Through a stream of information and rewards, feedback loops—already common in executive coaching and athletics—can turn around bad habits and redirect people toward good ones.
Think about those roadside signs that say YOUR SPEED. No police officer is standing by to ticket speeders: it’s just a flashing number. Yet, when people see those signs, they slow down an average of 14%.
That’s a feedback loop. It has four stages:
- Behavioral data must be measured and stored.
- The data must be relevant.
- The consequences have to be clear. That is, the data have to light the path ahead.
- Action. People need a distinct moment when they can recalibrate, choose and act. That new action is measured and the feedback loop starts again.
— Adapted from “The Feedback Loop,” Thomas Goetz, Wired.