Apr 28 • 1HR 0M

Dilip Soman & Nina Mažar on BS in the wild

Translating experiments from the lab into the real world

Daniel Ross
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Interviews with the experts, entertainers and academics in the weird, wonderful and creative world of behavioural science.
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Introducing Dilip and Nina

I'm excited to welcome Dilip Soman and Nina Mažar to the podcast to talk about their new book 'Behavioural Science in the Wild' which is hitting the virtual and physical shelves on May 15th.

Dilip is a Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics, and serves as a Director of the Behavioural Economics in Action Research Centre at Rotman [BEAR]. As well as his imminent release, he is also the author of 'The Last Mile' and 'The Behaviourally Informed Organisation'. He teaches the MOOC (massive open online course) Behavioural Economics in Action and, as I was delighted to learn, Dilip is a big cricket nut.

Nina is a behaviorial scientist focusing on topics ranging from ethics to social & environmental impact with multiple strings to her bow. She sits on the board of Irrational Labs, which is dedicated to designing products that make people happier, healthier and wealthier. She's also part of a team of scientists of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at Wharton.  

She helped establish the World Bank’s Behavioral Insights Initiative (eMBeD) to use behaviorial science to make development interventions more effective and, with Dilip, co-directed BEAR at Rotman.

She also co-founded BEworks, one of the first commercial consulting companies dedicated to the application of Behaviorial Economics to real-world challenges. There she remains Chief Scientific Advisor.

In my conversation with the pair

We talk about BS in the wild - translating behavioural science from the academic laboratory to messy, real world environments; and all the challenges and benefits that this work brings.

Show notes

  • Making science more applicable to real life, helping people make better choices

  • How Dilip’s book ‘Behaviourally Informed Organisations’ influence the new one?

  • A more collaborative style of writing

  • How should corporate practitioners use the book?

  • A case for organisations to ignore the academic literature to avoid anchoring bias and pursue their own assumptions and tests?

  • Sludge in the system and problems with the popular literature

  • Balancing single vs. multiple interventions in corporate experiements

  • Replication crisis for studies demonstrating an isolated cognitive theory vs. scaled corporate application

  • Publishing sexy stories & incentives for writing papers

  • Nina’s insights from co-founding the World Bank’s BS unit

  • How do we motivate organisations to carry out & scale experiments in the wild?

  • Accurate knowledge transfer from the lab into the wild

  • Examples of interventions in education

  • Remote vs. physical learning and working pros and cons

  • 1 shot vs. multi shot BS interventions; what happens to BS effects over time?

  • Fear vs. social norms in encouraging Covid compliant behaviours

  • What drives the research: real world problems or lab theories?

Next time with Dave Trott

If you enjoyed listening to John Cleese and Rory Sutherland talking on creativity, well Dave Trott knows a thing or two having founded FIVE advertising agencies including Gold Greenlees Trott, Bainsfair Sharkey Trott and Chick Smith Trott.

In pleasing symmetry, he’s also written FIVE books on creativity. I love Creative Blindness; the book that is.

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Be well and till next time,

Daniel