Global Wellbeing and GNH Lab

Key learnings: 

"I think [the Lab] has made me realize that true systems transformation really starts more

Key process elements: 

“Our gross national product… counts air pollution and cigarette advertising… special locks more

Success looks like: 

Global Wellbeing and GNH Lab Prototypes:

GNH in Business Lab

The purpose of this prototype is to change the way we frame and conduct our economy from “us” versus “them” to a business value proposition which builds community by better serving society and nature and engaging the creativity and potential of all citizens.

Prototype collaborators described their shared values and goal as follows:  

We believe that individuals driven by their life purpose build communities based on compassion, which then transforms larger systems. Our goal is to develop the processes and practices that support large number of business leaders and entrepreneurs. To start, this Lab will prototype deeply personal, transformational leadership forums with dozens of top business leaders in various countries, as well as widely accessible workshops and events for hundreds or thousands of community entrepreneurs. We will develop a learning field and collective platform to share up, down, and across the prototypes.

  • BALLE, (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), a network of 50,000+ entrepreneurs and investors, is piloting a Well-Being in Business Lab with the idea that it is time to move beyond business that is ‘less bad’, beyond CSR, beyond competing to be the most sustainable, and toward humanity at our best. What would innovation in business look life if we, as business leaders, came from the position that we really are – all of us – in this together? How would we transform our businesses? The Well Being in Business Labs are designed to support business leaders in tapping into a deeper level of our humanity, of who we really are, and who we want to be a s a society – and then applying this to their businesses. Lab processes, tools and online portal are being documented for widespread use.
  • Eileen Fisher Inc. is using individual transformation as a gateway into organizational and eco-system-wide transformation. Thirty change makers within the company, including the entire top leadership team, have conducted two workshops on this subject. A subset of the group took a learning journey to Brazil to learn from Natura Cosmeticos' innovative leadership methods - with the goal to create new environments for change within the company. An additional initiative on applying GNH metrics to business has been formed and is in its early stages.
  • In Oregon, Governor Kitzhaber's health care transformation efforts may be a powerful example of how emphasizing outcomes and strategic metrics can bring transformation to large industry groups and economic sectors. Requiring the health care sector to deliver improved health rather than just administer medical services is resulting in profound shifts and significant cost savings in the health care sector in Oregon. Additionally, conversations about measuring what matters and the Genuine Progress Indicator in particular have been held with the Oregon Business Council Leadership and several key Oregon-based businesses. Finally, work is underway to integrate effective, triple bottom line metrics in the Oregon Ten Year Budget Plan.

Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) In the States Prototype (USA)

The purpose of this prototype is to catalyze movement toward more effective, triple bottom line economic metrics and realignment of capital investments in the U.S by leveraging state-level GPI initiatives. It aspires to help the U.S. culture and people to heal from the problems stemming from consumer society.  

  • Demos hosted its second GPI in the States Summit in June 2013. Ten months earlier, its first summit attracted four states. Their goal for the second summit was to add an additional 6-8 states. Impressively, the second summit convened representatives from twenty US states. The keynote briefing included Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Transformation Hub (Brazil)

The intention is to create a “hub”, located in Brazil, where systemic changes in the direction of a more sustainable, equitable and just society will be prototyped and taken into practice. The Hub will adopt a multi-sector, cross-disciplinary, and multi-intelligence approach, linking science, societal transformation and mindfulness into a coherent framework of awareness based action research. This hub, besides primarily orienting its initiatives to supporting the desired and necessary sustainability transition processes within the Brazilian society, is also part of a network of other similarly oriented organizations, located elsewhere in the world (Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Europe, US, etc.), with which it will Interact and collaborate. 

  • The place of the Hub already exists. Currently, stakeholder conversations with founding partners such as Natura, the Brazil government and with academic partners are being conducted. At the same time, conversations with international Hub partners are also making progress. 

Whose Development Prototype (India)

A collaboration between Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Oxfam India, the purpose of this prototype is to change the way Indian policy makers think about and pursue development. The intent is to create a shift from a model that prioritizes rapid economic growth (with little regard to its quality or distribution) to an economy that prioritizes the wellbeing of citizens and protects, rather than exploits, the environment. At root of this project is an interest in enhancing the wellbeing and development aspirations of young people in India.

  • The Presencing Institute facilitated a workshop with SEWA Master Trainers from Septemeber 15th-18th, 2013, at SEWA headquarters in Ahmedabad, India. Read more here.

GNH Centre Prototype (Bhutan)

The GNH Centre’s purpose is to manifest in living practice Bhutan’s unique balanced development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which seeks to integrate equitable and sustainable socio-economic development with environmental conservation. 

  • The Mind and Life Institute (MLI) has embarked on a new initiative to develop a pedagogy and curriculum in ‘secular ethics’ as part of its mission to promote human flourishing around the globe. Recent conversations with the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Centre in Bhutan have revealed a shared focus on compassion as the basis for ethical conduct, and an intention to explore how we can better nurture compassion in education and other social institutions

Global Wellbeing and GNH Lab from Presencing Institute on Vimeo.

Group posts

GNH goes local | Amsterdam | The story continues


GNH goes local | Amsterdam update


Around the World of Wellbeing in Eighteen Web Links!


GNH goes local | Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Submitted by Adam Yukelson
Moderated by Presencing Institute
Presencing Institute, GIZ Global Leadership Academy, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Big idea: 

In partnership with the GIZ Global Leadership Academy, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Presencing Institute has initiated a living laboratory exploring new ways of measuring and implementing wellbeing in societies worldwide.