Innovation doesn’t always require inventing new solutions to problems; chances are that evolution has already solved the issue with a unique design. This simple notion of looking to the natural world for design inspiration is called biomimicry. Guest, Sam Tatam uses biomimicry in his creative application of behavioral science.


Friend of the show, Sam Tatam is the author of a fantastic new book called Evolutionary Ideas: Unlocking ancient innovation to solve tomorrow’s challenges. Sam is the Global Principal and Head of Behavioural Science at Ogilvy Growth & Innovation. From New York to Nairobi, Sam has led behavior change projects across virtually every category and continent. Today, he leads a global team of talented psychologists and behavioral economists to develop interventions and shape the communications of some of the world’s most influential brands and organizations.


Listen in to our conversation with Sam to learn about biomimicry, The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) and the Goal Gradient theory. But our conversation isn't all "sciency", we also have a light hearted chat about the musical artist Sam went to Italy with, and about the differences in pubs between London and Sydney.


If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through Patreon. We also absolutely love reading your reviews on the podcast, which help others find our content.



(4:59) Welcome and speed round questions.

(13:23) What is biomimicry? 

(18:20) TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) and evolutionary thinking.

(25:32) How language can be a liberator for innovation. 

(29:28) Categorizing biases into patterns.

(34:58) What is the Goal Gradient Theory and why isn’t it applied more often?

(39:14) Five psychological contradictions.

(47:26) What music would Sam take to a desert island?

(51:03) Kurt and Tim discussing Sam’s Evolutionary Ideas.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves



Sam Tatam's Book: "Evolutionary Ideas: Unlocking ancient innovation to solve tomorrow’s challenges": 

Episode 44, Sam Tatam: Smelling the Brand: 

Episode 107: Rory Sutherland: The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea: 



Shinkansen, Japanese speed train: 

Generich Altshuller: 

Episode 215, Leidy Klotz: Secrets of Subtraction: Donut Holes, Lego and Bruce Springsteen: 

Episode 289: Why Not All Nudges Work ”In The Wild” | Nina Mazar PhD & Dilip Soman PhD: 

Baader–Meinhof phenomenon: 

Episode 202, How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon:


Musical Links


David Gray “Sail Away”: 

Powderfinger “My Happiness”: 

A goal is a stepping stone on the way to a higher achievement, not an end point. By reframing our expectations, we can transform our mindset into an incredibly powerful psychological tool.


Our guest on this episode is Paul Szyarto who has overcome some heartbreaking personal adversity to become an incredibly successful entrepreneur.


Paul speaks with us in detail about the blind spots entrepreneurs experience and why many organizations fail because they don’t hire the right people with the right talent. And he reminds us that the most challenging thing to do in times of chaos is to focus on something meaningful, something beyond the current chaos of that current challenge.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



(2:50) Welcome and speed round questions.

(5:11) Goals are not end points, they are stepping stones to a higher achievement.

(8:47) The psychology of human capital.

(12:16) Why most businesses fail. 

(13:31) Paul’s secret tips for entrepreneurs. 

(16:23) What is the Never Broken mindset?

(19:51) The barriers to feeling grateful.

(21:14) Does Paul’s playlist reflect his Never Broken mindset?

(22:40) Grooving session with Kurt and Tim discussing mindsets.


Never Broken Mindset: 

Episode 277, Daniel Pink, No Regrets? Really? Why Regrets Actually Bring Us Hope: 

Episode 276, Ayelet Fishbach, How To Stay Motivated So You Exceed Your Goals: 


Women are more likely to volunteer for a non-promotable task at work, than men. But why do women volunteer themselves more? What repercussions does this have on women and on the organization? And how can workplaces fix this inequity?


Non promotable tasks (NPTs) are the pieces of work that are good for the organization, but not so good for the individual. It’s the request from your boss to organize the holiday party, or the task of ordering sandwiches for the team lunch, or the mission of being on the review committee. And the problem, says Linda and her co-authors, is that women are doing the vast majority of these non-promotable tasks for no reason other than people expect them to.


