This briefing paper introduces the approach to wellbeing assessment being developed and applied by Wellbeing and Poverty Pathways in its three-year research project in Zambia and India. This is a revised and updated version (original April 2011). Key elements of the approach are: • A multi-dimensional model of wellbeing: Wellbeing is made up of seven domains that span material, relational and personal factors • A new concept of Inner Wellbeing: Subjective perspectives focus on 'Inner Wellbeing': what people feel and think they can do and be • An integrated, mixed method approach: Measures of how people are doing objectively complement Inner Wellbeing assessment. Qualitative data and reflection balance quantitative measures and analysis
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The evidence in this whitepaper report has been drawn from three distinct perspectives: academic research, research by consultancies and organisational case studies. There are small case study vignettes in the main body of the report, but more detailed case studies for each of these are available on this website. This paper sets out the evidence for the linkage between employee engagement and wellbeing, and the consequential impact on individual and organisational performance. Engage for Success started to investigate the importance of the links between engagement and wellbeing because of a groundswell of requests for us to examine this rich subject area. This report is written for an audience of chief executives and HR directors as well as wellbeing and employee engagement specialists – whether they may work in-house or as external consultants. That said, we hope this will be a useful paper for all managers and leaders, regardless of whether they work in public, private or not-for-profit sectors, and regardless of organisational size.
This report explores the pressures on the global food system between now and 2050. It identifies the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to 9 billion or more can be fed in a fair and sustainable way. The Project has identified and analysed five key challenges for the future. Addressing these in a pragmatic way that promotes resilience to shocks and future uncertainties will be vital if major stresses to the food system are to be anticipated and managed. The five challengesare: A. Balancing future demand and supply sustainably – to ensure that food supplies are affordable. B. Ensuring that there is adequate stability in food supplies – and protecting the most vulnerable from the volatility that does occur. C. Achieving global access to food and ending hunger. This recognises that producing enough food in the world so that everyone can potentially be fed is not the same thing as ensuring food security for all D. Managing the contribution of the food system to the mitigation of climate change. E. Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services while feeding the world. These last two challenges recognise that food production already dominates much of the global land surface and water bodies, and has a major impact on all the Earth’s environmental systems.
The coming decades will throw up huge challenges and extraordinary uncertainty. As the world becomes increasingly inter-connected, we’ll cross thresholds in environmental, social and economic systems. Unforeseen events, so-called black swans, will happen. We do know the world population will grow, food production will be challenged, and the supply of some resources will struggle to keep up with demand. But opportunities are bound to emerge from these challenges. If we seize the opportunities we could produce a much more stable, equal and healthy society by 2050. We could provide well-being for everyone and for our planet.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) commissioned researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) to undertake analysis of Understanding Society data to develop the evidence base on the wellbeing impacts of cultural engagement and sport participation. This work gives us new evidence of the link between our policies and the social impacts of engagement in both sport and culture.
Our health needs as a nation are changing. Improvements in healthcare mean we are now living longer than ever, yet these advances also bring new challenges. At the same time, we are living in a society which places greater value on individual empowerment, blurring the traditional divide between professional ‘experts’ and passive service users. Patients are now recognised as experts in their own lives and conditions, with a valuable contribution to make in determining their support needs. All this is taking place against a backdrop of austerity and cuts to services, meaning that a radical rethink is required around service design and delivery. If patients are the experts on their service needs, why not engage these experts to help produce the services? Co-production of health and social services both reduces pressure on already stressed systems, while providing an increased sense of autonomy and wellbeing to the user. Commissioners and providers have a crucial role to play in promoting and funding the integration of asset-based approaches into service models so that they become the default way of working. Yet when it comes to complex needs, our research showed that many commissioners and professionals are unsure about the ability of service users to contribute to shaping the services they use, or to wider society. It is this evident gap between policy and practice that we set out to resolve.
This report was commissioned by the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS) to explore progress toward national indicators that measure both human well-being and economic success. These two measurements are interconnected, particularly as society moves further into the postindustrial knowledge and information age where economic success heavily depends on investment in human capacity development. In this study, we provide an overview of a broad range of existing measures that go beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to offer a more complete and accurate picture of how a society and its economy are faring. Particular attention is given to data still generally marginalized on the economic and social status of the majority of every society—women and children—and to how this correlates with both a nation's quality of life and its economic success. Based on a review of the literature and an analysis of major arguments and rationales for moving beyond GDP as a measure of national well-being, this report identifies 14 categories of national well-being. It synthesizes hundreds of indicators found in 28 reports1 that present alternative indices and systems of well-being into 79 indicators organized under these categories: poverty, health, education, employment, income and wealth, shelter, natural environment, political participation, civil society, economic participation, human rights, national stability and sustainability, family well-being, personal well-being. After examining existing indicators, we propose that new measures must assess more adequately the well-being of all segments of society—women, children, the elderly, and racial and other minorities. We recommend that particular attention be paid to the economic contributions of women, especially to their caring work in both the market and nonmarket economic sectors, as the degree to which a society invests in caring work is a prime indicator of the degree to which it invests in human capacity development.This report will be used to initiate conversations and action toward consensus around indicators that more accurately and comprehensively capture a nation's economic health and human well-being.
