Of course WellBeing matters – but lets be honest about what makes a difference

13 Apr

Its dishonest to completely rubbish the ‘Happiness/Wellbeing ‘ agenda ( although the happiness word does sound a bit happy clappy). And there is a need to be serious about what creates a culture that nurtures well-being. The Young Foundation Report on Measuring ‘Happiness’ is helpful in talking about a number of factors that influence Wellbeing including income, family and friends and wider social connections -but it lacks edge by being silent about the levels of stress people suffer when anxious about their jobs, safety and future prosperity.

It would be heartening if  politicians would heed the voice of smaller countries such as Iceland where valuing people is at the heart of their policies – and where the popular vote against paying back the banks has won out twice and counts. I think we have a lot to learn from smaller countries and some city regions where governance bodies are looking to incorporate in people’s wellbeing into their economic thinking and reflect on the costs to local people of paying too much attention to the financial markets and too little to building the local resilience .

It seems me to be that we need to talk more about innovative governance and systems that will support locality innovation as well as service innovations. It is now generally accepted across business and government that innovation policy must attract innovators and innovations rather than decree where they should be – but innovations cannnot sustain themselves without connections to local commissioners and contractors and a governance frame and ecosystems that  welcomes when innovations they add public value rather than undermine people and the very relationships that sustain places. 

I am getting more and more interested in places where a new eco-system is emerging – whether in a country, in a rural region or in the city regions – we need more examples of systemic and place-based innovation -where are the emerging new forms of local governance; not just in the UK please send a comment.



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