YouTuber (Pete Judo) and Consulting Analyst at Ogilvy’s Behavioural Science
What motivated you to work in Behavioural Sciences?
It’s just cool. I think behaviour change feels like a superpower, a superpower that you can learn, and use to help people.
What do you think is the future of Behavioural Science in the next five, and ten years? What major challenges do you foresee?
I think Behavioral Science will be increasingly integrated into the C-Suite of major organisations. I wouldn’t be surprised if more organisations end up having a Chief Behavioral Officer or “CBO” alongside the CEO, CFO and CMO. I also am a strong believer in the power of Virtual Reality Technology. I think Behavioral Science interventions will increasingly have to live in this space as VR and AR become part of our everyday lives. Right now, much of my work looks at websites and smartphones, because that’s where we spend most of our time and money. In the future, these will be replaced at least
partially by AR and VR, so behavioral science will have to learn to thrive in that new environment.
Which behavioural scientist(s) do you admire the most and why?
There are many. If I had to pick two they would be Professor Wendy Wood and Rory Sutherland. Professor Wood is the provost professor of Habit Science at USC, and I’m lucky enough to call her a friend. She has guided me with great patience and grace through the field of habit science and I owe so much of what I know today to her wealth of knowledge and experience. I admire her complete and confident understanding of her subject field, and the way she can quote the dozens of studies she or her colleagues have done to back up all of her points. I try to emulate that in my own life.
Rory Sutherland is not strictly a behavioral scientist, but instead a marketing powerhouse that has championed behavioral science strongly and of course is the founder of my team. I admire Rory for his ability to see beyond academia and into the practical and creative applications of the science. He is a pioneer in this space, in seeing how behavioral science can benefit businesses and organisations of all shapes and varieties, through the problem solving capabilities of behavioral science. In his words, behavioral science is not good because it is necessarily better than traditional problem solving methods. But instead it is valuable because it expands the solution space to businesses, so they can see beyond the levers of just changing prices or increasing incentives.
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?
My top advice is to read lots, and try spot behavioral science in the wild. This is the skill that takes the longest to develop, but is so important for improving your creativity and efficiency on the job. I find having some kind of blog helps you do this, as it forces you to write about behavioral science, which inherently improves your understanding of it. If you’re serious about wanting a job in this field, start a blog.
If you were starting your career again today, what would you do differently?
Not much. I think I took a very sensible path in hindsight. I think the only thing I wish I was better at is coding. I can do basic data processing in R and excel, but nothing advanced. Being good at coding makes you a more versatile hire, which I think is a good move for anyone wanting to differentiate themselves in this very competitive field.
What books/publications would you like to recommend to our readers?
Good Habits Bad Habits by Wendy Wood. The absolute best book for understanding habit science.
Evolutionary Ideas by Sam Tatam. One of the best books for seeing how behavioral science can improve your creative problem solving. Also, just a very well written book.
How do you apply the notions of Behavioural Science in your personal life?
I think behavioral science can become almost a lifestyle once you understand it fully. The main thing I do is try not to beat myself up for anything.
Self-compassion has remarkable positive effects on productivity and mental health. But more than that, it’s logical. What behavioral science shows us, is that our decisions are often not influenced by us, but instead shaped primarily by our environment. So, if I can’t get myself to be productive, or exercise etc. I look to try change my environment, rather than beat myself up for being lazy. This is a great mindset to have in general.
If you could interview anyone, a fictional or historical figure, who would you choose and why?
I would love to interview BF Skinner. He was a legendary psychologist and arguably the father of behaviorism. I would love to talk to him to figure out how his mind works.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Thinking Fast and Slow is an outdated book with many assertions that have since been demonstrably disproven. I don’t recommend people read it to learn about behavioral science. I also think it’s incredibly dry and boring. Though many people agree with me on that point.
Tell us something interesting about yourself most people don’t know.
I’m a keen cook in my free time. I love to learn different culinary techniques and make food that people love to eat. Food is my love language.