Linda Babcock is a longtime friend of the show, having first appeared on Behavioral Grooves Podcast back in April 2019 to talk about promoting the careers of women in the workplace. Since then, Linda has co-authored a fantastic new book advocating further for women in the workplace; The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women's Dead-End Work. Having formed “The No Club” with a group of other women, in an effort to regain balance in their workload, Linda and her fellow group members have written about their personal experience of learning to say NO to NPTs. 


Make no mistake, Linda’s book is not a guide for women, it is a guide for anyone who works with or knows women! Weaving practical tips into ever chapter of the book, Linda and her co-authors outline clear steps in how to avoid and fix the problem of workload inequity. And the benefits aren’t limited to women either - organizations can improve their productivity and profitability as a result of addressing these problems.


In this episode with Linda we relish the opportunity to discuss with her the practical ways women, men and organizations can rebalance the workload of NPTs. If you are a regular listener to the show, please consider support our work through our Patreon page. If donating isn’t an option for you, don’t worry, you can’t write us a podcast review on your podcast player which will help other listeners find our show.




(4:40) What are non promotable tasks (NPTs)?

(7:47) Why do women do more NPTs?

(12:50) Is there racial inequity with NPTs as well?

(14:11) Tips for how women can say no to NPTs.

(18:31) How can organizations fix the problem of NPTs?

(21:27) How men can change the NPT culture at work.

(25:55) Linda’s personal story of forming The No Club.

(27:45) Linda’s desert island music choices.

(31:21) Grooving session with Kurt and Tim on how to improve the culture of NPTs at your work..


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women's Dead-End Work”: 

Episode 62, Linda Babcock: Helping Women Build Better Careers at Carnegie Mellon: 

Episode 67, George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom:

Behavioral Grooves Patreon:

Leading Human Workbook and Playbook:


Musical Links


The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”: 

Bruno Mars “24K Magic”: 

The Mountain Goats “Golden Boy Peanuts”: 



The culture we live in has an invisible influence over our individual and collective behaviors. The tendency towards openness or order in a society is expressed by Michele Gelfand, as the looseness or tightness of a culture. How loose or tight a country is can be correlated to the amount of threat the nation has faced in the past, and in turn, can indicate how its people will respond to a new threat, such as a global pandemic.


Michele Gelfand is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Professor of Psychology by Courtesy at Stanford University. She wrote her book “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals That Direct Our Lives” in the era before COVID. Despite that she astutely addressed how tight and loose nations would respond to the threat of a global pandemic. We were honored to have the time to chat more with Michele about this topic and many others in this episode. 



(5:49) Welcome and speed round questions.

(6:27) How culture influences our behavior. 

(10:26) How the threat to a nation influences how tight and loose cultures are.

(13:21) What Bert and Ernie can teach us about our tight and loose personalities.

(16:27) What factors influence our default tendency to be tight or loose people? 

(20:21) The global threat of the pandemic and how loose and tight cultures responded. 

(28:48) What Ukraine has taught us about national identity.

(30:47) How can societies maximize both order and openness?

(35:02) Can organizations instigate flexible tightness?

(39:42) Do we have blind spots on how open we are?

(43:26) How values and attitudes influence your behaviors in different cultures.

(47:41) What nudge worked to encourage mask wearing among Republicans and Democrats?

(51:50) The music that influences Michele’s work.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Michele Gelfand:

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals That Direct Our Lives” book by Michele Gelfand: 

Mindset Quiz: How tight or loose are you? 

Episode 266, Sandra Sucher, Trust: The Four Key Steps to Genuinely Build It: 

Episode 102, Cristina Bicchieri, Social Norms are Bundles of Expectations: 


Musical Links

Oscar Peterson “C Jam Blues”: 

Les McCann “A Bag of Gold”: 

Dave Brubeck “Take Five”: 

Bach “Brandenburg Concertos”:

Processes decrease our cognitive load and increase our productivity. On Behavioral Grooves we have talked with out guests a lot about habits and routines, but not so much about the processes behind them. In this bitesize episode we discuss the psychological benefits of using processes and how you can leverage them in your life.

To illustrate the use of processes to achieve different outcomes, we are joined by both a practitioner and a researcher on this episode. Joseph R. Keebler is a Researcher and a Professor of Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. He has done some really amazing work on the use of processes and checklists for improving performance.

