Make change easy – take away stumbling blocks

You can only do so much with design, if it is against human nature

Last time we introduced the EAST model of change – If you want to make the change work, it must be Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely – this time we focus on Easy. Humans are purpose built to save energy to always have a strong reserve for the challenging and often changing environment. So, if you want someone to change something, you want to make it easy for them – take away all the actual AND perceived effort, discomfort and stumbling blocks in their way. Here are three strategies, that you may use:

Opt out: In every situation, there is a default outcome. In most cases that is to stick with status quo and to change it we would need to take action to opt in. So not only do we prefer status quo twice that of change, but if we are exhausted, hungry or missing sleep then we typically do not want to change anything, so it is almost impossible. For example, if you ask people whether they want a pension fund, green energy or organ donation, almost everyone agrees. But almost none acts. Instead of asking people to opt in, ask them to opt out, if they do not want to do it – conformity increases from 5-10% to 90-95% with just that trick!

Quick steps: If you have ever been to any old-fashioned company or government agency, you have probably tried death by form – a ton of stuff to fill out, most of it without any real need and all of it filled out countless times before. I always imagine some evil administrator with a lifetime of disappointments concocting new ways to make my life a living hell when I am there. Instead cut the steps, simplify the forms, collect the data yourself, reorder the process, so you only need a small percentage of people to fill out something – and for Pete’s sake save it! Think of Amazon’s one click to buy button – I would love it if it did not cost me so much…😊

Priming: All right all right, I have said it before. But seriously, I promise to stop as soon as you stop dropping sudden-town-hall-strategy-transformation-meetings on poor unsuspecting employees. Just tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. And then tell them what you told them. But not in one meeting. There is nothing wrong in you telling them that when you are looking into the annual strategy update, that you are – drum roll! – looking into the annual strategy update. They will appreciate it. After all it is your job. And once you have given them these updates a few times with just a bit more meat on it every time, they will be wondering why, nothing has been done yet instead of fighting it.


I hope you enjoyed this short introduction to the first dimension in the EAST model – next time we will talk about attractiveness, but if you cannot wait… well you know what to do. or +45-23103206.

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