Thursday, April 06, 2017

Why Should We Measure Happiness?

Our team is currently working on measuring happiness using the body sensors of a smartwatch. In particular we have developed "happimeter" software to measure individual happiness, and show the influence of individuals on team happiness. Our premise is that measuring and giving feedback about happiness will increase individual and team happiness.

When I describe our work to potential sponsors and other interested people, at some point in the discussion invariably the question comes up: WHY measuring happiness?

When I then answer that our goal is to better understand what the determinants of happiness are to increase individual and team happiness, I get one of two reactions:

Particularly in the US, most of the time, people will say "ah, I understand,  if you have happier people working with you, their productivity will go up, and the company will make more money." In other words, the capitalist's reaction is: "make people happier, so my company makes more money".

The second reaction, which I experience more seldom is that people will say "ah, that's cool, let's understand how happiness works so we can make our people happier". In other words, being happy is the main goal in itself.

I know which reaction I like better. What do you think?