Our practitioner guest is Peter M. Krask, who is an artist and coach based in New York City. Peter helps people maximize their creative and non creative output. By tapping into processes, he will share how processes from one aspect of our lives can be used to help us work through new and unfamiliar tasks in other parts of our lives.



(3:29) How processes reduce our cognitive load.

(7:38) You can use the same process but get a different outcome. 

(14:50) Being intentional creates better processes.

(16:50) Flexible goals are motivational.

(20:14) Summary of what we’ve learnt.


© 2021 Behavioral Grooves



Joseph R. Keebler, PhD: 

Peter M. Krask: 

PMK Creativity Guide: 

Episode 128, Wendy Wood, PhD: Habits, Productivity and Being Gentle with Yourself: 

Episode 232, Katy Milkman: How to Make Healthy Habits that Actually Last: 

Episode 171, Roy Baumeister: Self Control, Belonging, and Why Your Most Dedicated Employees Are the Ones To Watch Out For: 

Episode 276, Ayelet Fishbach, PhD: How To Stay Motivated So You Exceed Your Goals:

Transporting humans from A to B is about more than just speed, efficiency and duration. Comfort, Wi-Fi access, entertainment and our habits, among many other factors, influence our choice of transportation. As we become increasingly aware of the way our travel decisions affect climate change, how can behavioral science positively impact the journeys we make?

Let our entertaining discussion with Pete Dyson and Rory Sutherland take you on a journey through their new book, “Transport for Humans: Are We Nearly There Yet?” Pete is the Principal Behavioural Scientist at the UK Department for Transport and has paired up with Rory who needs little introduction to many behavioral science enthusiasts. The vice chairman of Ogilvy UK and the co-founder of its Behavioural Science Practice, Rory is also a guest on one of the most popular ever episodes of Behavioral Grooves, Episode 107: The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea.

Our episode, along with the book, appeals to the “frustrated but optimistic traveler.” We hope listening helps you reframe your journey.




(3:23) Welcome to Pete and Rory with speed round questions.

(9:05) Our transport preferences are all different, so the market should reflect that.

(13:36) The book for the frustrated but optimistic traveler.

(15:30) What do travelers value? 

(20:27) How does human nature affect our use of transport? 

(22:37) How passenger technology has influenced train journeys.

(24:51) The consequences of journeys on climate change.

(26:31) Transportation challenges in the US.

(35:56) Thinking holistically, Zoom is an example of transportation. 

(39:01) Rebranding a bus route increases ridership.

(43:39) Listening to music while cycling or commuting? 

(49:52) Grooving Session on how Pete and Rory transported our thinking!


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves




Transport for Humans: Are We Nearly There Yet?” by Pete Dyson and Rory Sutherland: 

Episode 107, Rory Sutherland: The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea: 

George Monbiot: 

Episode 287, Nick Epley: Why Talking To Strangers Is Actually Good For Your Wellbeing: 

Read Nudge and you are inspired by how behavioral science works. But how can we translate and scale behavioral science effectively into policies and organizations? Indeed, can all academic research be applied “in the wild”?


Our two guests on this episode, Nina Mazar PhD and Dilip Soman PhD have co-edited a book “Behavioral Science in the Wildthat addresses exactly this. If you’re a practitioner, wanting to apply behavioral science in corporate, non-profit, or governmental work, we think you should check this book out. It’s full of excellent ideas for how to apply behavioral science in the wild!


Nina Mazar is a professor of marketing and co-director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. Her work focuses on topics ranging from ethics to social & environmental impact. She sits on the board of Irrational Labs and belongs to the team of scientists of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at Wharton.  


Dilip Soman is a Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics. His research is in the area of behavioral science and its applications to consumer wellbeing, marketing and policy. Together Nina and Dilip established the Director of the Behavioural Economics in Action Research Centre at Rotman [BEAR], on which Dilip still serves as director.


Our discussion with Nina and Dilip explores the journey of working on their book together and why it’s vital reading for all behavioral scientists. To summarize the discussion, as always, Tim and Kurt end the show with a Grooving Session to recap what we learn about behavioral science in the wild!



