Alex Blau: The Implementation-Intention Framework

Alex Blau is a vice president at ideas42 with projects in consumer finance, design and decision-making, and international development. In our discussion, we focused on a new project he’s working on in the area of supervision of people after they’re released from incarceration, or what we commonly refer to as parole.

The cost of incarceration and supervision is more than just social – it comes with a big price tag. Nearly $7 billion is spent annually to supervise individuals coming out of the prison system and another $9 billion is spent on incarceration. More than 4.5 million people in the United States are under supervision and government data indicate that roughly two-thirds of those released from prison will be arrested within 3 years.

Roughly 50% of the arrests are for rule violations (the other 50% for committing new crimes). Alex and his colleagues at ideas42 are researching ways to change the context of the world the parolees return to with the hope of reducing recidivism. We talked about the novel interventions they’re testing.

We also discussed a brief history of Jamaican music with an emphasis on the rich catalog of the island nation’s artists, emerging near the middle of the 20th century. In our grooving session, Kurt and Tim cover the implementation-intention framework and how reminders via association can be more powerful than specific triggers, especially when triggers are difficult to identify.

We hope you enjoy our discussion with Alex Blau.