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When is a Nudge Not a Nudge!

When is a Nudge Not a Nudge!

26 October, 2022

The WeRin project wants to know ‘how we can change behaviours to encourage women to join in more for entrepreneurship education and for enterprise start-ups and to feel they belong in the entrepreneurial ecosystem'.


The Hincks Centre, a key partner in the WeRin project, were busy with nudging sessions in week 7 of this semester. Thanks to the kind permission of MTU lecturer Lisa Murphy, Hincks Researchers Dr Sarah Davis and Dr Ana Cruz Garcia visited two BBUSS Year 2 classes on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th October 2022 and ran interactive WeRin nudging sessions over 2 hours. Lisa is Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Department of Management and Enterprise at MTU and PhD Researcher.



Based on work by Kahneman and Tversky related to how biases and heuristics operate, nudging is recognised in behavioural economics as reflecting on how humans behave and interact, and provides more realistic views compared to the traditional economics view of ‘rational’ actors. A nudge can be defined as 'any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives'. (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008, p. 6).



For a nudge, no incentives or inducements are offered; the goal is to make the desired behaviour more likely to be chosen. Nudges are subtle hints, guiding behaviour in a particular direction, without affecting freedom of choice. A nudge is not a nudge if it includes bans, restrictions and/or monetary incentives. Rather, a nudge targets innate biases and automatic responses to encourage alterations or improvements in behaviours. Key biases for this exercise were Availability, Anchoring, and Framing.



Students were given a presentation on bias and a background to the WeRin project. Next, students completed a worksheet to identify: 

  1. A target audience for their nudge;
  2. An existing behaviour and
  3. The targeted new behaviour.

They worked in pairs to design their nudge and explain how it operates. The teams then shared their nudge with another team to conduct an evaluation on the effectiveness of the designed nudge.

Effectiveness was evaluated based on:

  • Relevance to the WeRin project;
  • How specific the nudge was in targeting behaviour and
  • Whether it was possible to measure the change in behaviour.



We were delighted with the engagement during the class and will be awarding a small prize to the team with the most relevant, measurable and specific nudge. Again, we want to thank Lisa for her assistance and interest in the WeRin project.

The Hincks Centre are indebted to the invaluable assistance and access provided by our MTU colleagues. We are very much looking forward to running more of these engaging and interactive WeRin sessions.


To find out more about our inclusive WeRin project, click here to visit the project page on our website.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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