(5:04) Welcome to Dilip and Nina with speed round questions.

(10:01) Why do we need a book about applying behavioral science research “in the wild”.

(14:29) Why not all academic research is destined for the practitioner world? 

(18:04) Social norms matter but the right reference group is vital.

(21:35) Background variables influence behavioral science in the wild.

(29:27) Speed of testing can be a barrier.

(31:33) Overcoming the issue of scalability. 

(35:24) How your time frame can affect output.

(38:55) What to do when you don’t get the results you expect.

(44:07) Don’t get caught shopping in the nudge store.

(45:50) Music choices of Dilip and Nina.

(51:29) Grooving session about behavioral science in the wild.

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves


Leading Human

Leading Human™ Workbook and Playbook:

Leading Human™, Free Whitepaper Download:



Behavioral Science in the Wild (Behaviorally Informed Organizations)”: 

Nina Mazar: 

Dilip Soman: 

Episode 102, Cristina Bicchieri: Social Norms are Bundles of Expectations: 

Episode 232, Katy Milkman: How to Make Healthy Habits that Actually Last: 

Episode 16, Nudge-A-Thon with Dr. Christina Gravert: 

Episode 202, How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD: 

Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR): 


Musical Links


Paul Simon “Graceland”: 

Mark Knopfler “What It Is”: 

Kishori Amonkar “Swaranjali”: 

Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms”: 

Supertramp “Take The Long Way Home”: 

Fleetwood Mac “Dreams”:

Subramaniam and Stephane Grappelli “Conversations”:

The 1988 Subramaniam-Bismillah Geneva:

The Cure “Just Like Heaven”: 

Kate Bush “Wuthering Heights”: 


Personality or wealth are often assumed to be prerequisites to gaining power, something that is only garnered by having control over others. An organization chart in a company, however, does not illustrate who has power within the workplace, it only tells you who has authority. And as we learn in this episode, authority and power are not the same.


By using workplace illustrations from the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom to a cigarette factory in France, Julie Battilana walks us through the precise definitions of power and authority. By understanding exactly what power is and how it really works, Julie breaks down the critical steps to successfully acquiring power and using it to disrupt hierarchies; by innovating, agitating and orchestrating. 


Julie Battilana is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School and the Alan L. Gleitsman Professor of Social Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, where she is also the founder and faculty chair of the Social Innovation and Change Initiative.


We value support from our listeners through our Patreon page: If donating isn’t an option for you, don’t worry, you can’t write us a podcast review on your podcast player which will help other listeners find our show. Thank you.


© 2022  Behavioral Grooves




(3:32) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:29) Power and authority are NOT the same.

(11:59) Who are the most effective change makers?

(14:37) Power is having an influence over others but is also a freedom from the influence of others.

(16:15) How can we choose the right leaders?

(20:18) Empowering the powerless.

(25:57) The power of collectivism.

(30:17) Abuse of power by Putin.

(36:02) How technology plays a part in abuse of power.

(41:38) What checks on power are needed?

(45:29) Is there hope for the future? 

(52:20) What music does Julie listen to.

(54:55) Grooving Session discussing what we learnt from Julie.



Leading Human Workbook and Playbook: 

Groovy Snacks Newsletter: 

Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It's Everyone's Business” by Julie Battilana and Tiziana Casciaro:

Julie Battilana, PhD: 

Fragrance De Soie tea: 

Vanessa Bohns, Episode 253. Why You Don‘t Need to be Powerful to be Influential:

LaTosha Brown: 

Jean Rogers, founder of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB): 

Social Innovation Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School: 

Barefoot College:  


Musical Links

Stromae “Sante”:

Do you strike up a conversation with a stranger on a plane or while waiting in line? If you don’t already, you will after listening to Nick Epley in this episode. Nick talks through his extensive research about talking to people we encounter and how it actually boosts our wellbeing. 


While many of us prefer engaging in some small talk with strangers, Nick advocates for the benefits of having a deep and meaningful conversation with people. The problem is, how do we actually start such a conversation with the person who just sat down next to us? Fear not, Nick delves into why we’re reluctant and how we can overcome our hesitation.


