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The Decision Corner

The Decision Corner

By The Decision Lab
The Decision Corner connects you with cutting-edge insights from the world's best applied behavioral scientists to bring wisdom to your daily and professional life.

Rather than talking about nudges and trying to codify science into design principles, TDC goes deep and finds out just how the world's brightest minds solve complex real-world problems using the social sciences.
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Bringing Behavioral Science into the Real World with Dilip Soman

The Decision Corner

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Nudging kids into school with Emily Bailard and Steven Masnajak
Brooke speaks to Emily Bailard and Steven Masnajak from Everyday Labs, an organization that applies behavioral science to improve student outcomes. They discuss the growing issue of chronic absenteeism in schools across the United States and how nudges and other behavioral interventions can be used to keep kids in school and engage with their families. Some of the things covered include: - What leads to chronic absenteeism and the barriers to effective school participation. - Its impact on student success, grade levels, and the likelihood of progression to college. - How COVID exacerbated some of the underlying factors that lead to chronic absenteeism. - The role of nudges in engaging family members and communicating the importance of school participation. - Practical steps that teachers and education officials can take to make their student engagement policies more behaviorally informed and ultimately, more effective.
33:13
January 17, 2022
Disgusting decision-making with Yoel Inbar
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Yoel Inbar - professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and expert in how the feeling of disgust influences human judgment and decision-making. Together they define what it really means to feel a sense of disgust and its evolutionary purpose as a means of preventing risk or harm (like stopping us from eating rotten food!). On the flip-side, we hear about the negative consequences of disgust and why it can lead to biased or flawed judgements. Some of the things discussed include: - What is disgust and what purpose does it serve from a biological or evolutionary perspective? - Why justifying our disgust with moral reasoning, i.e. “It disgusts me so it must be wrong!” can be troublesome. - Descriptive versus normative beliefs, and how disgust affects both in different ways. - Does disgust affect people differently, and do some people get more ‘grossed out’ by things than others? - Strategies to acknowledge our disgust, and allow us to question whether it’s serving us effectively or not.
27:15
December 13, 2021
Designing blueprints for behavior change with Ruth Schmidt
In this week’s episode, Brooke speaks to Ruth Schmidt, Associate Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design, and expert in all things related to behavioral design and its application to organizational strategy. Their conversation looks at the evolution of choice architecture to a deeply human-centered evaluation of organizational systems and processes, and how it’s impacting behavioral change strategies, and ultimately, organizational success. Some of the things discussed include: - How insights from behavioral science and behavioral design can be used to complement each other in addressing organizational challenges, despite their differences in approach. - Balancing evidence of something working in the past, with evidence that something else may work in the future. - How behavioral design can improve strategy - moving from choice architecture to choice infrastructure. - Behavioral design and innovation. Having a true understanding of why you’re trying to innovate and aligning your systems, culture, and incentives with that ambition. - The role of leadership, and why behavioral interventions need to be driven both from the top-down and the bottom-up.
47:59
November 29, 2021
From feeling to knowing with Antonio Damasio
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Antonio Damasio - David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience at the University of Southern California and author of Feeling and Knowing: Making Minds Conscious. Some of the topics discussed include: - Why feelings are integral to our understanding of consciousness. - The evolutionary origins of our nervous systems and eventually, our ability to have and regulate our feelings. - How feelings have been overlooked in scientific explanations of consciousness, and why a paradigm shift is important. - Challenges and opportunities around A.I. - how can we make robots have feelings? - The importance of understanding the unique way human consciousness developed, and what it can teach us about our future selves, as well as our technological developments.
40:23
November 22, 2021
Why your HR practices might not be as inclusive as you think with Sonia Kang
In this episode of the podcast, Brooke speaks to Sonia Kang, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, Chief Scientist at the Behavioural Economics in Action Research Center at Rotman School of Management, and Canada Research Chair in Identity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Their conversation addresses some of the major diversity and inclusion pain points that job candidates, employees, and employers encounter throughout the HR cycle, from recruitment to onboarding and training. Sonia shares fascinating insights from her research, and offers practical advice for organizations seeking to improve the processes they use to attract talent, and ensure their employees feel as though they belong and are valued in their workplace. Some of the things discussed include: Recruitment barriers, from gender stereotypes to biased application systems. Zooming out to the wider picture when searching for the right candidates, and how hiring in sets can help identify the best people for your existing teams. Making employees feel like they belong through onboarding co-creation. The use of defaults to encourage promotion competition. Practical steps organizations can immediately take to address gaps in their inclusion and diversity strategies.
41:54
November 15, 2021
Bringing Behavioral Science into the Real World with Dilip Soman
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Dilip Soman, Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science & Economics, University of Toronto Professor and Director of the Behavioural Economics in Action Research (BEAR) Centre at Rotman School of Management. Together they explore the translation of behavioral science theory into practice, common intervention pitfalls, and the types of strategies organizations and individuals can implement to make their interventions more robust and ultimately, more successful. Some of the topics discussed include: - Why ‘shopping at the nudge store’ doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes, and how practitioners should consider the unique ‘seemingly irrelevant factors’ that exist in their particular context. - The ladder of evidence - adopting a variety of approaches to intervention testing, that isn’t just another randomized controlled trial. - Moving beyond statistical averages and considering the larger picture. - Why a house listed for $1 will likely get a much higher sale price than the predetermined asking price. - Organizational and psychological barriers to intervention testing and experimentation. - How individuals can catalyse change in their organizations, and overcome some of the human biases that impede on the ‘discipline of testing’.
39:02
October 25, 2021
The Uber-fication of Public Transit with Remi Desa
Remi Desa, CEO and Co-Founder of Pantonium, sits down with Brooke to discuss his company’s innovative proposal to improve public transit: on-demand buses. Remi believes in a future where public buses can respond in real time to their users instead of following a set schedule. His concept has already been implemented in several cities in North America, demonstrating huge increases in bus ridership, and decreases in mileage and operating costs. Remi’s combined background in engineering and entrepreneurship has led him on a fruitful journey to change how we experience public transportation.  In this episode, Brooke and Remi discuss: - The huge increase in digital communication and data that has made his vision a reality - The North American tendency to treat public transportation as a last-resort, instead of a viable, efficient option - The necessary spectrum between on-demand models and set schedule models - Maintaining public transport accessibility - Cities’ risk aversion to changing their transportation systems
26:30
October 18, 2021
Management in the WFH World with Jean-Nicolas Reyt
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour at McGill University in the Desautels Faculty of Management. Jean-Nicolas’ research focuses on the meaning employees attach to their work and workplaces. In their discussion, Brooke and Jean-Nicolas discuss the rationale for a shift from Scientific Method approaches to management, in the context of increased remote working driven by the pandemic, as well as a greater demand for work flexibility from high-value employees. Some of the topics discussed include: - Organizations’ reliance on management models developed for factory, conveyor-belt workers, and why these don’t serve advanced Western economies. - The need for more accurate measures of performance, based on output rather than impression management. - Strategies that managers can implement to build trust and confidence in their teams.  - The role of leadership in establishing a common sense of meaning and purpose. - How organisational culture helps bridge the physical and motivational gap between individuals and the collective.
