How Collaboration is Growing Behavioral Science: Learnings from BX Arabia

BX Arabia is a regional behavioral insights conference that started in 2018 to emphasize the application of behavioral science in the Global South. Kurt and Tim were fortunate to be invited to moderate at the latest event, affording them the opportunity to have conversations with some of the region’s most amazing BeSci thinkers. This episode highlights some of the unique insights from these conversations, with input from the following experts:

  • Faisal Naru: Executive Director of the Policy Innovation Unit in the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
  • Dr. Ahmed Al Zahrani: Minister Deputy and Chair of G20 as well as the Executive Director of the Riyadh Behavioral Insight Center in the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development in Saudi Arabia.
  • Saud Al Rakhayes: Founder and Senior Behavioral Strategist at The Behavior Change.
  • Aditya Jagati: Leader of the Busara Center’s offices in India.
  • Wiam Hasanain: Behavioral scientist and social impact advisor based in Jetta, Saudi Arabia.
  • Nabil Saleh: Vice President Strategy at Nudge Lebanon.
  • Ivo Vlaev: Professor of Behavioral Science at Warwick Business School, UK.

Many of the examples of behavioral science discussed highlight that the Global South has some unique needs in the field. However, an overarching theme is that context matters! The root of successful behavioral science ideas come from encompassing the surrounding culture and environment.

BX Arabia was founded by Fadi Makki, who is also the leader of B4 Development in Doha, Qatar. He left us with these inspirational words:

Unlearn all the old habits that are anchored in intuition, and then embrace, evidence-based policies and tools such as experimentation. ~ Fadi Makki Share on X


(2:14) What makes BX Arabia unique?

(5:58) The growth of behavioral science agencies around the world.

(8:13) How behavioral science is being integrated into public policy globally.

(11:46) Why good intentions aren’t enough to deal with wicked problems.

(23:36) The need for more behavioral scientists in the Global South.

(26:25) How behavioral science improved traffic flow in Beruit.

(31:15) The success of weight loss programs using behavioral insights.

(36:50) The large-scale nudges that are being studied at the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Other Episodes You Will Enjoy

Jeff Madoff, Episode 272:  How To Turn Your Creative Dreams Into Reality: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/creativity-jeff-madoff/

John Bargh, Episode 248: Do We Control Situations or Do Situations Control Us? https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/control-situations-with-john-bargh/

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves

AIRDATE: January 16, 2022 EPISODE 273

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How Collaboration is Growing Behavioral Science: Learnings from BX Arabia

Featured Guest

Tim Houlihan and Kurt Nelson PhD