This paper is a call for better indicators of human well-being in nations around the world. We critique the inappropriate use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of national well-being, something for which it was never designed. We also question the idea that economic growth is always synonymous with improved well-being. Useful measures of progress and well-being must be measures of the degree to which society’s goals (i.e., to sustainably provide basic human needs for food, shelter, freedom, participation, etc.) are met, rather than measures of the mere volume of marketed economic activity, which is only one means to that end. Various alternatives and complements to GDP are discussed in terms of their motives, objectives, and limitations. Some of these are revised measures of economic activity while others measure changes in community capital—natural, social, human, and built—in an attempt to measure the extent to which development is using up the principle of community capital rather than living off its interest. We conclude that much useful work has been done; many of the alternative indicators have been used successfully in various levels of community planning. But the continued misuse of GDP as a measure of well-being necessitates an immediate, aggressive, and ongoing campaign to change the indicators that decision makers are using to guide policies and evaluate progress. We need indicators that promote truly sustainable development—development that improves the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystems. We end with a call for consensus on appropriate new measures of progress toward this new social goal.
This report assesses the impact of the crisis on the subjective well-being of Europeans. In 2011, GDP per capita in 22 out of the then 27 EU Member States was below 2008 levels, and unemployment rates were higher in 25 out of the 27. These indicators demonstrate worrying trends, but the report goes deeper, trying to answer various questions: What is the real impact on people’s lives? Who has been hit hardest? Where have there been positive wellbeing patterns? What explains the variation in well-being across Europe? How can policy increase or stem the fall in well-being in the future? It concludes that the crisis may not be affecting everyone’s well-being equally, nor all aspects of well-being. Well-being has fallen in many EU countries, remaining highest in northern countries. However, falls in wellbeing in many western EU countries have been matched by increases in eastern countries. Population groups with low well-being include those limited by disability or illness and unemployed people.
The UCL Museum Wellbeing Measures Toolkit is a set of scales of measurement used to assess levels of wellbeing arising from participation in museum and gallery activities that has been trialled across the UK. The Toolkit has been designed to help people involved in running in-house or outreach museum projects, evaluate the impact of this work on the psychological wellbeing of their audiences. The Toolkit is flexible in its application ad supports a ‘pick and mix’ approach. It can be used to evaluate the impact of a one-off activity or programme of events. The Toolkit was produced by researchers from University College London (UCL) Museums & Public Engagement and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Over the last 30 years, there has been a considerable growth in academic research on the causes of well-being. In general, this literature gives a fairly consistent picture of which factors have associations with subjective well-being. However, it is only in the last few years that there has been the corresponding level of interest from policymakers at national level. This is seen, for example, by the start of a programme of work at the UK Office for National Statistics, commissioned by the Prime Minister, on Measuring National Well-being. This document aims to provide the tools necessary to transfer this academic knowledge into a practical format for policymakers.
The analysis in this report provides an initial investigation into some of the differences between four overall monitoring questions introduced into ONS surveys from April 2011. The questions are analysed by key characteristics including those relating to what people told ONS was important in the Measuring National Well-being ‘National Debate’. It provides potential users of subjective well-being estimates from the large scale Integrated Household Survey (IHS), due for publication in July 2012, with an understanding of the way these questions are likely to perform. It also shows how the additional subjective well-being questions that were asked over this period compare with one another and to the four overall monitoring questions. Methodological testing and development continues and ONS wants to involve users at an early stage to allow feedback; not only on what these data show but also on how the results have been presented.
This review focuses on positive aspects of wellbeing, or flourishing. It examines evidence for the causes of positive wellbeing and also its consequences, including beneficial effects for many aspects of cognitive functioning, health and social relationships. The neurological basis of psychological wellbeing is examined and recent data on brain activation and neurochemical pathways presented. Individuals vary widely in their habitual level of psychological wellbeing, and there is evidence for a seminal role of social factors and the early environment in this process. It is often assumed that the drivers of wellbeing are the same as (but in the opposite direction to) the drivers of illbeing, but while this is true for some drivers, others have more selective effects. Future developments in the science of wellbeing and its application require a fresh approach – beyond targeting the alleviation of disorder to a focus on personal and interpersonal flourishing. A universal intervention approach is outlined which may both increase population flourishing and reduce common mental health problems.
While interest in wellbeing in international development is growing, there is little clarity on how to translate this into practice at programme and project level. This paper addresses this gap, reviewing a number of different approaches and proposing a new conceptual framework that builds on their strengths. The paper then sets out how the approach may be used in development research, monitoring and evaluation, reflecting on experience of piloting it in rural Zambia.
This milestone presents a pool of available indicators and indicator systems which go beyond the narrow concepts of national economic accounts as well as a structuring of the indicators and indices according to central areas of well-being. The milestone builds the basis for Task 202.2, where a subset of indicators will be selected based on different theoretical frameworks, e.g. services / functionings, needs. Some of the indicators will be included in the macro-economic 3 models in order to account for key dimensions of sustainability.