45:06
October 11, 2021
Decision-Making in the Doctor’s Office with Dr. Talya Miron-Shatz
In this episode of The Decision Corner Podcast, Brooke is joined by Talya Miron-Shatz: researcher, consultant, and author of her upcoming book, Your Life Depends On It: What You Can Do To Make Better Choices About Your Health. Miron-Shatz’s expertise lies within the realm of medical decision-making, particularly around improving patient decision-making outcomes. This conversation details how the shift in access to medical information has changed the physician-patient relationship, along with practical solutions that can be implemented into our everyday lives to improve our health decision-making. Some of the topics discussed include: - How the physician-patient relationship is changing  - The confirmation bias and how it affects our health choices - The importance of considering alternatives in decision-making - The impact of mental resource depletion on decision-making - The impact of decisions on both doctors and patients - Practical solutions that we can implement to improve our health decision-making
41:45
October 04, 2021
The Elements of Choice with Eric Johnson
In this episode of The Decision Corner podcast, Brooke is joined by Eric Johnson, director of the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia University and author of the upcoming release, The Elements of Choice. Johnson’s expertise lies in how we make decisions, but also how those decisions are influenced by how our choices are perceived. This conversation details important topics from the book, such as what choice architecture is, and how it relates to choice engines. It also dives into how, if we are aware of how choice architecture works, we can actually use it to our benefit, and make better decisions. Some of the topics discussed include: - Differentiating choice architecture from nudges - What are designers, and how do they influence others' decisions? - Assembled preferences and how they influence our decision making - How choice engines differ from choice architecture - The gradual convergence of choice architecture and choice engine design - Using choice architecture to our benefit, and to improve or create new interventions
40:11
September 27, 2021
Algorithms that Run the World with Cathy O’Neil
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke Struck sits down with Cathy O’Neil, CEO of ORCAA and author of the New York Times bestseller Weapons of Math Destruction. Having studied and worked at some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Harvard, MIT, Barnard College, and Columbia, O’Neil has been outspoken about the social risks of algorithms. In this conversation, O’Neil dives into some of the “invisible” problems that algorithms pose for society, and how decision-makers can create more responsible algorithms to better outcomes for society. This episode includes discussions about: - The political nature of algorithms - How algorithms don’t predict the future, but create conditions for future events to occur - How algorithms influence predictive policing - How these biases invade hiring platforms and processes - The purpose of algorithms, which tend to serve those who create them - How policymakers and decision-makers can generate more responsibility among technicians
29:25
September 20, 2021
What Boomers can Learn from Millennials with Karl Moore
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke is joined by Karl Moore, Oxford University Associate Fellow and McGill University Professor, and author of the upcoming book, OK Boomer: Working With Millennials and Generation Z. With 12 years of sales and marketing management experience, Karl has been named one of the top four business professors in Canada, and one of the world’s greatest business thinkers by Business Strategy Review. He has also interviewed hundreds of leaders for his research on extroverted, ambiverted, and introverted leadership styles, including leaders like Justin Trudeau, Muhammad Yunus, and Sir Richard Branson. This conversation applies Karl’s management knowledge to intergenerational workforces, including topics such as: - The modern and postmodern worldview that differentiates Boomers and Millennials - The impact of worldview on work style, including our perception of truth - Why Boomers should make room for empathy in their workplaces - Why some life lessons become less relevant as we age - The six lessons for senior executives from OK Boomer - Casual workplace connection in the age of WFH
34:37
September 13, 2021
Humanizing the Workplace with Ryan Stelzer
In this episode of The Decision Corner podcast, Brooke is joined by Ryan Stelzer, co-founder of Strategy of Mind and co-author of the upcoming book, Think, Talk, Create. Stelzer’s expertise lies in management consultancy and pulling in aspects of psychology, philosophy and cognitive science to optimize the workplace. This conversation details important topics from the book, such as the importance of humanizing the workplace again, psychological safety and the consequences of taking a numbers-only approach. It also dives into small changes that individuals can incorporate into their daily lives to promote change. Some of the topics we discuss include: How the over-emphasis on numbers in organizations has caused us to de-humanize the workplace The issues surrounding short-term value-oriented decision making The importance of practicing active inquiry at all levels of the company hierarchy The secret to financial success and how it lies in psychologically safe organizations How psychological safety relies on all stakeholders to work together How to create a healthy blend of values within an organization How a ledger-only approach can limit your upward mobility
35:55
August 23, 2021
What We Say Versus What We Do with Kate Laffan
Kate Laffan, Marie Curie Fellow at University College Dublin, explains why we struggle to reach the goals we set for ourselves: the intention-behaviour gap. One of the ways this gap manifests is in our environmentally-conscious behaviour. We can work personally and collectively to better align our behaviours to our intentions, and make the world a little better off by doing so. This podcast delves deep into changes we can bring about on an individual and organizational level to benefit the environment, including topics such as: Key behaviours that we can change, such as meat consumption, air travel, and our housing Reducing intention-behaviour gaps on the organizational level, through strategies that include prosocial incentives, green defaults, and decision aids Creating change on an individual level through implementation intentions, monitoring, and reflection Using COVID-19 induced changes in work environments as opportunities for behavioural change
28:57
August 16, 2021
Health Equity for Black Communities with Dr. Onye Nnorom
In this episode of the podcast, Brooke is joined by Dr. Onye Nnorom, president of the Black Physicians’ Association of Ontario and an experienced physician who helps people understand how factors of racism impact marginalized groups, especially in the context of health. Also known as “Dr. O” on her podcast “Race, Health, and Happiness,” the two discuss racialized communities’ experiences with the health system, vaccines, strategies to build trust, and optimism for the future. Supported with important real-world examples of systemic shortcomings and effective ways to increase trust within Black communities, the conversation explores COVID-19 through a much-needed racialized lens. Some specific topics include: Drivers behind low vaccine uptake rates within Black communities in Canada. The importance of lived experience and intergenerational wisdom. The history of Black communities being exploited by public health systems. The need for open discussions around vaccine distrust, rather than forcing uptake. Integrating cultural humility into all levels of the healthcare system. The three stages of vaccine rollout and how they’ve been experienced by Black communities in Canada. Barriers that prevent respect for, and acknowledgment of, racialized intergenerational wisdom from the dominant culture. Strategies to increase Black communities’ trust in the public health system. How to navigate difficult discussions on vaccine hesitancy.
43:14
August 09, 2021
Confronting our (Un)conscious Bias with Dr Lasana Harris
UCL Professor of Behavioral Science Dr Lasana Harris joins Brooke for this episode of the podcast. In a fascinating discussion that questions the ‘unconscious’ nature of what most psychologists would refer to as unconscious bias, Dr Harris draws from research in the fields of neuroscience and social psychology to help explain why human beings experience bias, how it manifests in our behaviour, and what we can do to overcome it, beyond ‘box-checking’ debias training. Some of the things discussed include… The neuroscience behind the origins of our bias. Hint: it relates to our natural ‘fight or flight’ response. Why we are often aware of our own bias, but tend to attribute it to the wrong factors. Debiasing - why most bias trainings provided by organisations are done to fulfill legal obligations or improve corporate image, and how they can be improved. Embracing our individual responsibility to educate ourselves around bias while acknowledging that systemic change is required to address the environmental factors that fuel it. The ‘statue debate’ and whether cancel culture is erasing potential lessons from the past, or a sign of progress in the direction of a more inclusive society.
40:18
August 02, 2021
The Human Error Behind Fake News with David Rand
In this episode of the podcast, Brooke is joined by David Rand, professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Together, the two explore David’s research on misinformation, trying to understand why people believe fake news, why it is spread in the first place, and what people can do about it. Brooke and David also discuss real life applications of strategies to prevent misinformation, especially as it pertains to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and news outlets. Specific topics include: The categories of fake news, including blatant falsehoods, hyperpartisan news, and health misinformation The roles that bots, algorithms, and humans play in the dissemination of fake news How algorithms fail to analyze why people pay attention to certain information The tension between our preferences and our limited cognitive abilities How our beliefs can be tied to our social identities How media platforms can do create healthier ecosystems for information processing Platforms’ imperative to be proactive, rather than playing catch up with misinformation And does controlling the spread of misinformation infringe on the freedom of speech?
