Metrics Not Mood
If you’re thinking the study of happiness and well-being seems flaky, you’re missing a major trend that’s beginning to influence a number of global economies.
The Efficacy of Fun
The Currency of Community
Brands are certainly learning to leverage well-being in the form of corporate social responsibility known as shared value. While bringing happiness to consumers via a product or service is not unique, bringing happiness to a community is just coming intro widespread acceptance. “We want to set in motion an upward spiral of confidence,” stated Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in his Letter to America last August. This included the company’s Create Jobs for USA program that has seeded $5 million to provide capital grants for under served community businesses. “The idea of the initiative is to create happiness coming from economic well being,” states Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer for Starbucks. The company also recently announced its Store Partnership Model where pilot community organizations in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood and Los Angeles’ Crenshaw neighborhood will share in the profits of a Starbucks store. A minimum of $100,000 for each organization will seed programs geared toward job and life skill development, positive learning environments and overall health and wellness in the community. “We’re in the happiness and people business,” says Brotman, referring to the shared value mentality that a social business can be generous and profitable at the same time. “A thriving or happy community is something that’s good for everybody.”
When Actions Create Identity
In about three to five years it won’t matter if you’d rather not project your actions to the world — your virtual footprint will simply be too hard to conceal. Your preferences combined with the data generated by external forces will in essence make everything, including objects, inherently interactive.
Inspiration Versus Ignorance
Some pundits say that privacy is disappearing, but that doesn’t mean we should let our identity be dictated by outside forces. Unfortunately, people are largely unaware of the repercussions of giving away personal information as we enter a virtual era where information can be accessed by so many parties so easily. “People are not fully aware of the data they generate and how that’s coupled with Artificial Intelligence learning algorithms. It’s creating a different social and economic order and we’re in the midst of that happening now,” states John Clippinger, Founder and Executive Director of idcubed.org and a Scientist at the MIT Media Lab Human Dynamics Group where he is conducting research on trust frameworks for protecting and sharing personal information. He feels the inevitable onset of ubiquitous data meshing with synthetic biology and people’s social graphs can be a positive evolution if the whole process takes place in the open.