InDecision research heroes
Click image to enlarge
In 2011, the early days of applied behavioural science, I went to the Society of Judgment and Decision-Making conference in Minneapolis - the first of many academic conferences I went to in the years that followed. I quickly realised a lot of the cool research I saw was done by young researchers whose work wouldn’t get covered in mainstream media because they were not (yet) famous.
So, together with Neda Kerimi, we founded InDecision: a blog run by early career researchers and practitioners in judgment and decision-making. Our goal was to create a platform for young researchers to talk about their work and reach audiences beyond the realm of academic conferences and journals. Not everyone will have their work featured in the New York Times, yet many early career researchers do fantastically interesting work that deserved to be heard by as many people as possible.
We quickly realised we had a chicken-and-egg problem: nobody would want to write to a blog that had no content or audience, so our first step was to build both those so decided to start with a series of interviews with big names in the field which we called Research Heroes. The process was simple: we emailed the same questions to people, and posted their answers along with their introduction and picture.
On the 3rd of January 2013, we published the first post on InDecision. We had modest hopes for the blog: we thought maybe a couple of hundred people would read it. To our huge surprise, it was a runaway hit—in the first year we had over 35 000 visitors from 147 countries – far beyond what we could have imagined. From the US and Europe to Eritrea, via Singapore, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Mongolia – decision making science is everywhere. Although the activity on the blog faded as the years went on, the all time statistics still blow me away:
176 463 views and 87 831 visitors from almost all countries in the world.
That’s a lot for a tiny blog in a niche topic that I mostly updated from my sofa in pyjamas!
In 2012, behavioural science was nowhere near as close to mainstream interest as it is now so I can’t help but wonder where all those readers come from — who were those two people in Kyrgyzstan, the person in Belize, and the 49 people in Trinidad and Tobago?
The blog has been inactive for some years now, and eventually it will disappear but I wanted to preserve these interviews in a way that they can live on as a snapshot in time. The world of behavioural science has changed, and many Research Heroes have moved to different places in their career but the views and wisdom they shared with us back then are just as valuable and fascinating today.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did!