Bethel, Emma, Grainne, Harry, Marnie, Priya, Qamar, Tia, Tony, Sooraj, Tanya, Iain and maybe you
Harry Hobson is Founder and Director of the Neighbourly Lab. He's obsessed by how evidence can improve social outcomes for people and stop money being wasted. He has a particular interest in social infrastructure and how people use technology in their lives.
As a strategic consultant and social entrepreneur, he continues to be an Associate Partner at Stripe Partners, was Founder of Common Everybody (a platform to connect KS2 school-children in different countries to promote empathy and citizenship), and Partner at What If Innovation (the UK’s largest corporate innovation firm). Harry’s past working life includes stops at the Economist Intelligence Unit and Spectrum Strategy Consultants. He is also father, beekeeper, paddle-boarder. Harry holds MA degrees from Cambridge and SOAS London.
Qamar Zaman is Co-Founder and Non-Executive Director at the Neighbourly Lab (previously Chief Economist and Director of Data and Insights). He thinks about how we can generate and join together signals on social connectedness.
He is a Strategic Advisor to Stripe Partners, and Senior Advisor to the Financial Services Culture Board where previously as their Chief Economist and Head of Data and Behavioural Science he built and led what has become the largest exercise of its kind globally to assess culture and behaviour in financial institutions. Qamar spent the first half of his career at Oliver Wyman, and at the Financial Services Authority, as part of which he was also the principal Economic Advisor to the European Banking Authority in the initial years of the financial crisis. He is also an (aspiring) short story writer. Qamar holds degrees from Oxford, McGill and LUMS.
Marnie Freeman is Director and founder of the ethnography, community and co-design department. She thinks about how the Lab can build out and use participatory and ethnographic methods to address questions around community cohesion, EDI, reducing isolation and social and cultural mixing.
She has 20 years of experience in Participatory Research Design, Community Development and Qualitative Project Delivery and Evaluation, working for the UN, local councils, NGOs, charities and commercial organisations. Her expertise lies in working with children, young people, families and refugee communities. She also loves her boys, lake swimming and being upside down. Marnie’s academic background is in Social Anthropology and her MSc from SOAS London is in the Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development.
Priya Banati brings a career’s worth of experience in championing collaboration through people-centered design. At the Neighbourly Lab, she applies this expertise towards building collaborative models for connectedness that support work and well-being across communities. Priya also runs Common Ground Design.
Priya spent the first half of her career at Accenture where she built and nurtured the Accenture Communities program - a service that mobilised leaders and diverse teams to successfully ideate and innovate around key business issues. She recently served as the Inclusive Innovation Network lead at Camden Council. She is also the mother of a delightful boy and an aspiring polyglot. Priya holds a Bachelors in Architecture, an MSc in Consultancy Management, and an MRes in Design Research from the Royal College of Art.
Emma Bowkett is a Researcher at the Neighbourly Lab. She focuses on the background research and data for our projects. She also spends a lot of her time conducting qualitative interviews to discover more about social connectedness and loneliness.
Emma has recently finished her master’s in Public Policy at King’s College London, after having done her undergraduate degree in History and International Relations at the University of Exeter. Her main interests have been in comparative public policy, security studies and gender related research. When she’s not at work she is doing yoga, reading a good book and spending time with her three housemates.
Grainne O’Dwyer is a Senior Programme Manager at NeighbourlyLab. She is passionate about increasing social connection by promoting positive behaviour change within and across communities. At the Lab, she leverages her expertise in behavioural economics to understand the true drivers and blockers of behaviour and develop cost-effective and scalable behaviour change interventions.
She is an experienced qualitative researcher and behavioural insights specialist, with extensive experience conducting ethnographic behaviour change research with public, private and third sector organisations both nationally and internationally. She holds a MSc in Developmental and Educational Psychology from University College London, which underpins her passion for and expertise in working with children and young people. Her other passions include spending weekends exploring food markets, sea swimming, and listening to live music.
Tony is a convert to the cause that at the core of any happy, healthy life is our connection to family, friends, neighbours and our community. He is interested in how public services can be a catalyst for generating new relationships and more connections.
Tony is a public sector leader, specialising in housing, regeneration and economic development, though he has been responsible for services as diverse as school lunches, libraries, collecting bins, parks and pest control. He has also been an advisor to housing and local government ministers in central government and a management consultant. He holds an MA in Anthropology from Cambridge. He is dad to two awesome boys and an open water swimmer.
Bethel Worku-Dix is Head of Finance and Operations at Neighbourly Lab. She has fifteen years of experience delivering Development projects with various UN agencies and government and commercial organisations.
She Is also a researcher with ethnographic work in Asia and Africa looking at equitable partnerships, participation and representation in the democratic process, as well as organisational culture, with a particular interest in ‘Audit Cultures’.
Her academic background includes a BA in Finance Information Systems and an MRes in Anthropological Research Methods from SOAS University of London, where she continues to run research programmes and enterprise activities.
Sooraj is a Design consultant at Neighbourly Lab.
He is an engineer turned designer, travel illustrator and aspiring entrepreneur. He is passionate about solving problems that deeply focus on frustrations in digital experiences.
Sooraj has spent most of his adult life living in various places around India and Europe before settling down in London, travelling remains a constant in his life. Always curious about different cultures, he has developed a sense of adaptation and communication. After his Bachelors in L'Institut Supérieur des Arts Appliqués, Rennes, He went on to graduate from the Central Saint Martins (UAL) in London, majoring in Communication Design.
Tia is a Researcher at Neighbourly Lab, with a background in Psychology. She is currently studying towards a master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction Design at City, University of London, having completed a BSc in Psychology with Education at University College London. For her undergraduate dissertation she focused on exploring cultural and gender differences in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student mental health. Her studies were driven by a passion for increasing the support provided for minority groups within education settings.
Prior to working with the Neighbourly Lab, Tia has worked on consulting projects for both startups and charities. She has also worked on the leadership team of the global consulting organisation 180 Degrees Consulting, and has organised several events focused on social impact consulting. Outside of work Tia is a keen language learner - having spent time in Spain and Mexico studying Spanish, her current goal is to be conversational in Italian within the next year.
Tanya is a Project Manager at Neighbourly Lab where she is responsible for planning and overseeing projects to ensure their successful completion. She is involved in every stage of the project cycle and manages budgets, teams and schedules. She also researches new business opportunities, liaises with clients and builds lasting relationships.
Tanya has a BA in Media and Communications, and her MA is within the International Relations and Diplomacy sphere. She has previously worked in an embassy, media outlet, Tiktok and has organised 30+ business events internationally. She has passion for languages and is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Bulgarian. Out of work she enjoys following current affairs and dancing.
Iain is a Community Development Practitioner who is passionate about participation and connecting young people with the processes, policies and decisions in which their input is regularly overlooked. Iain’s academic background is in Theatre and Performance. Iain worked in a variety of community theatre roles before gaining experience in a wide range of youth focussed and community development roles.
Most recently, Iain worked at the University of Glasgow as a Coordinator with Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland. In this role he supported children and young people to identify their priorities for their own wellbeing and development, whilst empowering them to make the changes in their life and community that would benefit them directly. Iain is passionate about encouraging partners and professionals to adopt a youth led approach, valuing young people as active participants and contributors in their community.
Iain is passionate about utilising his own lived experience of antisocial behaviour, gang violence and conflict with the justice system and as such now sits on the Executive Governance Group for the Children and Young Peoples Centre for Justice at Strathclyde University.