I’m Dr. Kevin J. Payne.  I’m on a mission to understand ourselves and our world — and help you put that knowledge into action through better decisions.  We do that through better data, real science, and strategic technology.  And we do that by knowing when to stop the planning and just act.

Better decisions mean better lives, better relationships, and better organizations.  Sure, it means being more efficient and productive.  But more important, it means living joyful and meaningful lives that make our world better.  And it means building enterprise that better serves its purpose and constituents.

After a lifetime as a university professor, I found myself settled into a tweedy academic existence.  That’s a great life.  I loved (almost) everything about it.  But it had grown stale.  It was day after day of “been there, done that.”  There were also some family health crises that prompted me to reassess my life.  I had a choice: I could settle further into this existence I hadn’t actually planned…or I could jump.

I jumped.  I decided to craft a place for myself using all the talents and experiences I’ve acquired.  I left the academy to become an entrepreneur and put my ideas and technologies out in the market where they can do some real good.  Now I consult, research, speak, write, train and build businesses.

Why?  Because I’ve spent my life mastering skills that are crucial for everyday life.  The social and behavioral sciences are the “owner’s manual” for better lives and enterprise.  The scientific method is the best way to understand ourselves and our world.  Data are the foundation for better decisions.  The right technology connects us, relieves us of drudgery, and enhances our efforts.  And all this insight is pointless if it isn’t used and shared.

What do I know that helps you?

One thing, really: how to study people and their relationships, organizations and markets.  But it turns out you can do a lot of things with this knowledge.


I hold a doctorate in Sociology with a collateral field in Psychology and specializations in Social Psychology, Theories and Research Methodologies from the University of Missouri–Columbia.  I know why people, networks, groups, organizations and markets work, and how to make them work better.


Since 1991, I have designed, implemented, supervised and interpreted hundreds of basic and applied projects in the social and behavioral sciences.  I’ve applied it to everything from marketing and business operations to program evaluation and policy analysis.  Gut decisions just don’t cut it in the hyper-competitive, always connected markets of the digital era.  But the scientific method shows us how to get past our well-meaning biases and shortcuts.


I first sat down in front of a computer in 1977 and grew up as a kid on the cusp of the digital revolution.  I’ve spent my life on the cutting edge of these technologies.  As a computer geek and technologist, I know which technologies to use to best get your job done.  I understand how people really use digital information technology, and how those technologies affect us.


I blend my expertise as a scientist and a technologist to deliver real human data science.  I look past the numbers to see the humanity they represent.  I find the meaning in your data and show you how to use it to make better decisions in your life and business.  You already have useful data or can get it.  I turn it into useful insight.


I’ve been a manager, administrator, intrapreneur and entrepreneur since 1998.  Entrepreneurship is about executing on a good idea.  The idea isn’t enough.  It’s the start.  What we do with it defines our success or failure.  Applied social and behavioral science informs the best execution.  But I also bring the “insider’s view” developed from my experience.

How do I help you?

Science isn’t just for the lab or the university.  And it isn’t something that only the largest companies can afford.  Science is the time-tested method for making and monitoring the best decisions in our data-driven world.  It’s the way real people and real organizations can maximize potential and gain competitive advantage.


In one way or another, I’ve consulted since the 1980s.  I bring a rare set of skills that most businesses just don’t need everyday.  But they are crucial for setting strategy, guiding operations, or implementing procedures.  They are critical for defining identity, monitoring change, or making important business decisions.  My combination of skills across social and behavioral science, data collection and analysis, information technology, and practical implementation give me unique insight into the solution for your most pressing business challenge.


Coaching is just consulting outside of a formal organization.  The same skills that build successful organizations also build successful people, relationships and groups.  I bring a rare blend of two perspectives to my coaching: the outside view of a scientist and the inside view of lived experience.  The outside view helps me see the trends and context of your challenges.  The inside view helps me see what goes unnoticed to an outsider and fuels my compassion born of shared experience.


As a writer for decades, I specialize in persuasively communicating technical insights in ways that the lay public can understand and appreciate.  Data, science and technology can be daunting, but they don’t have to be.  In fact, if you understand them, they can make the difference between success and failure.  I make them clear, engaging and useful for practical decisions.


I grew up as an actor and musician.  As a lifelong performer, I speak on a variety of topics blending my expertise with science, data and technology, and my life experiences.  Science gives us the “big picture” in a way nothing else can, but real experiences drive home the meaning and humanity.  I believe that we can entertain and enlighten at the same time.


I’ve been a teacher since 1997.  As a university professor for 15 years, my training seminars draw from my experience teaching 164 sections of 30 different courses across the social, behavioral, organizational and policy sciences.  Half of those were classes in the technical skills necessary to collect, analyze, interpret and use human data.  I also draw from my years of practical experience as a manager and entrepreneur.

Who do I help?
  • small to medium sized business
  • nonprofits, not-for-profits, service & support organizations, government agencies
  • associations, affinity & interest groups

I team or subcontract with other select consultants to tackle specific jobs that are enhanced through our complimentary skills.

  • entrepreneurs, small business owners, consultants, coaches & freelancers
  • those with chronic conditions & their care givers or support networks

Why them?  These are where my personal and professional experience, expertise, education and interest converge.  And, while they may look very different on the surface, they are each at the “edges” of normal personal and business operation.  There aren’t well-established models and they share a certain element of “making it up” as they go along.

What else might you find interesting?

My Businesses:

TeraCrunch (Co-Founder & VP, Decision Science & Solutions): a Big Data Predictive Analytics company, focusing on marketing (complete client relationship) and risk analytics solutions
DART Research (Founder & CEO): a research and development company focused on bringing social and behavioral science technologies to market
Real Pirates of Kansas City (Founding Partner & Quartermaster): historically accurate pirates for every occasion
And, of course, my consulting, research, speaking and training based on my decades of experience, education and expertise.

My Offerings:

Success ADAPTS: the science of making & monitoring better decisions in action
Finding Our Fit: why your world goes wrong and how to fix it
Human Data Science:
the researcher’s guide to behavioral, organizational, social & market research in the digital age
the consumer’s guide to making sense of data
A Real Pirate’s Life:
business lessons from history’s most extreme entrepreneurs
life lessons form the original American revolutionaries
No Place in Cyberspace: the story of our digitally hyper-connected world from punch cards to the cloud