Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Taking Happiness Seriously

In preparation for our upcoming webinar on The Happiness Metric we've been doing a lot of research into how the world's leading thinkers are addressing the issue. Earlier this Spring, the Earth Institute published the first World Happiness Report for the United Nations. It makes for fascinating reading, and underlines how important happiness is and how new science shows how we can measure and use it.

From the introduction:
Most people agree that societies should foster the happiness of their citizens. The U.S. Founding Fathers recognized the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. British philosophers talked about the greatest good for the greatest number. Bhutan has famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than Gross National Product. China champions a harmonious society.
Yet most people probably believe that happiness is in the eye of the beholder, an individual’s choice, something to be pursued individually rather than as a matter of national policy. Happiness seems far too subjective, too vague, to serve as a touchstone for a nation’s goals, much less its policy content. That indeed has been the traditional view. Yet the evidence is changing this view rapidly.
A generation of studies by psychologists, economists, pollsters, sociologists, and others has shown that happiness, though indeed a subjective experience, can be objectively measured, assessed, correlated with observable brain functions, and related to the characteristics of an individual and the society. Asking people whether they are happy, or satisfied with their lives, offers important information about the society. It can signal underlying crises or hidden strengths. It can suggest the need for change.
You can read the whole report here, it's worth it, and you can sign up for the Happiness Metric webinar, on how you can use happiness to improve you and your team's performance here.

1 comment:

Scott Crabtree said...

Good to see more people taking the business of happiness seriously. At the Game Developers Conference this year I presented "Prioritize People Over Process: The Science of Happy Agile Teams" (as part of Clinton Keith's agile workshop day.) If you would like to chat about all this, please contact me through my site
--Scott Crabtree