The WWWforEurope project intends to lay the analytical foundation for a new development strategy that enables a dynamic socio-ecological transition to high levels of employment, social inclusion, gender equity and environmental sustainability. This task arises from the wide gap between the broad formal acceptance of these goals and their troublesome realization. Citizens are not prepared to change their behavior, powerful policy instruments are missing, serious trade-off problems exist, and strong externalities drive a wedge between social and private goals. To solve these problems potential differences between the urgency and hierarchy of society’s goal on the one hand and individual’s goals on the other must be known. This is a near-blind spot in mainstream economics goals, while the widely chosen alternative, revealed preferences, necessarily has to assume that individuals come to their decisions “rationally” and are aware of longer-term consequences.
In Summer 2010, the Young Foundation worked with Wiltshire Council to develop new approaches to improve wellbeing and transform service delivery by removing the duplication that can arise where citizens interact with multiple agencies. The Young Foundation worked with community members, local service providers and vulnerable families in Bemerton Heath, a housing estate in Salisbury. Our work assessed levels of wellbeing as well as the capacity of the community to enhance their own wellbeing and to support vulnerable families on the estate. This report sets the findings from our work and includes recommendations on how the community and service providers can meet this ambitious agenda. The report also makes recommendations about how the learning can be applied to other areas of Wiltshire, as part of the Total Place agenda.
Wellbeing and resilience are linked: over time the quality of anyone’s life will depend on a certain amount of mental toughness. But are wellbeing and resilience two sides of the same coin or is it possible to be resilient but have low levels of wellbeing? If so, what characteristics are likely to lead to low levels of wellbeing and high resilience, or equally important, high levels of wellbeing but poor resilience. And what are the implications of this for policymakers? This think piece explores questions about the relationship between wellbeing and resilience. We set out our findings on the state of the nation: what aspects of our lives contribute to greater wellbeing and resilience, who is faring better and who is vulnerable. In doing this we have looked at both individuals and communities. Finally, this paper also looks at where wellbeing and resilience unravel – those individuals and communities that report high wellbeing but low resilience and those with low wellbeing but high resilience.
Adapting to Change asks what it is that makes communities not just bounce back from adversity but thrive when faced with long-term challenges. The Young Foundation pioneered research and practice in this area and has developed the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM), a new tool designed to help communities understand their underlying needs and capacities. This report, commissioned by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, seeks to build on this work, deepen our understanding of community resilience and bring our learning together in one place. Our research suggests that community resilience is built primarily through relationships, not just between members of the community but also between organisations, specifically between the voluntary sector, the local economy and the public sector. This report identifies both the factors that support resilience within communities and act as a barrier. We outline the practical measures that can be taken to bolster community resilience and explore how local and national governments, as well as communities themselves, can evaluate resilience.
Understanding the human mind and increasing individual happiness are important goals in artificial intelligence (AI) and well-being science. The recent revolution in portable self-tracking devices in the data-driven wellness movement and participatory-driven wellness communities, such as the Quantified Self community, provides us with new opportunities to collect psychological or physiological data for understanding the human mind. While new technologies make it possible to track our daily behavior and various biological signals such as physiological or genetic data more easily, one of the important remaining challenges is to discover our own truly meaningful personal values. Citizen science, scientific research by crowdsourcing or human-based computation, is a new and challenging framework that promotes interdisciplinary research in the fields of computer science, life/brain science, and social psychological/behavioral science, which may introduce new paradigms to the AI community. We have been working on citizen science projects related to the area of personal genomics and have developed a personal genomics information environment named MyFinder. The developed platform supports the search for our inherited talents and maximizes our potential for a meaningful life. In particular, we are interested in the human mind and the personal genome. In this paper, we introduce our MyFinder Project and present the results of a recent study on “social intelligence genomics and empathy building”, and discuss issues involved in exploring our mind within the context of personal genomics.
Abstract: The desire of human beings and the goal of government policy basically have a common point which is claimed as the well-being. However, the criteria heterogeneity between objective and subjective criteria causes difficulty in decision making. A fuzzy addition is thus proposed to give a vision on the significant information for the well-being. Empirically, the proposed approach applies dominance-based rough set approach on the well- being of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD well- being) to disclose that the significant criteria for the top-ten nations are employment rate and life satisfaction.
Abstract: The concept of the ‘well-being of the child’ (like the ‘child’s welfare’ and ‘best interests of the child’) has remained underdetermined in legal and ethical texts on the needs and rights of children. As a hypothetical construct that draws attention to the child’s long-term welfare, the well-being of the child is a broader concept than autonomy and happiness. This paper clarifies some conceptual issues of the well-being of the child from a philosophical point of view. The main question is how well-being could in practice acquire a concrete meaning and content for a particular issue or situation. A phenomenological-hermeneutic research perspective will be outlined that allows the child’s well-being to be elucidated and specified as an anthropological and ethical idea. It is based on a contextual understanding of generative relationships, a combination of the theory and practice of making sense, here described as ‘generative insight’, which could provide ethical guidance for decision making in families, legal practice, medicine or biomedical research.