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The 3B Method for Changing Behaviors with Karl Purcell

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Human behavior is influenced by rational and situational factors, which ultimately, deeply impact business.

In this episode of the Beauty of Conflict, Susan and CrisMarie interview Karl Purcell, a senior behavioral scientist from Irrational Labs, about the field of behavioral science and its application in understanding human decision-making and product design. Karl believes behavioral science can be a valuable asset for a developmental product or service. He explains how conducting structured experiments can identify the real drivers of consumers’ behavior and talks about the "three B method" (behaviors, barriers, and benefits) as a process to gain insights into enabling or hindering actions. Karl also touches upon the significance of psychological safety within teams, fostering trust, and encouraging open communication within companies at any level.

Listen to this episode to learn how to leverage behavioral science in product design!

About Karl Purcell

Karl is a passionate advocate for behavioral science having built a number of behavioral science teams throughout his career. He believes that by combining rapid experimentation with a deep understanding of human behavior, organizations can help people to become healthier, happier, and wealthier.

Karl is an entertaining and enthusiastic presenter who helps people get excited about applying behavioral science having previously lectured at Dublin City University and designing bespoke training programs for leading Irish financial institutions.

Prior to working with Irrational Labs, Karl played a key role in driving the adoption of behavioral science in Irish policymaking. Working in Ireland’s Department of Finance, he built a network of behavioral science enthusiasts, successfully secured funding for the application of behavioral science, and delivered the Irish government’s first randomized control trial to increase jobseekers’ attendance at job centers.

Following his work in the Department of Finance, Karl was headhunted to create and lead a behavioral science team at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). During his time as program manager, he successfully delivered over 25 discrete research projects, 5 randomized controlled trials, and co-designed decision aids such as the SEAI’s electric vehicle comparison tool.

Karl has advised government leaders at the highest levels on how to apply behavioral science to improve policy outcomes. Most recently Karl advised Ireland’s National Public Health and Emergency Team on how to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and maximize vaccination uptake.

Karl received his MSc in Behavioral Science for Management from the University in Stirling and his BSc in Business and Finance from Dublin City University. Karl also holds a higher diploma in science in data analytics from Dublin Business School.

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Key Take-Aways

  • How behavioral science is relevant in studying human behavior and decision-making.

  • Why conducting structured experiments can bring insights into people’s actions and desires.

  • What is the significance of psychological safety within teams.

  • How adversarial collaboration and behavioral design can help resolve conflicts and shape desired behaviors.

  • What is the value of social relationships and trust-building activities within teams.


  • Connect with and Follow Karl Purcell on LinkedIn.

  • Follow Irrational Labs on LinkedIn.

  • Visit the Irrational Labs Website!

  • Check out “Nudge” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein here!

  • Check out “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker here!

  • Listen to more episodes of The Beauty of Conflict podcast here.

  • Find more details about Come Alive at Haven here.

  • Get your own copy of Crazy, Cracked, Warm, and Deep here!

  • Watch Ted Lasso, if it spiked your interest, here!

  • Get involved with us on our website.

  • Follow us on LinkedIn and see our latest videos!

  • If there’s something you want us to talk about related to the beauty of conflict for teams, let us know at!

  • Connect and follow Susan on LinkedIn.

  • Connect and follow CrisMarie on LinkedIn.

  • Listen to past episodes of the Podcast on Apple Podcasts.


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work with leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help dysfunctional turnaround teams into high-performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy, so they create great results.

Download the eBook, How to Talk About Difficult Topics, today!

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