's famous for organizing the catering, is about to move to the South of France. That sucks.

Do you consider hiring SUE? Book 60 minutes with SUE. Get to know the people behind SUE / Behavioural Design Academy and get a Behavioural Design perspective on your challenge. Who knows where it could lead to...

Book 60 minutes with SUE
That's all for this week, we hope to catch you next week!

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