GDPR: Meaningful Consent or Meaningful Choice? Which is more valuable?



GDPR: Meaningful Consent or Meaningful Choice? Which is more valuable?

There’s something curiously comforting in a single choice… Accept and Continue. It’s a choice without a choice. If you wish to continue you must Accept. The Path is clear – the consumer is going in your direction!

On May 25, 2018, that all changes. With the enforcement of GDPR we go from no choice to meaningful consent. I wonder if anyone has sat down and thought about the psychological changes that will be introduced with more choices to consent to?

This weekend I started reading – – “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath: link

It is absolutely fascinating… you get to learn about the Elephant and the Rider inside each of us. The emotional side is the Elephant and our rational side is the Rider. As you can imagine while the Rider has some control when the Elephant takes over, it’s literally over.

To change someone’s behavior you’ve got to change the person’s situation. For example, you can send someone to rehab but when the treatment is over and they return to their original environment how do you sustain the change?

Well, it turns out that you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds (the Elephant and the Rider).

So where am I going with this? Let’s contrast and compare – Meaningful Consent versus Meaningful Choice. The two are polar opposites.

GDPR mandates Meaningful Consent – which is really nothing more than a list of items to consent to. They are generic, designed for N number of people. But something strange is about to happen…

Meaningful consent will be turned into Meaningful Choices. As each individual scans the list they will choose differently. Something designed for N number of people will actually return an Individual’s choice.

We call this designed for N of 1. (link) An n-of-1 experiment is the smallest study you could possibly do: one that involves just a single subject – Me.

When I turn meaningful consent into meaningful choice it becomes a N of 1 experiment.

Something else also happens — something that you wouldn’t expect. When presented with a single choice – Accept and Continue the Path is clear to the Rider. When presented with multiple consents the Path is confusing to the Rider.

GDPR will bring confusion as meaningful consent turns into meaningful choices. If you want to get an individual “N of I” to change you will not only have to change their environment, but also influence their hearts and minds by providing a clear path that aligns both the Elephant AND the Rider.

What does this all translate to? Well studies have shown that when presented with more choices the ‘Path’ for the Rider to choose from is no longer clear. In fact, it becomes even more confusing. Ultimately the Elephant in us takes over and the results are no longer truly quantifiable. Essentially N of 1 (the Individual) reverts to generic N.

This translates into a loss of value to your business. For those businesses that solve the N of 1 problem you will be able to align the hearts and minds of your customers and therefore the meaningful choice is far more valuable than meaningful consent.

All that remains now is the “How”? As in, how do you go from N of 1 to 1 to N?

And that’s a discussion for another post.

Posted in: GDPR, Privacy, Privacy by Design

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