Participatory Physical Visualizations

“It’s natural to think optimistically (about the future) but it’s not hard to think realistically.”

“The famous psychology professor Dan Gilbert made a series of TV commercials for the insurance company Prudential, together with Ray Del Savio from Droga5 and Colin McConnell from Prudential. These TV commercials make a clever use of participatory physical visualizations to demonstrate and explain human biases in financial planning.”

Why is this visualization technique successful/inspirational/unique?

  • Combines group participation and action to stimulate conversation.
  • It takes “real-time” crowdsourced data and makes a discrepancy easy to see.
  • The design/platform for discussion allows for self-discovery and trustworthiness.
  • Marketing/Communications Blogger, Peep Laja: “You help them discover for themselves what feels right and best, and most advantageous to them by presenting your case using contrast and simple, tangible language and demonstration. Their ultimate decision is based on self-interest. That’s emotional. “I want this. This is good for me”. Remember, old brain is selfish.”

What improvements could be made to this presentation of information?

  • Not all commercials are successful, the domino challenge misuses metaphor (money in your pocket is a tiny domino that over time grows to a retirement domino/knocks it over.) The message is obscured by “how easy” it is to save for retirement, when it needs to suggest “why” to save.
  • The documentation poses a concern for empathy within and outside of the situation. The visualizations are effective to the participating groups in person. The visualizations are the result and the process. The language of the commercial could be beefed up to include more pensive questions to the TV audience essentially putting them in the shoes of the participants.

What designs are of precedence?

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