The EU Policy Lab was invited as a member of the Jury for the 2nd Nudge Climate Challenge. This initiative took place during the Public Innovation week (12-18 Oct), promoted and organised by NudgeFrance, which promotes the Nudge approach in France.

What is a Nudge?

Nudge (which is also the title of a bestseller book by Sunstein and Thaler, 2008) literally means a gentle push. In policymaking, a nudge is a change of the choice architecture that suggests the “right” choice – as citizens would have chosen by themselves, if they had full information and were able to factor in all elements – while leaving citizens free to divert from it. For example, an opt-out system for becoming an organ donor is a nudge, as it classifies everyone as a donor, unless specified otherwise. Therefore, leaving everyone the freedom to opt out.

Organized in the context of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21, the NudgeChallenge is a 3-month Nudge-design hackathon that aims at generating citizen-level actions to mitigate global warming. Working in teams, participants needed to imagine Nudge concepts, and present them to a jury of experts. A second (international) phase will take place in December and will be based on video presentations. Before the Challenge started, experts from the BVA institute organised a series of intensive courses in various French Universities. The Challenge saw a wide and varied participation with 14 well-grounded and fully-fledged projects being presented (during 8 minutes, plus a series of Q&As), from a variety of University and Hautes Ecoles (e.g., AgroParisTech, IAE Gustave Eiffel, Sorbonne, Toulouse SE, Grénoble).

The standard of ideas and presentations was truly outstanding, given that the teams only had 2 weeks to prepare. Some ideas had even been validated with preliminary ethnographic studies.

Award-winning ideas included:

  • a cup-shaped sticker for kettles, visually indicating the ideal quantity of water to be heated for a cup;
  •  a variety of stickers to encourage green choices in dual-flush toilets;
  • a project to leverage groups’ identification to reduce food waste in canteens.
KitKettles, one of the awarded team Picture: Nudge France

KitKettles, one of the awarded team
Picture: Nudge France

I would like to congratulate the organisers as well as the participants. NudgeChallenge demonstrates once more the younger generation’s amazing potential of ideas, creativity and enthusiasm when it comes to imagining a different kind of world.


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