39:28
July 26, 2021
Creating Great Choices with Roger Martin
In this episode of the podcast, Brooke is joined by Roger Martin, an experienced strategy advisor, former Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and co-author of Creating Great Choices. Together, the two explore business models and how we can make great choices when faced with incongruity. Supported with real-world examples, the discussion addresses how we should move forward when we don’t get the outcomes we hoped for. Some specific topics include: Our disinclination toward compromise and how to get around making “either/or” decisions Bob Young and his company Red Hat, who took two unappealing choices and built a superior model amidst the free software movement The ladder of inference that leads us to focus on monoliths How the Toronto International Film Festival overcame the power of monoliths and became the most important film festival in the world The three steps for integrative thinking, an alternative to accepting polarized situations How Roger transformed the Rotman School of Management into one of the highest-ranked business schools in research How people can work toward integrative thinking through their everyday choices
39:08
July 19, 2021
Health Journalism in an Infodemic with André Picard
André Picard, renowned Canadian health journalist, converses with Brooke about the value of clear public health communication and the importance of teasing out truthful information from the tangle of misinformation. Picard discusses the responsibilities of stakeholders in curbing the COVID infodemic, from publishers and writers to readers. Several thought-provoking ideas explored in this podcast: The COVID infodemic The influence of public health communication strategies How to prepare students for an infodemic The necessity of skepticism without cynicism The value of service journalism and the trouble with media polarization
30:24
July 12, 2021
Cyber Scenario Planning with Alan Iny, Sanjay Khanna, and Michael Coden
In this episode of the podcast, Brooke chairs a roundtable discussion at the intersection of risk, scenario planning and cybersecurity. His guests are Sanjay Khanna, Strategic Advisor and Foresight Expert, and Advisor to The Decision Lab; Alan Iny, Global Lead for Creativity and Scenarios at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Michael Coden, Global Lead for BCG Platinion’s Cybersecurity Practice. Together they discuss the human and systemic vulnerabilities that expose us to cybersecurity risks, and how scenario planning and creative problem solving can help mitigate such threats. Drawing from countless real-world examples of major global crises, they argue that although our best thought-out plans may never materialize, the process of planning itself is invaluable. Some topics discussed include: The guests’ recent thought leadership on cybersecurity, including two potential future cybersecurity scenarios - one reflecting greater multi-stakeholder cooperation, the other reflecting a more fragmented, individualistic response. Balancing a need for individual awareness and responsibility around cybersecurity with a wider systematic approach to the challenge. If human error is the root cause of cybersecurity breaches, how can we help people avoid such errors? The case for scenario planning, not as a prediction tool, but as a mechanism to prepare for a range of plausible scenarios. Real-world examples of how scenario planning has enabled international organisations to prepare for risks that bear similarities to events such as Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.
56:07
July 05, 2021
The Fun in Boredom with James Danckert
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke is joined by James Danckert, professor of Psychology at the University of Waterloo and co-author of Out Of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom. They dive into the purpose of boredom and how we can make these dull moments important and meaningful. This podcast covers: Why boredom is so important for finding meaning in your life How the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ can help you get focused What Chris Hadfield, farming, and the myth of “only boring people get bored” all have in common Why COVID-19 has made us more bored than ever before How the “Dark Room Problem” means our brains can’t operate as predictive machines Why you should sometimes binge watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians
37:02
June 28, 2021
Holistic, Human, and Honest Financial Planning with Cary List
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke is joined by Cary List, the past president and CEO of FP Canada, an organization designed to professionalize financial planning. Throughout this episode, he provides his expert perspective on the changing industry of financial planning. Zeroing in on the transformational power of technology, behavioral science, and improved professional standards, List paints a picture of a brighter future for the field of financial planning. Some specific topics of this episode include: The seismic shift in the financial planning industry from a sales first industry to a people-first industry How the pandemic impacted trust in the financial services companies The innovative digital techniques of fintech organizations, and how they may be falling behind the curve What roles human financial advisors will play in an increasingly automated world How Cary’s “3H model” can transform financial planning into a more holistic, human, and honest profession
47:11
June 21, 2021
Situation normal all futured up (SNAFU) with Sanjay Khanna
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke is joined by Sanjay Khanna, a strategic advisor and foresight expert. Sanjay’s job is to be ahead of the curve on wide-ranging issues, whether they be geopolitical, socioeconomic, sociocultural, psychosocial, technological, or ecological. This has led him to have a unique and interesting career, with his evidence-based insights informing scholarship, innovation and foresight practice at a global law firm, numerous businesses, governments and NGOs, including a senior advisor to Biden’s transition team. Drawing on his knowledge, this conversation focuses on issues such as converging crises, how to model plausible future scenarios, and how behavioral science can help us understand the future.
30:46
June 14, 2021
Ethics for Aesthetics with Jonathan Haidt and Alison Taylor
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Jonathan Haidt, the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the Stern School of Business NYU, and Alison Taylor, the executive director at Ethical Systems and an adjunct professor at NYU. In today’s episode, they discuss the role of ethics and values in business, including the challenges associated with Generation Z, and the workplace culture changes that have been fuelled by the evolution of social media and increasing polarization in countries like the United States. They talk about the challenge of hearing from all members of the workforce, and not just the most polarized who are shouting the loudest. If you’re curious about whether businesses should remain politically neutral, have an interest in business ethics and the changing landscape of modern corporate leadership, this episode is for you! Some of the topics discussed include: The challenges that come with leading a multi-generational and politically motivated workforce. Should businesses take a stance on social issues? Is neutrality a viable position? Business ethics as a way of conducting business, as opposed to being a safeguard against legal action or public outcry. Fostering a safe culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions without fear of backlash from the public, or their co-workers. The role of behavioral science in business - beyond the marketing department.
48:08
June 07, 2021
AlphaGO, Two Triangles, and your Political Intuitions Walk into a Bar with Jordan Ellenberg
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Jordan Ellenberg, best-selling author and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Through his research and his books, which include How Not to be Wrong, and more recently, Shape, Jordan illustrates how abstract mathematical and geometric equations can be brought to life, and indeed used to address some of the major challenges facing the world today. In today's episode, Jordan and Brooke talk about: The different types of ‘games’ or problems that people and society in general face, and why they require different types of solutions. The interplay between human decision-making and AI or algorithmic approaches, and understanding which methods should take precedence in which situations. Gerrymandering, electoral system design and finding better ways to facilitate democracy. Understanding how AI can be an effective safeguard when we humans develop the rules of the game.
