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We talked with UCL’s Dr Paul Chadwick after he and the Pegasus team delivered a talk at Cannes Lions 2018.

If you couldn’t already tell by the ‘Dr’, Paul Chadwick is really rather a clever man. His job as a consultant clinical psychologist at UCL is to unlock some of that cleverness so it can be used outside of academia in the real world.

We’ve worked closely with Paul and the team at UCL’s center for behavior Change (CBC) for some time now; we developed our strategic planning model CHANGE together, and members of the Pegasus team have attended the CBC summer schools.

And on Monday, Paul shared the stage with Pegasus Head of Planning Corrina Safeio and Pegasus Creative Director Stuart Hehir to deliver a talk on how academics and agencies can work together more effectively.

We caught up with him after the talk for a few questions. What have you taken from your experience of Cannes Lions so far?

I think it’s about that exposure to the range of work that intersects with behavior change, and how much potential there is to integrate behavior change approaches in that work. At the moment, there’s a lot of good work being done at the level of ‘unconscious competence’ – marketers and creatives are doing things quite intuitively, without being aware of the evidence base. From a psychological perspective, if you could turn that into ‘conscious competence’, then there’s the potential for much bigger impact.

If you had something you wanted your audience to take away, what was it?

It’s about reinforcing the ideas that academics and marketers need each other to deliver impact. And I think I wanted to also present a friendly face of academia and hopefully debunk some of those myths that were difficult to work with and obstructive!

Do you think we achieved our goal of showing that behavioral science can be a starting point for creative, rather than a limiting factor?

I really hope we’ve demonstrated that science and creativity can really work hand-in-hand to deliver impact and that they’re not mutually exclusive. What I’d like to see is even more agencies developing relationships with centers like ours to integrate our work into what they do. And Pegasus is a really good model for how to do that. I’m used to working with tiny budgets, and when I look around here and see how much goes into marketing … if just a tiny fraction of that could be harnessed using a scientific approach, then the potential to transform health would be extraordinary.

And have you enjoyed it?

Yes! I’ve been able to do lots of rehearsal on the beach, which is a slightly more glamorous place to practice than usual. 

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