2018 Message from the Chairman

Dear Members –

Dear Colleagues of the Management Board –

Dear Supporters and Advisors –

Dear Readers and Followers –

From outside, one might have thought the Rational Think Tank entered belated hibernation last January until we hosted the 1st Panel on Nudging and Design Decisions in November. But I am glad to assure you that the team pushed all projects even further, beyond all limits imagined at the end of 2017.

In my last Message of the Chairman, I suggested different projects to come up in 2018 – and I am glad to keep my word. Our members assisted Professor Avishalom Tor and Professor Florian Faust, who started a joint research at Bucerius Law School. In this project, we had the opportunity to work closely with Prof. Tor, providing all kinds of assistance. Whether translational work, research assistance or running trial surveys: The members had the opportunity to develop their scientific abilities even further and to learn from this proven expert on the field of behavioral science. In addition, two further research projects launched in January 2017. No less than four members started their own research under the advice of Prof. Tor, for which we are extremely thankful.

Also, we started to work on another extensive publication, regarding which we should not go into details yet. Six of our members started to invest incredible amounts of their time into this project, collaborating with an advisory firm. This project is so complex and comprehensive that we do not know whether we can finish it in 2019 – but it will become a milestone of the Rational Think Tank’s development.

At the end of the year, the Rational Think Tank and its local sub-entity Bucerius Rational Think Tank hosted the First Panel on Nudging and Design Decisions at Bucerius Law School (Hamburg). Professor Avishalom Tor (USA) and Professor Kai Purnhagen (Netherlands) gave their professional insights into selected aspects on the current debate, moderated by Dr. Laurence O’Hara (Germany).

It goes without saying that these achievements were made possible by the untiring energy and work done by the 100% unpaid performance of our very valuable community. The members combined unimaginable amounts of working hours, donating their work force – while enjoying the joint work as well. In consequence, we sacrificed our weekly publications to the benefit of all the described projects. Even though we were not able to develop our blog posts by the way, we had an increase in followers of 8.2 per cent. This shows that our topic becomes more relevant – and that our NPO is still perceived as a notable player.

Looking into the future, we can be optimistic. Our conflict of resources between online publications on one hand and research projects on the other hand is not at all a sign of weakness. It rather is proof of the tremendous potential looming in our organization. It shows that within the Rational Think Tank there is space, need and developing prospects for new members. Currently we are in the comfortable situation of having too many projects for too few members.

In the upcoming year – I have great confidence – we can take key steps. We will give our followers further insights into the behavioral aspects of the law. We will complete some of our projects and start others. And we will strengthen our community, enriching it with more diverse and even more active participants.

Key to a positive and healthy development will be our General Assembly, which will convene within the first months of 2019. During this gathering, some of our Managing Board members will be replaced upon their own request. I trust the General Assembly to choose new, strong and energy-rich candidates from among their own ranks.

Furthermore, I trust them to find a well-suiting candidate to replace me as Chairman as well. It was not easy, but when I sent the rescission notice to my fellow board members, I knew I did the right thing. If the General Assembly choses to, I will gladly serve as board member the next term as well. But with the peak of my academic education in front of me, I had to ask myself whether I still could satisfy the high demands of the position of the Chairman.

In conclusion, the last two years went even better than expected. We exceeded our own expectations and surpassed every goal set on the way. Month for month, year after year: This project grew, carried on the backs of our members, Managing Board, our advisors and the support of our very honored readers.

In the last two years, I spend numerous hours with my executive colleagues, our local members and our followers and supporters. As I wrote in my 2017 Message and as I will continue to say in this, my for the time being last Message of the Chairman: There is no team in the world that could replace the motivation, skills and brilliant minds of the Rational Think Tank’s members.

The future has potential. And behavioral science is the future. Thank you all for your contribution. Without you, this project would not be as amazing; without you, there would not be potential.