45:23
May 31, 2021
Beyond Bias with Olivier Sibony
In this episode of The Decision Lab podcast, Brooke is joined by Olivier Sibony, co-author of Noise, and experienced consultant and researcher focused on how to improve the quality of decision-making. He is currently a professor at HEC Paris, and Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School at Oxford University. This episode explores the three categories of noise, and how they can affect our decision making in ways that can be incredibly difficult to detect. Olivier draws on real-life examples to illustrate this and proposes several strategies to mitigate and avoid noise when making important decisions. Some topics we discuss include: Biases versus noise: how they differ How to conceptualize a judgment and judgment error What the three different categories of noise look like, and how they can skew decision making Why companies that depend on the judgments of many people should conduct a noise audit Decision hygiene and preventative strategies to improve decision making Practical steps that can be integrated into organizations to optimize judgments and reduce noise
48:16
May 25, 2021
Talking through a pandemic: Khan Bouba-Dalambaye
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke sits down with Khan Bouba-Dalambaye, high school guidance counsellor, EDI consultant, and curriculum designer. Through counselling work, Bouba-Dalambaye’s clients have taught him that the pandemic has triggered a wide-spread dip in motivation, communication, and relationship maintenance. During this episode, he offers listeners tips on how to get more in touch with our own feelings and needs, and increase our motivation to meet our goals. His most important takeaway: start small. Some specific topics of this episode include: Intuitive (easy) versus intentional (effortful) communication and how our reliance on the latter impacts our mood The need to interact with others in creative ways How and why we are currently affected by a lack of motivation How communication through technology has played a role Specific coping strategies for the pandemic and WFH life How to “meaningfully engage with” - rather than “kill” - time
37:08
May 17, 2021
The Conversations We're Not Having: Wendy De La Rosa
In this episode of the Decision Lab, Brook speaks with Wendy De La Rosa, co-founder of the Common Cents Lab, and host and creator of the new TED series; Your Money and Your Mind. Wendy was a founding member of Google’s behavioural economics unit, helping over 30 teams to optimize product strategy and design, customer engagement and retention, as well as revenue. In their discussion, Brooke and Wendy discuss the changes in the economy caused by the pandemic, as well as strategies and techniques that business and individuals can use to help improve their financial standing. Some of the topics include: The way we make financial decisions, and why more education is not necessarily the best solution to our financial difficulties. How to ensure your environment is set up for success. Removing the shame surrounding financial failure, and the benefits of having more open conversations about our finances. How employers can help support their teams’ productivity by taking some of the stress out of their financial situations through initiatives like Financial Health Days. The importance of discussing finances in our personal relationships.
36:55
May 10, 2021
From the perfect life we don’t have to the good life we could: Paul Dolan
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. Paul is globally recognised for his work on the measurement of happiness, its causes and consequences, and its implications for public policy. His experience includes working with the British Office for National Statistics and the government's Behavioural Insights Team – also known as the 'nudge' unit. He is the author of two bestselling books, and has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles. In his conversation with Brooke, Paul discusses some of his most influential work on the topic of well-being and public policy. He gives his view on what’s needed to address some of the burning policy issues facing governments all around the world today. Some of the topics discussed include: Measuring well-being through a WELLBY - what it is, and how it can be used to help craft good policy. Why the idea of a universal ‘perfect life’ is a myth, and how we need to find our individual balance of purpose and pleasure, based on our own experiences. The difference between equity and equality. How inequality can be fair in some instances, but too much inequality is unjust, and the need for a general consensus around that point. An appeal for diversity in policymaking - how policy makers are generally from a specific age group or demographic, and why having a broader range of input into policies and decisions could help inspire greater public confidence. The different lenses through which people of different cultures and demographics see the world, and the need to accept and include diverse perspectives. The impossibility of certainty when it comes to policy making, taking the pandemic response as a real-time example. Why we should be wary of individuals who display blind certainty, and fail to accept uncertainty in decision-making.
29:13
May 03, 2021
Creating startups through empathy & behavioural research: Dr. Rachel Carey
Dr Rachel Carey is Chief Scientist at Zinc, a UK-based organisation that runs a venture-builder for mission-driven entrepreneurs, combining the best of creative design, scientific rigour, technological innovation and entrepreneurship. She leads Zinc’s Research & Development team, a growing, interdisciplinary team of applied scientists, committed to building a new approach to science-based innovation. She completed her PhD in psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, which examined the impact of threat-based persuasive communications on driver behavior. She spent several years as a postdoc at University College London, before joining a newly formed behavioural science team at Bupa. Since joining Zinc in 2017, she has helped to shape over 40 new mission-driven start-ups. Through an honorary role at UCL, she continues to be involved in a range of research and teaching - mainly centred around health behaviour change, safe and sustainable transport, and digital health. Dr. Carey has a wealth of knowledge about the differences between behavioral science academia and applied research, and is eager to share her experiences and ideas about how to bridge the two worlds. In today’s episode, she discusses these differences, as well as how behavioral science shows up in the world of entrepreneurship, and the need for certain elements of research culture - including public perception - to evolve. Some specific topics discussed include: The differences of applying and generating behavioral science in the academic versus startup worlds How these two worlds, particularly research and entrepreneurship, are bridged in practice How behavioral science projects and ventures are prioritized The risks of entrepreneurship, and the privilege required to take those risks Current public misconceptions regarding science and research, and how these misconceptions are shaped by a lack of public access and information The changing face of entrepreneurship, and the new potential garnered by including more diversity The trade-off between statistics and anecdotal evidence, and the motivating power of stories
42:10
April 20, 2021
Leading with purpose through moments of crisis: Kimberly Seals Allers
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with award-winning journalist Kimberly Seals Allers. Kimberly was formerly a senior editor at Essence and a writer at Fortune magazine. She now uses her decades of media experience as the founder of the IRTH app, which is specifically designed to help mothers of color rate their doctors for optimal health. She discusses the need for apps like IRTH, and how the tragedies that gave rise to the BLM movement last year impact the communities she serves. This episode is an important reminder of the realities that people of color face in both personal and professional environments. Some of the topics discussed include… The discrepancy of maternal and infant mortality for peoples of color, and the need for apps like IRTH. The struggle that professional people of color have with ‘dual identities’, where they must separate their cultural and professional selves. The trauma experienced by entire communities in response to the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd over the Spring and Summer of 2020. The additional challenges faced by minority innovators, especially when it comes to issues of racism and cyber-security Why society needs to acknowledge that people of color have different experiences in professional and personal environments, and how the ignorance and denial of racism is one of its root causes. The ongoing struggle and the difficult conversations that are needed to start bringing about meaningful change.
35:52
April 12, 2021
That feeling of crisis: Rachel Kiddell-Monroe
In this episode, Brooke speaks with Rachel Kiddell-Monroe - Founder and Executive Director at SeeChange Initiative, and board member at Médecins Sans Frontières. In their discussion, they examine the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities, as well as the lack of empathy exhibited by first world nations towards less developed countries. Rachel raises the question of whether the models and systems on which our societies are built actually serve the interests of all. From our colonial roots to our current education and healthcare systems, this episode examines many factors that shape our view of struggling communities. Some of the items discussed include: The legacy of colonial systems and how they persist all around the world, despite their weaknesses and inability to tackle the big challenges facing us. The need for both individual and community action to bring about real change, and how both relate to each other. When individuals and movements come together, the momentum and desire for change builds, as exhibited by the Black Lives Matter movement over the past year. Why a single visionary leader cannot solve all of our problems. Unless the whole society is ready to change, there will always be the need for such leaders to compromise and not be able to fully achieve the change they want to see. Now that we have been living with COVID for over a year, taking a step back and seeing it as a potential opportunity to drastically change some of the systems that are broken or no longer working. And not letting this opportunity pass us by as this pandemic (hopefully) starts to get under control.
