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University of Pennsylvania Professor Damon Centola Joins Starling’s Academic Advisory Board

23rd Sep, 2021

Starling has announced the appointment of Professor Damon Centola to its Academic Advisory Board.  

Damon Centola is the Elihu Katz Professor of Communication, Sociology and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is Director of the Network Dynamics Group. Also a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, his research centers on social networks and behavior change. Centola’s work has been published across disciplines in journals such as Science, PNAS, American Journal of Sociology, Nature Communications, and Journal of Statistical Physics.

Popular accounts of Centola’s work have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Wired, TIME, The Atlantic, Scientific American and CNN. His speaking and consulting clients include Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Cigna, General Motors, the U.S. Army and the NBA. He is a series editor for Princeton University Press, and the author of How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions (Princeton 2018), and Change: How to Make Big Things Happen (Little Brown, 2021)

“I'm thrilled to join Starling and to support the groundbreaking work they are doing to advance our scientific understanding of financial culture and market performance,” Centola said. “Starling's advisors rank among the world's best thinkers on social and network influences in financial markets, and Starling's initiatives provide unparalleled opportunities to improve the correspondence between strategies for management, governance and behavior change within firms, and the most advanced scientific understanding of strategic decision-making and organizational culture,” he added.

“We often think that, if we could just get some celebrity to promote a view or a product, that message would ‘go viral’ and their countless followers would swiftly take the lead and act differently,” said Starling founder and CEO, Stephen Scott. “This thinking supports the notion that ‘Tone from the Top’ is critical in shaping behavior in firms,” he observed. “But Damon teaches us that, while the spread of information may follow such ‘simple contagion’ rules, behavior change relies on more ‘complex contagion’ dynamics. That is, people need exposure to several others who are emphasizing a different set of behavioral norms before individuals will conform in their own behavior,” Scott explained. “So, far more so than Tone from the Top, what shapes behavior within firms is Tone among Peers. This has important implications for management, risk governance, and performance optimization,” Scott said, “so we are incredibly fortunate to have Damon’s guidance as we develop our solutions.”

About Starling

A globally recognized RegTech pioneer, Starling is an applied behavioral sciences company that helps customers to create, preserve, and restore value. Combining machine learning and network science, Starling’s Predictive Behavioral Analytics platform allows managers to anticipate, and to shape, the behavior of employees and teams so as to boost performance and reduce risk.

On Starling’s Scientific & Academic Advisory Board, Centola joins John Seely Brown, former Director of the Xerox PARC Research Lab; Nicholas Christakis, Director of Yale’s Human Nature Lab; Karen Cook, Director of Stanford’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences; Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School; Thomas Malone, Director of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence; Betsy Levy Paluck, a McArthur ‘Genius Award’ winner and Deputy Director of the Center for Behavioral Science & Policy at Princeton; and Tom Reader, Director of the Master’s Degree program in Organizational and Social Psychology at the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Starling’s Industry & Regulatory Advisory Board is led by Gary Cohn, Vice-Chairman of IBM, past President and COO of Goldman Sachs, and Director of the U.S. National Economic Council; with Siew Kai Choy, former Managing Director and head of Enterprise Data Analytics at Singapore sovereign fund GIC; Mark Cooke, former Group Head of Operational Risk with HSBC; Tom Curry, former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Jim Freis, longest serving Director of FinCEN, the US Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network; and Rick Ketchum, former CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), past head of regulation for the NYSE, and former President of the NASD and NASDAQ.