By Matteo Galizzi
After the summer break and the exciting talk by Max Bazerman (Harvard Business School), another great event has marked the start of the new academic year behavioural initiatives at the LSE.
David Halpern, the CEO of The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), came to the LSE on Tuesday 15th September to present his new book, Inside the Nudge Unit – How Small Changes can make a Big Difference.
The event was hosted by the LSE Department of Management, and chaired by Dr Barbara Fasolo, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at LSE, Head of the LSE Behavioural Research Lab (BRL), and Director of the LSE Executive Master in Behavioural Science.
David Halpern is CEO of The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), which was set up by 10 Downing Street in 2010. He is also the UK’s national adviser on What Works. Prior to this, David Halpern was the Founding Director of the Institute for Government, Chief Analyst in Tony Blair’s Strategy Unit, and Director of Blair’s social exclusion task force.
During his talk, David Halpern has talked about the origin of the Behavioural Insights Team. In 2010, David Cameron set up the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT or ‘Nudge Unit’) at 10 Downing Street. Plans were greeted with wry amusement from the media and deep scepticism from the corridors of Whitehall. Not many believed it would last, yet within 18 months, the team was producing results which changed the minds of critics inside and outside the government. Headed up by behavioural scientist David Halpern, the aim was to be the world’s first government institution to use behavioural economics to examine and influence human behaviour; to essentially ‘nudge’ us into making better decisions for ourselves by applying psychology to policy.
After the talk, David Halpern has answered the numerous questions from the public, packed in the Old Theatre, Old Building. To thank him for the engaging presentation, and as a tangible sign of the newly established collaboration between the LSE BRL and the BIT, Barbara Fasolo has donated to David Halpern a brain-shaped stress ball with the LSE BRL logo.
In a reception after the talk, David Halpern has spent the rest of the evening meeting the staff and the students of the LSE Exec MSc in Behavioural Science, the world-first executive behavioural MSc program.
For the podcast of the event: