Spotlight on Eoin Campbell, Experimental Designer
What got you into BeSci originally ?
Behavioural Science came into sharp focus for me during my undergraduate degree in Economics at Trinity College Dublin. The pin really dropped when I was researching what to write for the Student Economic Review, the university published journal. I wanted to write about why house prices in Miami weren’t falling rapidly due to impending climate chaos and quickly realised it wasn’t possible unless viewed through a behavioural lens. It was suddenly clear that the discipline of economics needed a lot of help from psychology to answer the world’s most pressing questions. I was spurred on to do an M.A in Behavioural Science at the University of Stirling, which culminated in a thesis on the role of empathy in altruistic decision making.
How did you get your first job in BeSci ?
I was offered my first job in BeSci after attending the 2019 Cowry Summer School and jumped at the opportunity. Prior to this, I had been working as a Smarter Workplaces Analyst for the Scottish Government. During the Summer School itself our team was given a real challenge with a real client - tasked with increasing volunteering rates for the Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance. I’ll never forget how fortunate I was to take part in the immersive experience and see behind the curtain of a BeSci consultancy.
Near the time, I remember listening to a podcast with Daniel Kahneman where he articulated the point that CVs and interviews are a terrible way to hire – essentially because we’re too quick to act on potentially irrelevant information. What struck me about the Summer School was that Cowry seemed to be thinking about what really makes a good applicant and putting in the effort to make the hiring process less irrational
What does your role in BeSci involve?
I’m an Experimental Designer at Cowry. I run experiments across a variety of sectors including financial services, retail and energy. My role is to bridge the gap between our new behavioural insights and testing methodology. A key part of this role is taking complex concepts in statistics and data science and making them accessible and usable from a business perspective
What are the most important lessons you've learnt in your BeSci career so far?
At the end of the day, a nudge is only as strong as the testing methodology behind it! In the years to come, it won’t be enough to merely offer behavioural change frameworks or insights. Discerning executives will demand definitive answers on what does and doesn’t work. This means we need our insights to be grounded in evidence, tailored to the context, executed to precision and tested empirically. A high bar to meet perhaps, but the other option is complacency or ‘behavioural science’ without the ‘science’.
How will your BeSci career grow in the future?
I’m a big believer in the 80,000 hours mindset, that you have this set number of hours in your career and you should use them wisely - not merely to help yourself but to help as many others as possible. Traditionally we think the responsibility falls to the public sector or third sector, with the private sector often overlooked as a means to achieve this end. We tend to forget that large financial organisations and service providers have a direct line of communication with their customer and therefore can best placed to help them using a timely nudge. I see a job in BeSci as a high impact job. I’m currently using BeSci to have a direct impact on people’s lives whether that’s providing support to vulnerable customers or helping them make savvier financial decisions. In the future, I’m aiming to discover just where the highest impact areas may lie.