Let happiness support innovation

Business leaders who believe that ideas from their staff will give them a competitive advantage may do well to sign up to Action for Happiness, the recently launched social change movement aimed at creating a happier society.

More than three-quarters of the 500 UK business leaders who participated in a recent survey by Management Today said that “effective idea-generation amongst staff was a key area of focus in outstretching competitors”.  Yet currently, many staff are “working in an increasingly isolated manner, leading to a low of collaboration and idea-generation”. 

It seems that business leaders need to listen to what positive psychology researchers have been saying for some time – when staff are unhappy they can get stuck, become predictable and withdraw from others, whereas, positivity can boost idea generation.  Indeed, happiness experts like Professor Barbara Fredrickson have shown that genuine positive emotions have a ‘broaden and build’ affect, ie they open people up to being more creative, resilient and optimistic, help them learn new information, develop problem-solving skills, make new social connections and strengthen existing social bonds.

So if leaders want more innovation perhaps it’s time they looked at ways of boosting staff happiness.  For starters they could look at the ‘GREAT DREAM’ list that Action for Happiness has developed and consider how to translate it in to the workplace:

Giving: Do things for others
Relating: Connect with people
Exercising: Take care of your body
Appreciating: Notice the world around
Trying out: Keep learning new things

Direction: Have goals to look forward to
Resilience: Find ways to bounce back
Emotion: Take a positive approach
Acceptance: Be comfortable with who you are
Meaning: Be part of something bigger

If you have a great dream of having a happier, productive and more creative work culture please email gill@unisonmedia.co.uk







+ personal email from Alex Whitson at Haymarket 13/04/11

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