Summercamp 2013 has been on gone now, and what a day it was! We’ll be back very soon with 2014’s plans. To be one of the first to grab tickets, sign up here:
We were delighted to welcome TED speaker Nic Marks to the Happy Startup Summercamp in September 2013. Nic is the brains behind the globally recognised Happy Planet Index, a statistical approach to measuring and implementing world happiness. He recently founded a project called Happiness Works, providing online tools for happier workplaces, which he speaks more about in our Q&A. Nic gave us all an incredible talk on why happiness is a serious business, and why you should be aiming towards a happier path to profits – even Wired covered it.
Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on at the moment
I have recently founded a start up called Happiness Works. We are building online tools to help create happier (& higher performing) workplaces. This all builds on the work I have done with nef (the new economics foundation) over the last decade on why governments should take well-being seriously as an issue and create robust measures. Probably the work I am best known for is the Happy Planet Index and you can see my TED talk about my work here.
What or who inspired you to get where you are today?
For whatever reason I have always wanted to tackle the big questions – what is the purpose of society? – how do we respond to persistent social inequalities and climate change? – you know the BIG questions! My first inspiration was a Chilean ecological economist called Manfred Max Neef – who called himself a barefoot economist. Then another thinker whose work I find remarkable is called Stafford Beer – he was very influential in a field called cybernetics – basically applied systems thinking. Both Manfred and Stafford look like old testament prophets!
What changes are you driving in the world?
I firmly believe that organizations will only be happy when they are creating socially useful products and services as well as being great places to work. It is this alignment between personal and societal ‘good’ that I am very keen to explore, develop and promote through my work.
Tell us briefly what your talk was about at the summercamp in 2013
Happiness! Why happiness is just so darn great! What are the evolutionary roots of our positive emotions and how by making happiness your business model you can create a great organisation for you, your employees, your customers, your investors and even the wider world
What one piece of advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and change makers?
Take people’s emotional experience seriously – our emotions are sophisticated intricate feedback mechanisms which give us very valuable information about the world around us and the world within us.