Nick Epley is the John Templeton Keller Professor of Behavior Science and Director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He studies social cognition — how thinking people think about other thinking people — to understand why smart people so routinely misunderstand each other. Recently Nick has written the book Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want” and he talks in his interview about what he's working on next.


As always, hosts Kurt and Tim end the show with a light-hearted Grooving Session to summarize what we have learnt from our guest. I’m sure you will agree that Nick’s interview leaves us with lots of helpful insights. But if there is just one thing you take away from this episode, great listeners, is never hesitant to seize the opportunity to pay a compliment.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



(3:40) Welcome and speed round questions.

(4:57) Why it’s better to have a deep and meaningful conversation with a stranger?

(7:18) Why are we reluctant to talk to strangers about something meaningful?

(13:46) Why did Nick start studying undersociality? 

(21:06) What happens when strangers talk on a train?

(29:33) How do you start a conversation with a stranger?

(33:20) The benefits of a compliment.

(39:21) Nick’s work in the future.

(43:35) The mind-blowing way to get someone else’s perspective?

(47:49) What music influences Nick.

(51:24) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim discussing what we learned from Nick Epley.



Nicholas Epley:

Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want” by Nick Epley:

Gary Becker: 

Liz Dunn at University of British Columbia: 

Episode 220: How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets:

Behavioral Grooves Patreon page:


Musical Links

Metallica “Master of Puppets”: 

David Tolk, piano player “Amazing Grace”: 

“All Creatures Great and Small” music: 


As the political divide between left and right widens in the US and around the world, we seem to spend increasing amounts of time focusing on the idea that other people are wrong. But what if we stopped arguing about facts and talked about improving ourselves instead?

“All of my knowledge is temporary, pending new information.”

This is a motto that guest Peter Montoya lives by, which questions our own ego and behavior, more than other people’s.

Peter Montoya is the author of The Second Civil War: A Citizen's Guide to Healing Our Fractured Nation, which we understand to be the first “political self help” for Americans. Instead of pointing the finger of blame at one side or the other, Peter challenges us to look inward at our own behavior, our own ego battle and our own craving to belong which can reveal a lot about the relationships we are building.

Looking inwards is a personal journey that Peter has recently taken himself and we are incredibly grateful to him for the vulnerability and openness he shows in this episode. We are all just trying to be a better version of ourselves and we can see this endeavor reflected in the stories that Peter shares with us.

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, we would be grateful if you could donate to our work through Patreon. Contributions we receive from listeners are used to fund the work on our podcast, and help ensure we can deliver more great content to you. Thank you!


(7:19) Why do people fight on social media?

(13:31) Why do we need a political self help book?

(15:51) Arguing about politics really is stupid; but what’s the alternative?

(20:43) What to do about social media and news rewarding extreme stories.

(26:19) Why don’t facts or morality matter when changing minds?

(29:34) What are our actual differences vs. our perceived differences?

(30:13) Change starts with ourselves.

(33:19) Understanding our own ego.

(35:09) When you change yourself, you change your relationships.

(47:17) The greatest song Peter has ever heard.

(53:31) Grooving Session discussing what we’ve learnt from Peter.


© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Peter Montoya:

“The Second Civil War: A Citizen's Guide to Healing Our Fractured Nation” by Peter Montoya: 

Interested in becoming an Urth Co-Creator? Visit: 

Episode 215, Secrets of Subtraction: Donut Holes, Lego and Bruce Springsteen with Leidy Klotz:

Episode 10, Changing the World One View at a Time – with Reddit Superstar Kal Turnbull: 

Dances with Wolves: 

The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman: 

Glossary of Behavioral Terms: 

Episode 283, Henry Gee - Is The Anus Really The Key To All Intelligent Life? 

Episode 226, The Power of Unity: Robert Cialdini Expands His Best Selling Book Influence: 

Episode 279, We Are Greater Together; The Power Of Belonging with Dominic Packer PhD:  

Behavioral Grooves Patreon Page:

Musical Links

The Beatles “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”: 

The Sandells “Dirty Water”: 

Radiohead “Daydreaming”: 

Bjork “Human Behaviour”: 

The Clash “Rock The Casbah”: 

The Clash “London’s Calling”: 

Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros: “Yalla Yalla”: 

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