617 - Choice Architecture
Designing a system or organization for humans requires understanding not just choice and behavior motivations (good in most cases, we hope), but also learning about the reasons we blunder and make mistakes. Thus, even when incentives are "aligned" with overall system goals, there are many instances where we make poor choices because as human beings, we are all susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of unwanted and unintended outcomes and decisions. Our errors are what make us human, but up until now, they have been largely ignored by systems designers, whether these designers make complex public policy, manage a team or design an information system. But knowing how people think, we can become choice architects who design environments that both yield better decision making on the part of users, and achieve behavior that is consistent with overall system goals while gaining a competitive design-edge.
The first goal of this course is to inform future information system professionals, designers and managers about human decision rules and their associated biases so that these insights can be incorporated into their design, business or management strategies. Knowledge of these issues can be a significant source of competitive advantage because they are unknown to most information systems professionals and they are not taught in most I-schools. The second goal of this course is to clarify how these results can be leveraged to create original and more effective systems and institutions that meet the designer's goals.