If you care about soccer, behavioral science, and public health, began Julia Dhar, Managing Director and Partner at the Boston Consulting Group, this is the panel for you. Behavioral science provides a rich understanding of human behavior and research that helps people step into the best version of themselves. In the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Dhar wondered how Qatar has used the platform to build inclusion and encourage certain types of behaviors.
According to Dr. Fadi Makki, Director B4Development at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the country’s focus on legacy has helped it to address issues that persist beyond the World Cup, like capacity building. These are complex challenges, so planners have practiced and trained for the journey of fans with behavioral science. The FIFA World Cup will have health at its heart; to promote good habits including food, 30% of food in the stadium will be healthy options.
Soccer is a force for positive change, said Jason Roberts, Director of Development, Concacaf. Access to the sport is at the core, working on the Next Play program and with Generation Amazing to encourage young people and with ministries of education to improve access to sport. Looking more closely at the science, Prof. Saad Omer, Director of the Institute for Global Health at Yale University, noted the dual epidemics of communicable and noncommunicable disease, explaining that widely-watched sporting events, both domestic and international, can be good laboratories to engage people from intention to action. There is an increasing opportunity on social media not only to be good listeners but interveners. It is possible to move great numbers of people with little investment.
Dhar explained that behavioral scientists must begin with values and speak to people’s minds and hopes before material change occurs. Makki highlighted some of the lessons Qatar has learned during the planning phase for the World Cup. Application of behavioral insights needs to be integrated in the early stages, in terms of streamlining insights, capacity building, and testing and trialing. Dhar closed the session with a reminder that everyone can use behavioral science to become the best version of themselves.
“We think it’s a profound opportunity to actually bring together and bring to light the role that behavioral science can play in the world.”
Julia Dhar, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group
“One area for innovation is to move people from intention to action as viewers.”
Prof. Saad Omer, Director, Institute for Global Health, Yale University
“We focus on capacity building so we bring behavioral science to governments in the region, to NGOs, and to organizations.”
Dr. Fadi Makki, Director B4Development, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy
“Once we see the value in access to the sport, the real benefits are the tools and learnings that they get through education.”
Jason Roberts, Director of Development, Concacaf