39:39
April 06, 2021
Corporate impact through profitable purpose: Phillip Haid
As humans, we frequently think in absolute terms, which lead us to believe that extreme amounts of corporate profit - allowed in a capitalist economic system - also cause extreme damage. While this notion often holds, there are exceptions and caveats. On today’s episode of The Decision Corner, our host Dr. Brooke Struck sits down with Phillip Haid, CEO and founder of social impact marketing agency Public Inc. At Public Inc., Haid and his colleagues help major corporations make positive global impacts. Nowadays, consumers are more and more interested in buying from socially- and environmentally-conscious companies. In turn, major corporations are gaining intrinsic motivation to make positive impacts, since advertising them attracts consumers. For companies, then, profit and purpose seem to go hand in hand. In this episode, Brooke and his guest discuss: The false notion that profit is inherently evil The structure of a purpose-led economy, rather than a greed-led economy The importance of leadership in social impact Consumer views on social impact and why people care Tailoring company values to match consumer values Working with versus against competitors in the social impact market Conveying social and environmental impacts genuinely back to consumers
40:35
March 29, 2021
Disasters at Work: Daniel Kaniewski
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Daniel Kaniewski, former Deputy Administrator for Resilience at FEMA and currently Managing Director, Public Sector at Marsh McLennan. Daniel has been involved in managing some of the worst disasters in American history, through various roles at the White House, with FEMA, and in the private sector. He draws from his experience to provide us with fascinating insights about government and individual decision-making in times of crisis. Surprisingly, human behavior is one of the more predictable elements of disaster management, so if you’re keen to learn more about how governments handle emergencies and mobilize their citizens to react appropriately, this episode is for you! Some of the things discussed include… The early phases of a disaster or emergency, how a response is mobilized and why salience and intensity play a big role in shaping our reaction. Communicating during an emergency, balancing a need for calm and reassurance while getting people to do what they need to do to stay safe. Practical ways that we as citizens can support emergency response, without getting in the way of the professionals. The ‘ramp-down’ and recovery phases of an emergency, and why they’re as, if not more important, than the initial response. How the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any disaster we’ve faced before, but the lessons we’ve learned will stand to us in the future.
40:45
March 22, 2021
A Brave New World of Work: Troy Campbell
In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Troy Campbell, Chief Scientist at On Your Feet -  an innovative consultancy that offers strategic guidance and behaviorally-informed training to some of the world’s most successful companies. Troy holds a PhD in behavioral science from Duke University and was previously a marketing professor at the University of Oregon. In their discussion, Brooke and Troy discuss how our shift to a mostly virtual work environment has disrupted the world of corporate knowledge acquisition and application. Troy gives an optimistic view of the many opportunities presented by virtual tools, and offers some practical advice to help improve our virtual interactions, as well as a compelling case for greater knowledge sharing within and between organisations. Some of the topics covered include; How remote working has accelerated the ‘flipped classroom model’ - and why knowledge acquisition is no longer confined to the classroom. Ways we can improve our virtual interactions, and optimize the time we do spend face-to-face. Why the shift to virtual delivery has made a lot of things more accessible and affordable for businesses - like cross-functionality and hiring skilled trainers. Inspirational versus educational content - seeing the difference between the two and knowing when they’re needed. Why engaging with outside experts is one of the best things a business can do, and the need for a carefully managed marketplace or ecosystem that businesses can go to for such specialised knowledge.
46:26
March 03, 2021
Run for the Cure: Kelley Keehn
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke is joined by Kelley Keehn, financial literacy advocate and best-selling author. Kelley has written over 10 books on topics related to personal finance, behavioural economics and financial empowerment. In their discussion, Brooke and Kelley explore why the lessons our parents taught us might not be so relevant today, the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial trajectories, and how behavioural insights can be used to help overcome the crippling debt crisis faced by so many Canadians. Some of the topics discussed include; The unpredictability of financial upheaval. The financial wisdom handed down to us by older generations, and why it can’t always be applied in the times we’re living in. Personal debt, and why so many Canadians have a bad relationship with it. Social pressure, keeping up with the Jones’ and wanting what everyone else has. The difficulties people have when discussing their finances, especially when it comes to debt. Can behavioral insights help more debt-stricken Canadians help themselves? Why we need to ‘run for the cure’ and stop tip-toeing around our financial struggles.
25:48
February 26, 2021
How Behavioral Science Can Inform A Post-COVID World: Susan Michie
Since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 has changed virtually everything about our lives, from how we work to how we care for one another, and even how we spend our time and money. Behavioral science is keeping up. In this episode of The Decision Corner, we sit down with British psychologist and behavioral science advisor Susan Michie to tear apart some of the most complex causes and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Michie shows us how increased public engagement in behavioral science and health research can help us imagine a post-COVID world that is more equitable, environmental, and convenient than the one we left behind. Read more about her research, including the development of the behavior change wheel, here. Some topics discussed include: The operation of British scientific advisory group in emergencies (SAGE) The gap between scientific research and public policy—are governments really “following the science?” How a psychological look at problem framing can help change the way we talk about the pandemic Contributors to the pandemic, including weakening global ties and environmental degradation The need for increased public engagement in behavioral science research How behavioral science can inform a better future
46:23
February 20, 2021
Artificial Intelligence for Social Betterment: Bob Suh
From the proliferation of social comparisons to growing political extremism, we have come face to face with the rippling negative effects technology that technology has on our societal fabric. But can we create a future that looks different? One in which technology has our backs, and best interest at heart? On this episode of The Decision Corner, our host Brooke Struck is joined by Bob Suh, founder and CEO of OnCorps. OnCorps is an American company dedicated to elevating workplace performance outcomes through the use of artificial intelligence. By applying predictable algorithms to a variety of decisions and tasks, OnCorps reduces work, errors, and risk within the financial service industry. The organization provides cutting-edge solutions to an array of companies, with advisors from Yale, Harvard, and Oxford. Their innovative algorithms earned them the 2019 NOVA Award by NICSA and the 2019 Fintech Breakthrough Award for best banking infrastructure software. Bob Suh has also written for the Harvard Business Review about how efficient use of AI can lead to better decision making and forecasting. Find his work here. In this episode, Brooke and Bob discuss: The foundational behavioral science that applies to AI How the emotional intelligence of humans can be harnessed to benefit technology How our strong grip on data analytics can influence behavior that is inconsistent with truth and authenticity, as well as a saturation of advertising How we can mitigate some of these problems to use technology for positive choice architecture The monetization of current and future social platforms, and how it is changing The future of social and technological innovation: how technology is moving toward positive social outcomes
39:28
February 12, 2021
How to screw up less when it matters most: Olivier Sibony
In this episode of The Decision Corner podcast, Brooke is lucky to be joined by Olivier Sibony. Olivier is a thoroughly experienced strategic consultant and a learned researcher on applied behavioral science at the most senior level. He has 25 years of experience at McKinsey and Co. that inform his investigation into successful practices and common pitfalls of organizational behaviour. This conversation brings Olivier’s insights to bear on the issue of decision-making in the C-suite. He draws out some essential guidelines, both from anecdotes and focused research, which culminate in applicable strategies to make any group better able to accomplish its goals. Some of the topics we discuss include: How countering individual cognitive biases may be the secret to a successful corporation Implicit guidelines in the social order of any organization Some apparent paradoxes in the patterns of risk aversion and risk-seeking behaviour in the business world Small vs big risks and how to engineer the right risks at the right times The all-consuming morass of corporate culture Searching for a portfolio approach towards risk: getting in front of the situations that dictate organizational success Which decisions are the important ones, and the case for bureaucracy
44:33
January 25, 2021
Trust in a Technological Age: Kevin Werbach
In this episode of The Decision Corner, we are lucky to be joined by Kevin Werbach. Professor Werbach is a renowned expert on emerging technology and its implications in the legal and public policy spheres. He is a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his position at Wharton, Kevin Werbach has been an advisor in the Obama administration and a member of Obama’s transition team. He is also a widely sought after writer and speaker. He has been featured on a diverse range of platforms and his academic work is cited in top publications. In 2018, he wrote The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust, where he explores the nuances and consequences of distributed ledger technologies. Some of the topics we discuss in this podcast include: Blockchain: what it is, where it is going, and how it impacts a wide range of industries and applications What international shipping, contact tracing apps, Facebook, and Uber have in common Kevin’s book and how it dissects the hype from the facts surrounding blockchain technology How blockchain can improve decision-making at a variety of levels Law, regulation, and governance as three key elements of successful blockchain implementation Human nature and how it can never be perfectly eradicated through technology How these technologies are establishing new patterns of faith The essential nature of interdisciplinary work at the frontier of invention
40:32
November 17, 2020
