13 episodes

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.

The Decision Corner The Decision Lab

    • Social Sciences

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.

    The Tools Of The Behavioral Science Trade: Matt Wallaert

    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 min
    How Fun Might Move the World: Cass Sunstein

    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 min
    Developing The Global Economy With Behavioral Science: Zeina Afif

    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 min
    Analyzing policy and social behavior during a crisis: Faisal Naru

    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 min
    Improving trust to create better health outcomes: Sandi McCoy and Aarthi Rao

    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.

    • 1 hr
    Building better governments with behavioral science: Margarita Gómez

    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 min

Top Podcasts In Social Sciences