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Nudge the machine

Have you ever been the wrong way around IKEA? If so, you’re already a deviant so you can skip this blog. But if not, why not?

Next time, we dare you to go in through the main entrance, grab your yellow bag, notepad and tiny pencil, and turn LEFT. Yes, avert your eyes from the arrows on the floor, ignore the herds who’ve gone right and fight your instinct to follow them.

It starts you at the toilets and meatballs. Your actual shopping begins in the cushions and soft fabrics section. Now please continue that journey in your imagination. We’re going to leave you on that solitary IKEA expedition and come back to you in a paragraph to see how you’re getting along…

Meantime, culture. Your need to belong is strong. Our gregarious nature means that we look at everyone else and take our cue from them. You don’t know you’re doing it, culture just seeps into your bone marrow. You develop an accent to fit into the community around you. You wear certain outfits to fit the occasion. Tattoos, fashions, language, haircuts… we live and breathe culture without really knowing it.

Now, back to IKEA. We left you wandering the ‘wrong’ way. How’s your journey going? Getting in the way probably? Sidestepping? I’m hearing a lot of ‘Sorry. Excuse me.’ I’m guessing you’re being bashed about by the majority who are coming right at you. It’s uncomfortable.

We’re left wondering how many IKEA customers would it take for everyone to start going the ‘wrong’ way? That has to be an academic paper in the making. Our best guess is that if you watched 3 or 4 families in front of you go left, you’d go left too. And if you went left, the people following you would also go left.

Of course, our rule about ‘nudging the machine’ isn’t literally about becoming a maverick IKEA shopper.

It’s to cattle-prod you into thinking about cultural habits that you might have accidentally fallen into. Habits that aren’t necessarily serving you well.

Look around at the masses buzzed up on caffeine, sugar, fast food and even faster media. The internet spreads news, fashions, gossip and haircuts in double quick time. It also spreads negativity, outrage, hatred and bile.

Bottom line? It’s easy to fit in. You’re built to fit in. And fitting in is a perfectly okay short-term strategy but I can’t think of a single person in history who has ever achieved greatness by fitting in.

So why not commit to making 2020 part of your long-term strategy of standing out. For the right reasons.

We called this blog ‘nudge the machine’. What we didn’t tell you upfront is that YOU ARE THE MACHINE. In which case, maybe it’s less about following the crowd and more about setting an amazing example which some may call ‘leadership’.

We’re not asking you to be Martin Luther King or Gandhi. But somebody, somewhere, has to be the catalyst for a better way of thinking and behaving. A more POSITIVE way of thinking and behaving. A spreader of uplifting messages, good news and compliments. A hashtag that brings some happiness.

If you’re that person, others might follow. And their followers might follow them…

And 7.5 billion human beings might turn in an instant.

[If you or your business needs a nudge in the right direction, it’s what we do and you know where we are]

Andy and the team x

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