Creating startups through empathy & behavioural research: Dr. Rachel Carey

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Dr Rachel Carey is Chief Scientist at Zinc, a UK-based organisation that runs a venture-builder for mission-driven entrepreneurs, combining the best of creative design, scientific rigour, technological innovation and entrepreneurship. She leads Zinc’s Research & Development team, a growing, interdisciplinary team of applied scientists, committed to building a new approach to science-based innovation.

She completed her PhD in psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, which examined the impact of threat-based persuasive communications on driver behavior. She spent several years as a postdoc at University College London, before joining a newly formed behavioural science team at Bupa. Since joining Zinc in 2017, she has helped to shape over 40 new mission-driven start-ups. Through an honorary role at UCL, she continues to be involved in a range of research and teaching - mainly centred around health behaviour change, safe and sustainable transport, and digital health.

Dr. Carey has a wealth of knowledge about the differences between behavioral science academia and applied research, and is eager to share her experiences and ideas about how to bridge the two worlds. In today’s episode, she discusses these differences, as well as how behavioral science shows up in the world of entrepreneurship, and the need for certain elements of research culture - including public perception - to evolve. Some specific topics discussed include:

  • The differences of applying and generating behavioral science in the academic versus startup worlds
  • How these two worlds, particularly research and entrepreneurship, are bridged in practice
  • How behavioral science projects and ventures are prioritized
  • The risks of entrepreneurship, and the privilege required to take those risks
  • Current public misconceptions regarding science and research, and how these misconceptions are shaped by a lack of public access and information
  • The changing face of entrepreneurship, and the new potential garnered by including more diversity
  • The trade-off between statistics and anecdotal evidence, and the motivating power of stories

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