Today I was walking around Northern Boulevard under the blazing sun, crossing to the Sport Authority “sales” tent, when I had a kind of “aha.”
At home I’d just read a new blog post by Alistair Cockburn on Agile in Management and Leadership, and was thinking about everything I’d learned at the Agile Conference in Salt Lake City the week of August 8. I passed a family with two young giggling kids, speaking a Himalayan dialect of some sort to each other, when suddenly occurred to me: the Bhutanese are onto something much bigger with their focus on Gross National Happiness (“GNH”). Might seem kind of obvious, but they’ve given themselves a purpose not based on money.
In case you are not familiar with GNH, here’s a quick summary. The previous King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, realizing that his country would not soon become the richest in the world (particularly since the nation is one of the poorest), focused his people’s purpose on something else: Gross National Happiness. The team from the Centre for Bhutan Studies, inspired by the direction, developed a sophisticated survey instrument with Karma Ura and Canadian Michael Pennock for measuring happiness in a population. It is now the official direction the Bhutanese government, newly democratic, passed as a policy. The Government is taking every step to ensure that the GNH “precedes over economic prosperity.” (more…)