Emerging Data Ecosystems and Modern Banking Tech: Olivier Berthier
This episode of The Decision Corner features Olivier Berthier: data scientist, software designer, and CEO of Moneythor. Moneythor is a digital infrastructure company that specializes in banking solutions that use machine learning, big data analytics, and behavioral science to orient financial systems towards customer-centric ends. Some topics we discuss include: Olivier’s financial software company Moneythor: what it is and what it does The constantly evolving relationship between banks and their customers The impact of digital spaces on financial relationships The transition from a product to customer focus at major banking institutions The potential benefits of the big changes coming to banking through software analysis and behavioral science The unique potential of emerging data ecosystems How to ethically manage customer data How to popularize behavioral science and the tools to implement it digitally
37:18
November 06, 2020
Smart Giving for a Cognitively Saturated World: Nick Fitz and Ari Kagan
In this episode of The Decision Corner, we discuss giving, incentives, and the ethics of behavioral science with Ari Kagan and Nick Fitz, the co-founders and executives at Momentum. Momentum is a charity that ties donations to everyday choices. For example, every time Donald Trump tweets, the app will have you automatically donate 10 cents to civil rights and racial justice groups. Nick and Ari have extensive research experience in behavioral science. They both held senior positions at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University before starting up their donation company. Topics mentioned in this episode include: How to make our daily activities contribute to making the world the kind of place we want it to be The consequences of evolutionary change on our cognitive system, especially with respect to social connection and meaning-making The feeling of power versus the real thing, and what that has to do with choice overload bias Utilitarianism and the role of fairness in donation decision-making Samantha, Baby Jessica, and the problems of personalized donations Stalin’s insight on donation psychology The twin problems of paternalism and finding the right decision-makers
42:14
October 29, 2020
Strategies to Motivate for the Collective Good: Erez Yoeli
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke Struck invites Erez Yoeli to share his insights on how people tick. Dr. Erez Yoeli is a research associate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and co-director of the Applied Cooperation Team (ACT). ACT is a team of researchers that applies insights from the social sciences towards increasing contributions to real-world public goods. Erez designs and tests large-scale interventions to promote altruistic behaviors such as charitable donations, volunteering, resource conservation, and medication adherence. He has worked as a researcher at Harvard University’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and Yale University’s Human Cooperation Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. In this episode, we discuss: What motivates people to do the right thing How group behavior works The difference between reputation and identity High and low tech solutions to problems of collective action The importance of speaking to communities in their own language (sometimes literally) What sets our current pandemic response apart from those of the past The unique power of social norms The meaning of community, and its unique role in mediating motivation
46:54
October 23, 2020
Tradition, Institution, and Change through Behavior Intervention: Peter Brooks
In this episode of The Decision Corner, Brooke sits down with Peter Brooks. Peter is a longtime employee at Barclays, the esteemed British banking organization. He joined over a decade ago, when the bank established the world’s first dedicated Behavioural Finance Team. Currently, he is the Chief Behavioural Scientist at Barclays. Peter asserts that his job is primarily finding true value for customers. He identifies ways to improve customers’ decisions and money habits, while exploring how we can all make changes for the better. The Decision Lab was interested in getting a little bit of his time to hear about how that mission is going. Some topics we discuss in this conversation include: How banking adopted the central premises of behavioral science Why it didn’t happen sooner How humility and ignorance can be markers of authentic experience The power of tradition in large organizations The competing priorities of customer satisfaction, core values, and the company’s bottom line How to stay linked in to a rapidly evolving field Tips for up and coming behavioral scientists, and others who are just starting to explore the discipline
36:40
October 20, 2020
Human-Centered Design And Behavioral Science: Chris Larkin
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Chris Larkin, the senior director of impact at IDEO.org. At IDEO, Chris works with design teams to integrate systems thinking, social and behavior change frameworks, and measurement in the creative design process. She has a long track record of impact in social and international development. She has worked at companies such as Girl Effect and BBC Media Action to pursue creative and effective strategies to engineer behavioral change. Chris holds an MSc in Occupational and Organisational Psychology and a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology. She has worked extensively in East Africa and has lived in Dublin, London, Yangon, and New York. In this episode, we discuss: Human-centered design: what it is, where it is applied, and who benefits from its implementation Mental strategies for organizational behavior The surprising ways that design experience manifests itself in a team context The factors holding people back from achieving goals like financial stability Process vs product IDEO’s successful work in reproductive health
34:46
October 15, 2020
Habits, Happiness, and Personality Types: Gretchen Rubin
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Gretchen Rubin, a writer, speaker, and influencer on the subjects of happiness, habits, and human nature. Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the number one New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project. Her books have sold over 3.5 million copies and been published in more than thirty languages globally. Gretchen has spoken at places such as GE, Google, LinkedIn, Accenture, Facebook, Procter & Gamble, Yale Law School, Harvard Business School, and Wharton as well as at conferences such as SXSW, World Domination Summit, the Atlantic, Alt Design, and Behance’s 99u. Gretchen graduated from Yale University with a BA in English in 1989 and a J.D in 1994, where she served as the Editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. Some of her specialties include habits, happiness, positive psychology, writing, memoirs, blogging, social media, self-improvement, self-help, non-fiction, and podcasts. Her "Four Tendencies" personality framework divides people into Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels, which will both be routinely mentioned throughout this episode. You can take the quick, free quiz here. In this episode, we discuss: The four tendencies and their respective idiosyncrasies The validity of psychological frameworks and when they can be useful How to communicate with people more effectively so that they follow through with important behaviors What kinds of problems are best suited for the four tendency taxonomy Individual versus gender-based differences in behavior Public service messages that work for all four tendencies The brilliance of the Don’t mess with Texas campaign Leveraging big data to test messaging with different tendencies
45:51
September 30, 2020
The Tools Of The Behavioral Science Trade: Matt Wallaert
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Matt Wallaert, a pioneer in applied behavioral science and a serial entrepreneur. Matt has over a decade of experience applying behavioral science to practical problems, ranging from startups to Fortune 500s to an array of prosocial side projects. He has given hundreds of talks on the science of behavior change, including appearances at the United Nations and South by SouthWest. Recently, he brought behavioral science into healthcare management as Clover Health’s Chief Behavioral Officer. There, he directs one of the world’s largest behavioral science teams, combining qualitative researchers, quantitative researchers, and project managers. His book, Start at the End: How to Build Products that Create Change, proposes a science-based process to create behavior change that can be implemented in organizations of any size and industry. In this episode, we discuss: His experience bridging the divide between multiple spheres where behavioral science has begun to take root Several metaphors for the process of democratizing behavioral science Figuring out whether a company needs a consultant, an agency, or if behavioral science should be used internally. How to discern talent among newcomers to behavioral science Equalizing opportunities in a still developing field Helping people find unique and meaningful career paths
36:10
September 14, 2020
How Fun Might Move the World: Cass Sunstein
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Cass Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University. Professor Sunstein is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School. He is a prolific writer, who has written over 40 books, and hundreds of articles, including the international bestseller and essential introduction to behavioral science, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler, 2008). He is a recipient of the Holberg Prize, which is bestowed by the Government of Norway. The Holberg Prize is recognized as a counterpart to the Nobel Prize for unparalleled contributions to scholarship in the humanities or the law. Sunstein is currently the Chair of the WHO technical advisory group on Behavioural Insights and Sciences for Health, and he advises the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Bank, and countries around the world on issues of law and public policy. He was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012; subsequently, he served on the President’s Review Board on Intelligence and Communications Technologies and the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board. He is now working on a variety of projects involving the regulatory state, “sludge,” fake news, and freedom of speech. In the episode, we discuss: What is fun? What kind of people have the most fun, and whether that is something worth pursuing as a society. The effectiveness of fun in marketing, such as Amazon’s frustration-free packaging project. The role of fun in policy-making: determination and playfulness in Taiwan, how jokes can lead to optimism and hope, New Zealand’s Prime Minister’s attempts at making peoples’ days better. Political leadership and vulnerability. Making mandated behavior change a more tolerable and shared enterprise. Fear appeals: the benefits of enhancing high stakes situations to prevent harm. Populism and the need for personal connections with our political leaders. Cass’s nuanced distinction between the first and second waves of behavioral science. FEAST (Fun, Easy, Attractive, Social, and Timely): Cass’s guidelines for engaging affective responses when developing policy. Why every revolution must tolerate dancing. What Cass Sunstein asked a world-class athlete about having fun under pressure.
