by Cecil Scheib

Being crazy is defined as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So, with so much research out there describing how peoples’ brains work in real life (look here and here) why are activists so attached to the same failed methods?

Once you understand that just putting info out there doesn’t significantly change behavior, will you do things differently? Or will this exhortation have the same effect as all the “Please turn off the lights!” stickers out there?

(Thanks to David Roberts at Grist for the idea.)

4 Responses to “Wanna change the world? Don’t be an idiot.”

  1. Sometimes, you have to turn the light off before you learn to turn it on. We forget.

  2. The thing is that sometimes giving people more information does change their behavior. Maybe it only works for some issues and probably only on a percentage of people but sometimes it works.

    For instance, some people stop eating meat once they are given information on where it comes from and how it affects the environment. But, given that this is info that most people know and only 10% of people are vegetarians, its not likely that just sharing the same info again and again will change much.

    So the hard part sometimes is figuring out a new strategy that will get you the next 10%. It doesn’t mean the first strategy was wrong. Its just that its only part of the picture. You may need a dozen strategies before you get to the tipping point.

  3. Cecil, this is brilliant! Thanks for the links. It’s nice support for the work we already do at WARM Training Center, but also a crucial conversation for activists everywhere to have. I’m going to edit myself and not just blather on it right now, but I will point to this great video of a pechakucha presentation on emotionally intelligent signage:

    http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2007/09/pecha-kucha-and.html

    (See the second youtube video on the post) – and my own reply down in the comments.

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