The beauty of simple solutions

I’m reading a great book titled “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” It’s a little dense but is extremely interesting and discusses how we tend to rely to heavily on our “System 1” (intuitive) thinking and not enough on our “System 2” (deliberative, logical) thinking.

Anyway, I found the image in that pic fascinating. Click it to enlarge it so you can see the graph. So here’s the deal… some psychologists ran an experiment in an office place where they had an honor box for people who drank the office coffee. A sign next to the coffee asked people to please place money into the box if they poured themselves a cup.

The sign worked well by itself, but for 10 weeks these psychologists placed a new weekly image above the sign. As you see in the pic, there was an image of a set of eyes every other week, and an image of flowers every other week.

Notice how much more money people put into the box when the “eyes” images were used than when the flowers images were used. I think it’s fascinating that the eyes made such a big difference, and when I saw this image it reminded me that sometimes there are simple solutions that can lead to significant results.

I was reminded of this scenario the other day as I stood at a restaurant bar awaiting takeout. On the POS terminal was a message in the top left corner of the screen: “Please don’t clock in until the time you are scheduled for.” I’m sure people sometimes still clock in a little early, but I bet that simple message leads to at least 50% fewer early clockins than if there were no message at all. An elegant solution indeed.

Maybe they should ask their POS provider for an “eyes” image to add to it!


P.s. I’m going to start posting about books I’m reading every now and then when I come across something that I believe you might find interesting.