36:12
September 02, 2020
Developing The Global Economy With Behavioral Science: Zeina Afif
Zeina Afif is a Senior Social Scientist with the World Bank’s Mind, Behavior & Development Unit (eMBeD), within the Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank. Zeina is currently working on applying behavioral insights to improve women’s access to finance and jobs, reduce youth unemployment, reduce gender-based violence, promote social cohesion, and improve access to public services and programs in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Latin America & Caribbean region. Prior to joining the team, Zeina provided operational communication and behavioral insights support to World Bank projects and has worked in countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and Yemen in the areas of taxes, social protection, social accountability, and citizen engagement. Zeina holds a MBA from George Washington University, and a M.Sc. in Behavioral Science from London School of Economics. In this episode, we discuss: Zeina’s work at the eMBeD unit at the Bank. How the behavioral science approach of eMBed changed the way the Bank approaches problems Challenges of differentiating the value of behavioral science compared to other social sciences Evolution of behavioral science at The Bank Why an RCT is not always the most appropriate approach in a development project Why empathy is a key skill in working in applied behavioral science Zeina’s take on the private sector applying behavioral science
45:58
August 28, 2020
Analyzing policy and social behavior during a crisis: Faisal Naru
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Faisal Naru, the head of strategic management and coordination in the executive director’s office at the OECD. Faisal has extensive experience in political strategy, public policy, behavioral insights, institutional reform, and global development. For reference, the views and opinions expressed in this podcast are Faisal’s own and do not represent the views of the OECD or any of its members. Faisal is a co-founder of the European Nudge Network, Board of Trustees of Nudge Lebanon and he serves on a number of international committees including the Green Growth Knowledge Platform’s Behavioural Insights Research Committee & the United Nations Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) of the 10 YFP Sustainable Lifestyle and Education Programme. Faisal is a former member of the UK Cabinet Office, Chief Adviser to the government of Viet Nam and he belongs to the leadership team of a global development consultancy. He advises a number of government leaders on reform and improvements. He began his career heading up a charity tackling social mobility, and he graduated from the University of Oxford. In this episode we discuss: How the COVID-19 crisis has altered behavior and policy at a variety of scales and contexts The role of trust in institutional effectiveness, and the relationship between expertise and effectiveness in policy Confirmation bias, political participation and overcoming preconceptions of how the world works Motivating people to adhere to policy beyond simple command and control mechanisms Empathy and pro-social behavior as a foundation for ethical decision-making
32:07
August 11, 2020
Improving trust to create better health outcomes: Sandi McCoy and Aarthi Rao
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Sandi McCoy, associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and Aarthi Rao, director of the design and innovation lab at CVS Health. For reference, this episode was taped prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and accordingly reflects the understanding of the situation at the time. Sandi studies how social, economic, and cultural forces influence disease transmission and health outcomes. During the past several years, she’s explored these relationships through the lens of HIV infection and reproductive health. Using a diverse array of approaches, her goal is to identify innovative, cost-effective, and scalable interventions to overcome global health challenges. Aarthi leads an innovation team to apply tools such as design thinking and behavioral science to unlock new cross-functional innovation roadmaps and directly incubate new high-value business concepts to various stages of prototyping, piloting, and product development. Ms. Rao is passionate about applying interdisciplinary approaches to create, test, and scale innovative programs and services to improve lives, particularly for programs supporting hard to reach or vulnerable populations across the world. She’s an experienced innovation advisor and problem solver, who’s lived and worked abroad, to partner with mission-driven companies, non-profits, researchers, and social enterprises who may want to try applying design thinking in combination with behavioral science and experiments to improve outcomes. In this episode, we discuss: Sandi and Aarthi’s work in bringing tools like design thinking, behavioral science, and traditional product management frameworks into global health. The use of behavioral science and design thinking in the life cycle of a public health project. Sandi & Aarthi’s Tanzanian-based project that aims to determine the best way to help girls get access to contraception and HIV self-tests. How behavioral science and the field of public health can draw parallels from Netflix disrupting Blockbuster. How to form effective interdisciplinary teams when there is heterogeneity in the backgrounds and experiences of members. The lack of durability of certain nudges and how people can become desensitized to them. The best-case scenario for the future of combining design thinking with behavioral science.
01:00:14
July 30, 2020
Building better governments with behavioral science: Margarita Gómez
In today’s episode of The Decision Corner, we are joined by Margarita Gomez, the inaugural executive director of the People in Government Lab, located in the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. The People Lab is the School’s innovation-in-government project aiming to improve the motivation, responsiveness, and effectiveness of people working in government. For reference, this episode was taped prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and accordingly reflects the understanding of the situation at the time. Margarita has more than 12 years of experience working to build better governments and to design more effective public policies. Throughout her career, she has blended practice and theory, in both academia and the public sector. Previous to her current appointment, Margarita founded and led the first Behavioural Unit in Mexico and served as principal advisor to the Minister of Public Safety and Ministry of Defence in Mexico. In this episode, we discuss: The motives and aspirations of Oxford University’s People in Government Lab, which Margarita currently leads. Margarita’s attempts to increase honesty and motivation among Mexican and Brazilian public servants. Risk aversion in policy development and public sector consulting. Strategies for enhancing the internal capacity for behavioral science in governmental institutions. The role of “champions”, aka powerful decision-makers who are sympathetic to, and knowledgeable about, the influence of behavioral science on their area of expertise, in implementing desired interventions. Arbitrating differences between academic and government metrics for a project’s success. Discussing the challenges of autonomy and expertise for policymaking in developing countries.
53:01
July 30, 2020
The impact of technology on our choice environment: Gianluca Sgueo
In today’s episode, Brooke Struck, the research director at The Decision Lab, is joined by Gianluca Sgueo, associate researcher at the Center for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra (Portugal), and a New York University Global Professor (Florence). He holds administrative positions at the Sole24Ore Business School (Italy). In the governmental sphere, Professor Sgueo is a policy analyst in the European Parliamentary Research Service. He previously held high-level positions in the Italian government, including Head of Communications and Citizens’ Dialogue. His work examines the effects on democracy of topics such as gamification, civil society groups, and lobbying. Specifically, we discuss: The relationship between technology and democracy Is there a trade-off between privacy and efficiency in governance? Estonia’s surprisingly progressive digital governance system Is technology in government inversely correlated with privacy and security? How technology influences our choice environments and our social interactions within them The shift from the information age to the reputation age—if we trust the source, we share Intelligent government design: How do we design governments to tackle the most pressing societal issues, efficiently and effectively? Using behavioral science principles to make the participatory channels of our democracy more engaging and attractive to users.
