Since becoming CEO of We Are What We Do in early 2009, Nick has transformed the organisation, growing the company from a tiny start-up to an international team, defining our strategic direction, establishing the partnerships that have allowed our products and services to reach large scale and financial sustainability, as well as being actively involved in the development of all our products and services.

Nick has shaped our approach to behaviour change. He draws on a range of influences from behavioural economics and social psychology to user-centred design processes, as well as his own experience working as a teacher, youth worker and campaigner. He holds a BA Hons in History from Oxford University.

Nick was named one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals by The Observer and NESTA in 2012, his paper ‘The Incidental Effect: New Methods in Behaviour Change’ has been met with great acclaim and he has given talks all over the world, including at TEDx, Columbia University, the British Council, Google and the Royal Institute.

Nick has two awesome dogs called Elvis and Scout.

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Can Consumer Product Design Really Drive Systemic Social Change?

A recent Forbes piece by Ashoka’s Michael Zakaras takes product design to task as a source of transformational social change. To provide an antidote to the fashionable fascination with “things” as the answer to all our social ills, the article uses examples like Toms Shoes‘ one-for-one model and the distribution of mosquito nets as evidence that products normally fail to engage with the roots of complex social problems.

The Next Frontier for Social Impact Investment

Social Impact Investment is explored by Nick Stanhope.

Successful commercial entrepreneurs have to prioritise building two types of value within their ventures: user value and financial value. The job of creating value for users is hard. It relies on a profound understanding of the intrinsic motivations of the target audience. It requires the time, investment and experience…

Shift’s development process for social ventures

Nick and Tori explain the process that shapes and structures Shift’s work designing social ventures. As part of our three year partnership with the Nominet Trust, we have intended to codify and share this process more explicitly, both for our own benefit and in the hope that other mission-driven designers and social entrepreneurs find it useful.

Three values

On the surface, the language and practices of Silicon Valley and other tech investors have brought the social sector a greater focus on ventures, accelerators, fast-growth innovations, of startups, incubators and investment…

Box Chicken Launch

Hadrian Garrard from Create London and Nick Stanhope discuss the need for practical interventions to tackle poor diets at the launch of Box Chicken, a pilot of a healthy fast food outlet.



incidental effect

The Incidental Effect

October 1, 2011

Paper exploring new methods in behaviour change.

Nick Stanhope


Nick Stanhope: Nesta New Radical 2012
The Observer, 2012

Q and A with Nick Stanhope, Creator of Historypin
Smithsonian Magazine, 10th August 2011