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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

211. Corporate Social Responsibility Programs (That Work) with Wiam Hasanain

Today I am very excited to introduce you to Wiam Hasanain. Wiam is a seasoned social impact consultant, with 20 years of experience operating at the intersection of policy reform, societal development, behavior change, and civic engagement. She is a problem solver, utilizing data-driven insights to create practical approaches to resolving pressing social challenges on a range of projects and industries. She built her foundation at Unilever, and over the last decade, she has spearheaded nationwide programs in the areas of unemployment, health, financial literacy, sports, and career planning. She has established the structure and strategy for nudge units, set their national agendas, and designed behavioral interventions to serve public policy. 

After consulting with Bain and Company Middle East she moved onto a senior role in her native Saudi Arabia; leading the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) function at a Mckinsey subsidiary and creating nationwide community programs. From there, she spent a decade as a partner at the foremost boutique consultancies in the GCC, leading social impact and behavior change efforts. Her passion is advising on behaviorally informed policies across sectors. Wiam believes strongly in spreading knowledge about the implementation of behavioral change across industries and has published a variety of articles on the practical application of behavioral science and has an MBA from UC Berkeley as well as a master’s from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In continuing to have a more global view of the representation here on The Brainy Business, Wiam is our first guest from Saudi Arabia. I’m excited to share some of her work with you on a specific CSR project on the show today.

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IN A RUSH?

HERE'S A 2 MINUTE TIP.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • [00:40] Today I am very excited to introduce you to Wiam Hasanain. Wiam is a seasoned social impact consultant, with 20 years of experience operating at the intersection of policy reform, societal development, behavior change, and civic engagement.
  • [01:58] Her passion is advising on behaviorally informed policies across sectors.
  • [04:27] Wiam shares about herself, her background, and how she found herself in this space. 
  • [07:30] She is from Saudi Arabia and has spent the majority of her life there. 
  • [08:16] She worked with a client on a corporate responsibility program that focused on helping the youth in Saudi Arabia find their career path. 
  • [10:41] They agreed that they could help open the youths’ eyes to other careers that were out there as opposed to the traditional STEM careers. 
  • [12:04] Their project was such a success that it ran for three years in a row and kept growing each year. 
  • [14:29] It is really nice for her to see how the social norm has changed and know that they were part of this change. 
  • [16:31] The parents along with the career counselors had to work together to really help the students bridge the intention to action gap. It was also important for the parents to see that these other jobs were acceptable as well. 
  • [18:20] The parents had a different hang-up than the youth. (Know all your audiences and plan accordingly!)
  • [19:55] Wiam shares how they reduced sludge and friction in their project and made things easier. 
  • [21:41] They had over double-digit changes in their perceptions of certain careers. The short-term response was very promising. 
  • [22:27] An RCT is a randomized control trial.  
  • [24:03] You are always adding sludge and removing sludge in various ways.
  • [24:54] Wiam shares how they added some sludge to help with the problem they were trying to solve. They made it difficult for students to leave without going through all the exhibits (to help increase exposure to careers that wouldn’t have been a focus previously). 
  • [26:57] They utilized augmented reality in some of the exhibits so that would be where the majority of the students were drawn (and these were typically for the non-traditional careers to broaden horizons). The most desired careers were also at the end, so you had to have some exposure to the other careers no matter what. 
  • [28:08] There are times when customer experience, behavioral science, and corporate responsibility all come together so be more concerned with your end objective. 
  • [30:18] Whether you think about it or not you are influencing the decisions that people make with the way you put the booths in the space even – so you should definitely think about it!
  • [31:43] Don’t think anything is too small to be considered a small step towards behavioral change. Be thoughtful and intentional. 
  • [32:52] Melina’s three tips for setting up your own experiment are to keep it small, be thoughtful, and test often. 
  • [34:29] Melina shares her closing thoughts.
  • [35:41] My upcoming book, What Your Employees Need and Can’t Tell You, is now on presale and will be in a bookstore near you on October 11, 2022.
  • [36:21] If you enjoy the experience I’ve provided here for you, will you share about it? That could mean leaving a rating/review or sharing the episode with a friend (or 10!)

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