76. Michael Hallsworth & Elspeth Kirkman with Sally James: Behavioral Insights

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In this week’s episode, Correspondent Sally James talks with Behavioral Insights Team members Michael Hallsworth and Elspeth Kirkman, who present a definitive introduction to the behavioral insights approach, which applies evidence about human behavior to practical problems.

With support from their book, Behavioral Insights, Hallsworth and Kirkman describe core features, origins, and practical examples of this particular approach to problem solving. They examine how the approach is grounded in the use of evidence about human behavior to address problems, and experimentation to evaluate the impact of the solutions. They also take a look at the limitations and ethical implications of the approach, and consider what the future holds for this fast-moving area. Don’t miss this fascinating conversation—and stay in the know about what’s going on in this moment at Town Hall Seattle.

Michael Hallsworth is Managing Director, North America at the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) and an Assistant Professor (Adjunct) at Columbia University. He has been a leading figure in developing the field of applying behavioral science to government, having authored several influential frameworks such as the MINDSPACE report. His work has been published in the Journal of Public Economics, The Lancet, The Oxford Review of Economic Policy, and others.

Elspeth Kirkman is a long-standing member of the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT). In her most recent role, Elspeth led BIT’s work on health, education, and local government. Before that she led the North American office between 2015 and 2018. She is currently on a secondment to the innovation charity, Nesta. She has published in academic journals and taught at a variety of institutions, most notably Harvard University and the University of Warwick. She is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London.

Sally James is a science writer in Seattle. She has talked her way into autopsies, murder scenes, surgeries and medical research labs. She’s been writing for the South Seattle Emerald about the intersection of the pandemic and racism. She is past president of the nonprofit Northwest Science Writers Association, and volunteer in health literacy. Find her at www.seattlesciencewriter.com.

Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9780262539401

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