Nick Goodwin

Nick Goodwin is the Director of International Programs for BIT Asia Pacific. He specialises in management, behavior change and social impact and has managed and advised in programs focused on health, education, sanitation, livelihoods, child development, governance, agriculture and environment issues.

What motivated you to work on Behavioural Science?
I started my professional life working in public sector organisations which struggled to understand why services and programs worked or failed. I unexpectedly found a job working for Levi’s and was introduced to a marketing world obsessed with how people lived, made choices and why. I realised that was missing from many public service organisations. So began my journey into understanding human behaviour.

What do you think is the future of Behavioural Science in the next five, and ten years? What major challenges do you foresee?
Context. Don’t be fooled by bright and shiny gadgets and widgets, the future will be in context appropriate mixed method approaches. The challenge is to strive for deeper, richer and creative understanding and application. We will also see the Asia Pacific region (re)assume leadership, challenging assumptions based on WEIRD science and domination of resources.

Which behavioural scientist(s) do you admire the most and why?
Mr. K. T. Chandy, Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. In 1965, Mr Chandy marshalled private sector marketing resources to improve family planning services. A pioneer in human behaviour.

Daniel Kahneman for publishing testing and tracking of human behaviour, and for organising much of the most useful work into one book.

Anyone who makes their work freely available in multiple languages, who supports people who make mistakes and knows there is no smartest person in the room

What advice would you give to a beginner in Behavioural Science? What are some of the crucial skills one has to develop to succeed in this field?
Develop multiple skills and experiences to inform understanding of context. Try a range of things in the real world(s) – different organisations, cultures, countries, sectors, professions and relationships. In between, take time to read and write widely.

If you were starting your career again today, what would you do differently?
Assume I know nothing, help people more and appreciate opportunities.

What books/publications would you like to recommend to our readers? (around 3)
For inspiring theory: David McMillan and David Chavis on sense of community
For practical application: Robert Aunger, Sian White, Katie Greenland and Val Curtis on behaviour centred design
For evidence and ideas: Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow
For experience and imagination: Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things

What is your favourite quote in Behavioural Science?
“Why can’t you sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you can sell soap?”
G.D. Wiebe (1951)

How do you apply the notions of Behavioural Science in your personal life?
I do 20% of things fast and 80% slow.

If you could interview any one fictional or historical figure, who would you choose and
why? (optional)

Indonesia’s Pramoedya Ananta Toer to talk about self awareness.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on. (optional)
Santa Claus is real.

Tell us something interesting about yourself most people don’t know. (optional)
I used to work as a milkman and loved it.

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