Enforcing compliance with footwear removal instructions at mosques

In 2017, under a behavioral science course it jointly ran with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), B4D partnered with the Education City Mosque in Qatar for an experiment aimed at increasing compliance with the mosque’s footwear removal instructions among visitors. Applying priming, salience, social norms and hassle factor principles, the four interventions used behaviorally informed and visual cues for compliance. Culturally relevant imagery, shoeprint and footprint stickers, rollup banners and floor markings saliently demarcated and drew attention to the mosque’s shoe-free zones and rules. Salient footprints proved to be most effective, while social norms had a modest impact in improving visitors’ adherence to the mosque’s footwear removal instructions.


Minimizing food waste at large social functions

In September 2019, B4Development partnered with the Qatar Green Building Council at Qatar Foundation for an experiment that tested the impact of smaller plate sizes on food waste. During an event by the Eco-Schools Sustainability Program, B4D randomly assigned a group of students to two buffet tables, the first of which (control) carried 27 cm-diameter plates, and the second (treatment), 25 cm-diameter plates. A bin placed next to each table measured the volume of leftover food that was generated by 33 normal-sized plates and 37 smaller-sized plates.  Directional results showed that a 2-cm decrease in plate diameter can lead to a 30% decrease in average food waste per person.

food waste



Minimizing food waste in casual dining setups

In 2017, under a behavioral science course it jointly ran with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), B4D partnered with casual dining chain Vapiano for an experiment aimed at minimizing food waste among the restaurant’s patrons. Two-sided tokens, distributed across Vapiano’s dining tables, offered customers a choice between taking away or leaving their leftover food. Phased across active choice and default stages, the experiment measured patrons’ leftover takeaways both when they were given a choice to opt for them, and when the decision was made on their behalf. Within the 11 days of the active choice nudge, 76% of Vapiano customers on average requested to take away their leftover food, a jump of 23% over the baseline period. During the following eight days of the default nudge, this number stood at 88% of customers, a notable 42% increase compared with the baseline period.

Reducing demand for plastic cutlery with take-out food orders

In 2017, under a behavioral science course it jointly ran with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), B4D partnered with casual dining chain Vapiano for an experiment aimed at minimizing delivery customers’ demand for and use of plastic cutlery with their take-out orders. The intervention used verbal prompts by Vapiano’s call center staff before customers’ order calls concluded, using three behavioral triggers:  priming (“To protect the environment, we encourage lower usage of plastic”), active choice (“Do you need plastic cutlery with your order?”), and ego. Within a month of the intervention’s launch, only 72 out of Vapiano’s 174 take-out customers requested plastic cutlery with their orders, a decrease of 59% compared with the baseline period. Additional analysis also suggested that verbal prompts decreased the number of cutlery sets customers requested in relation to the number of portions they ordered by 15 percent.



cafeteria students fruits

Improving daily food habits and choices among SC employees

B4Development partnered with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) for an experiment aimed at nudging SC employees in its Al-Bidda cafeteria to include more fruits and fresh juices in their daily diets. The pre-post experiment comprised three interventions that used channel factor, salience-placement and reminder effect techniques. The first relocated the fridge displaying packaged fruits to the beginning of the food catering line. The second itemized and packaged fruits near the cafeteria’s cashier registers. The third introduced behaviorally informed call-to-action posters at prime locations (“Stay Healthy! Ask for our Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice”).  Compared with the baseline period, the introduction of behaviourally modified signs almost tripled the average daily number of juices sold in the SC cafeteria, while the relocation of the display fridge led to an eight-fold increase in the daily average fruit sales in volume terms.


Increasing purchases of fruits and vegetables among grocery shoppers in Qatar

B4Development partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School and Qatari supermarket chain Al Meera Consumer Goods (Al Meera) to encourage grocery shoppers in Qatar make healthier food purchases. The pilot RCT (Randomized Control Trial) was launched by B4D across eight Al Meera branches. Treatment branches were paired in twos under one of two behavioral interventions. The first displayed repackaged fruits and vegetables by the checkout counter, at a prime impulse purchase moment before the end of shoppers’ grocery runs. The second utilized shopping trolleys as salient priming channels, with colorful posters on the bottom and sides of trolleys visually dividing customers’ shopping carts into a partition for fruits and vegetables, and another for other healthy items.  An informative salient poster along the inside front wall of the trolleys also guided shoppers on how to place the items. The first intervention led to an increase in the sales value of select fruits and vegetables per receipt, while the second did not.

fruits and vegetables 2


fruits and vegetables

Growing fruit & healthy food consumption among university students

In 2017, under a behavioral science course it jointly ran with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), B4D conducted an experiment to promote healthier food choices among students, faculty and staff in select QF cafes. The first intervention used a behaviorally modified poster (which read “Stimulate Your Memory” and featured imagery of a smiley face formed by fruits), which led to increase in total sales of fruits by almost 30% in comparison with the baseline period. The second intervention, using a verbal reminder prompt by the cashier (“Would you like fruits with your order?”), was ineffective, as it led to a 19% decrease in the total sales of fruits in comparison with the baseline period.


Promoting tissue paper conservation among SC employees

B4Development partnered with the SC for two interventions aimed at minimizing paper tower consumption among employees in office restrooms. The first intervention used a salient tip sheet placed on mirrors above restroom sinks, highlighting simple visual cues and instructions for employees to dry their hands with only one tissue paper. The second intervention placed reminder posters on paper dispensers, nudging employees to conserve tissue paper at the moment they were most likely to waste it.  Overall, the interventions led to an average decrease of 56% and 48% in paper consumption in female and male restrooms, respectively.

tissue paper conservation



Promoting physical activity among mall visitors in Qatar

B4Development and Harvard Business School launched an experiment at Doha’s City Center Mall in Qatar, aimed at promoting physical activity among mall visitors. The pre-post intervention was launched at the mall’s main entrance to redirect footfall away from the mall’s escalator and towards its stair lanes. Salient stickers, featuring manmade monuments from around the world, visually gamified mall visitors’ journey up the stairs, challenging them to reach the top – the higher their climb up the stairs, the taller the monuments and structures. The mall entrance’s four stair lanes featured two sets of stickers, the first depicting international monuments and the second showing local monuments, in alternating sequence. During the intervention, local monuments were switched with international monuments and vice versa at each lane, to test the effect of cultural relevance on visitors’ activity levels in the gamified experiment. Throughout the five-week intervention period, electronic people counters monitored and recorded footfall data for both the escalator and each of the stair lanes.


Increasing hygiene dispenser use at Georgetown University

B4Development conducted a two-phase intervention with Georgetown University in Qatar to promote hand sanitizer consumption among the university’s cafeteria patrons. The first phase featured salient footprint stickers as visual cues, placed around the hygiene dispenser to attract the attention of people entering and exiting the cafeteria, as well as of patrons in the dining area. In the second phase, the dispenser and footprint stickers were relocated to a salient placement next to the cafeteria’s cash register, using the reminder effect on cafeteria consumers exiting the food station. Among cafeteria users, the second phase was most effective, driving an increase of 18.6% in their hand sanitizer use, while the first phase was not.  However, additional analysis B4D ran on cafeteria passers-by suggested that first-phase salient footprints led to an increase on the use of hand sanitizer for this segment by 82%, compared with the baseline period.