01:03:35
July 27, 2020
The psychological cost of nudging: Julian Jamison
In today’s episode, we are joined by Julian Jamison, a professor of Economics at the University of Exeter and an affiliate at the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Jameel Abdul Latif Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Prior to this, Julian spent 9 years in the public sector working for the United States government as Section Chief of the Decision-making and Behavioral Studies group and as a Behavioral Economist for the Global INsights Initiative at the World Bank (now known as the Mind, Behavior and Development Unit, or eMBeD). Julian holds a B.S and M.S in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Game Theory from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His academic work focuses on the interaction between individual preferences, decisions, and well-being, and on institutional policies, including explicit welfare tradeoffs. He uses a wide range of methodological approaches, including mathematical theory, lab and field experiments, formal rhetoric, surveys, and large administrative data analytics. Julian’s work has been featured by The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Forbes, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and The Economist. In this episode, we discuss: Julian’s experience working as a behavioral scientist at the World Bank eMBeD unit. Working in academia and working in industry: pros, cons and lessons. The need to distinguish between behavioral obstacles and behaviorally-informed interventions How the fear of ambiguity makes behavioral science more challenging to adopt within organizations. Why measurement tools are critical in any study. Why the behavioral science we of our decade is different from what has been studied before Julian’s hope for the future of behavioral science: Integrated into our approaches in a way that is complementary rather than a separate field The need for specialization in behavioral science
28:49
August 06, 2019
Nudging against polarization: Jesse Itzkowitz
In today’s episode, we are joined by Jesse Itzkowitz, Senior Vice President and Behavioral Scientist at Ipsos Behavioral Science Center, a leading global market research and consulting firm. Prior to joining IPSOS, Jesse held an extremely successful academic career as a Professor from Yeshiva University, where he was twice awarded Professor of the year. Holding a dual PhD degree in marketing and cognitive psychology from the University of Florida has equipped him with a valuable (and extremely unique) skillset that enables him to be both scientifically rigorous and responsive to the needs of the industry. His research has received extensive press coverage from the Wall Street Journal, Time, Bloomberg Businessweek, and CNN. Last winter he gave an informal synopsis of his interests and body of work in a TEDx talk. In this episode, we discuss: Moving from a career in academia into applied behavioral science Navigating the new consumer world: Brand advocacy in the political sphere Using behavioral science to personalize, predict and direct brand strategy Nudges versus sludges: Guiding principles for behavioral scientists and why we need to keep the consumer’s best interest in mind Reconciling academic rigor with behavioral science applications in the real world: Challenges and solutions Why companies are reluctant to apply behavioral science: Is it the fear that our experiments might just prove us wrong? Behavioral Science at IPSOS How to distinguish good research versus bad research: Why the “So what?” question is the key to impacting meaningful change. How to frame our thinking around the ethics of nudging The value of having a PhD when working in applied behavioral science How we can apply behavioural science to improve sustainability, improve trust among consumers and understand the role that emotions play in decision making.
35:18
August 05, 2019
The attention economy: Evelyn Gosnell
In today’s episode, we are joined by Evelyn Gosnell, Managing Director at Irrational Labs and frequent speaker in behavioral economics and consumer psychology. She is an expert in helping companies use the science of decision-making to better understand how real people think and behave, thereby creating better products and services for them. Evelyn is also the Head of Product Development and Behavioral Science at Shapa, a health startup founded by behavioral scientist Dan Ariely. Evelyn’s work spans across a broad array of industries. She has launched major health initiatives with companies such as Aetna, developing and implementing behavioral training programs to be used at scale.  She has worked with Google, Procter & Gamble, The World Bank, Maritz, AARP, CUNA Mutual, among others. Evelyn also teaches a course on behavioral economics through UCSD Extension and is a frequent guest lecturer at the Rady School of Business at UCSD. In this episode, we discuss: How Evelyn’s product background helped her in her current role at Irrational Labs. Shapa’s approach to the “overweight” problem: nudging with a numberless scale. Is Nudging overused? And, why transparency is critical to creating an ethical code of conduct around behavioral science. Empiricism versus efficiency and creating a culture of rapid testing and experimentation. Using behavioral science to personalize, predict and direct brand strategy. Health, wealth and happiness: Irrational Lab’s guiding principles for selecting projects. Why experience is everything if you want to work in applied behavioral science. The projects that Evelyn is excited about in the near and long-term future.
40:51
August 04, 2019
Hacking health and savings: Ting Jiang
In today’s episode, we are joined by Ting Jiang, Principal at Center for Advanced Insight, a behavioral science lab at Duke University, researching and designing interventions and products for behavioral change. Ting is an experimental economist by training, a philosopher at heart and a psychologist in action. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, conducting research on diagnostic tools for social norms and interventions for norm change. For the past two years, a substantial portion of her time has been dedicated to conducting field studies and designing product solutions to help low-income Kenyans improve their financial and health decisions. In this episode, we discuss: How a dice game that Ting designed on cheating got her into behavioral science* The calendar that was redesigned to promote financial health More healthy living projects: The Hidden Gym project and Nappiness Evidence versus intuition in designing interventions: Why the biggest challenge is trusting the evidence, rather than our own intuitions How to foster a culture that embraces risk-taking and experimentation Understanding the mechanisms that drive effects is the key to “good” research Why businesses must start prioritizing consumer well-being From fin-tech to behavioral tech: optimizing automation and engagement for products/services How to become an applied behavioral scientist
43:35
August 03, 2019
Machine learning and personalized interventions: David Halpern
In today’s episode, we are joined by Chief Executive of the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT), David Halpern. He has led the team since its inception in 2010 and was the founding director of the Institute for Government. Between 2001 and 2007, David held tenure at Cambridge and held posts at Oxford and Harvard. He has written several books and papers on areas relating to behavioral insights and wellbeing, including Social Capital (2005), the Hidden Wealth of Nations (2010), Inside the Nudge Unit (2015). David is also co-author of the MINDSPACE report. In this episode, we discuss the current state of the behavioral science industry and its role within the public and private sectors, as well as predictions for how it will evolve. Specifically, we discuss: Nudging against violence (domestic violence, classroom violence and civil violence) What nudging means in 2019 and how it will evolve in the next 10 years Behavioral science and machine learning: the implications of personalized interventions Nudging the nudgers: making nudging more ethical through enhanced democratic deliberation Interfacing public- and private-sector nudging for maximum impact The skills and experience you need to work in applied behavioral science How nudging should be regulated and who should decide the ethical boundaries of nudging The future of the BIT: exciting projects and challenges
52:07
August 02, 2019
The science of healthcare engagement: Sarah O’Farrell
Sarah has almost 10 years of experience developing chain strategies and digital patient engagement and adherence, lifestyle change, global and public health, and positive organizational psychology. She has worked and partnered with clients and organizations such as Ogilvy, Bupa, Oxitec, GlaxoSmithKline, the Bartlett School of Architecture, and the UK Department for International Development. In her areas of subject matter expertise are behavioral economics and cognitive and affective science. Sarah is especially interested in how our effective experiences, for example, moods, emotions, feelings of empowerment influence cognitive processes, biases, and behaviors. Sarah holds a Master of Science Degree in Marketing from University College Dublin and a Master of Science and Social Cognition from UCL. She currently works as the Lead Inventor for ?WhatIf! Innovation. For reference, this episode was recorded last year before Sarah began working at ?WhatIf! Innovation. In this episode, we discuss: Fundamental needs that drive everyday behaviors Sarah’s work on healthcare engagement and health behavior change Creating mental health products that promote resilience against mental health challenges and facilitate patient engagement and adherence. Turning challenges of applying behavioral science into opportunities. What does nudging mean in 2019? Where academic versus leaner approaches are necessary P values, effect sizes and sample sizes How we can ensure that we are delivering the greatest good to the greatest number Regulation and legislation in behavioral science Moving from isolation to integration: the evolution of behavioral science units
38:24
August 01, 2019