SWITCH Book Club – a virtual reading experience with Food Grads followers and graduate students from Northeastern University in a synchronized reading of “SWITCH – How to Change Things when Change is Hard” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.
Part 2: Motivate the elephant
Related: Introducing the FoodGrads Book Club
This chapter looks at “destination postcards” – vivid pictures from the near-term future that shows what could be possible.
The authors discuss how change is hard because people are reluctant to alter habits that have been successful in the past. We have all heard this before: “This is the way we have always done things.” A great look at this can be found by watching some of those bar, hotel, or restaurant rescue types of shows where the owners are in deep financial trouble, yet they insist on not changing their menu or their ingredients…their practices or their priorities.
However, being presented with evidence that makes you feel something could give impetus to change. After the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E.coli outbreak, I spoke to President Clinton, testified before the Senate, and visited legislators to push for a strong response and policy change. In gaining Congressional support to pass the 2010 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), advocacy groups used young victims of foodborne illness to tell their stories directly to their legislators. Today, a great deal of industry training involves bringing in experts who can not only highlight data and explain policy, but who can share case studies to highlight the true burden of disease. All of these examples involve a very emotional plea to policymakers and to those working at every step from the farm to the fork.
The reality is that it takes, more than often, a crisis to convince people they have no choice but to change. Most food policy is reactive in nature, meaning that they come in response to incidents and crises where consumers have already been harmed or worse.
How can we be proactive and effective in motivating people to change behavior without needing to wait for the next outbreak or recall?
What are your thoughts? book
Author: Dr. Darin Detwiler, LP.D., M.A.Ed., is the Assistant Dean at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. He is a professor of food regulatory policy, specializing in food safety, global economics of food and agriculture, Blockchain, and food authenticity. Detwiler recently received the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Distinguished Service Award (Sponsored by Food Safety Magazine.)
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