Behavioural Science is a rapidly expanding field and everyday new research is being developed in academia, tested and implemented by practitioners in financial organisation, development agencies, government ‘nudge’ units and more. This interview is part of a series interviewing prominent people in the field. And in today's interview the answers are provided by Biju Dominic! Biju is the CEO and co-founder of FinalMile Consulting. In his career before FinalMile, managing some of the biggest brands & projects, Biju ealized the need to fundamentally re-look at the theory & practice of Behavior Change. This realisation lead him to pioneer the practice of Behavior Architecture: combining learning from new sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience & Behavioral Economics. This also lead to founding FinalMile in 2008. The Behavior Architecture employed there is Country, Category and Culture neutral and is spread predominantly across India, Africa, U.K & USA. Let's hear Biju's perpsective on behavioural science:
Who are what got you into behavioural science? I got into Behavioral Science due to my frustration with the traditional approaches to human behavior. I was working with various leading advertising agencies in the first 18 years of my career. In the advertising world we used learning from various branches of Psychology like Behaviorism, Cognitive Science to understand and influence human behavior. But the humongous failure rate of the marketing campaigns convinced me that the traditional approaches are not working. And one needs to look at newer ways of looking at human behaviour.
FinalMile Consulting started in 2007 is one of the first firms to use learning from Cognitive Neuroscince, Behavioural Economics and combine it with the world of Design.
What is the accomplishment you are proudest of as a Behavioural scientist? As a Behaviour scientist at FinalMile, we have managed to find solutions to some of the most significant human behaviour problems in society and business. These were problems were traditional approaches had failed. Some of the problems we have found new solutions are Reducing road accidents( upto 64%), Reducing accidents due to trespassing of railway tracks(unto 81%), Increasing the number of voluntary male medical circumcision to prevent spread of HIV(Impacting over 20 million people) Mitigating girl trafficking, Improving sanitation, Reducing integrity related cases in organizations, Improving Financial Inclusion ( project involving 220 million people) etc.
If you weren’t a behavioural scientist, what would you be doing? I cannot think of a profession other than that which deals with human behaviour.
How do you apply behavioural economics/science in your personal life? I use it to explain the rationale behind my religious practices ( I am a Catholic). I use the principles to become a better father and a husband.
With all your experience, what skills would you say are needed to be a behavioural scientist? Are there any recommendations you would make? Behaviour science is a field that is just emerging. So you need to be a willing learner of the constant, new information that is emerging out of this field. To absorb this new knowledge, one should be willing to burn the past knowledge that is not standing test of new knowledge.
How do you think behavioural science will develop (in the next 10 years)? The failure rate with any field that is using traditional knowledge of human behavior is very large ( Marketing failure rate 90%. Failure of change management programs 90%, failure of M&As 90%). But Behaviour Science is able to drastically reduce these failure rates. So Behavioral Science has very bright future in the next 10 years
Which other behavioural scientists would you love to read an interview by? Daniel Kahneman.
Thank you so much for these amazing answers Biju! I'm trying my very best to reach out to Daniel, but let's be too optimistic here.
As I said before, this interview is part of a larger series which can also be found here on the blog. Make sure you don't miss any of those, nor any of the upcoming interviews! Keep your eye on Money on the Mind!