Can Happiness Be A Business Purpose?

Photo: Sustainable Brands Bangkok

Photo: Sustainable Brands Bangkok

In October of last year I had the great honour to be invited to speak at Sustainable Brands Bangkok. One of the highlights was listening to Her Royal Highness Princess Kesang Choden Wangchuck of Bhutan who spoke about Gross National Happiness and the way in which businesses are now thinking beyond financial definitions of success to also how they can impact more positively both socially and ecologically.

You can listen to her entire speech in this video below:

Her Royal Highness, who is the Chairperson of the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan, was in Thailand to establish the first international centre of its kind outside of Bhutan, which has as its mission the promotion of happiness, sufficiency and moderation.

As she said in her talk:

Business must nurture happiness, the most sought-after product of shared societal progress. It must begin by accepting the truth that human wellbeing is the basis of prosperity, which is as much the cause as it is the product of flourishing business. As much as the ingenuity and enterprise of business have advanced society, the state of business itself is, in turn, conditioned by the health of society. After all, strife, disease, famine and accompanying poverty are no environments for thriving businesses.

It was interesting to hear her definition of business purpose:

A business that is able to align its purpose with the ultimate human aspiration is the one that will become sustainable and successful. Happiness, being that aspiration of both the individual and the collective, must become that purpose. This is what will give business ethical vision, moral strength and innovative energy to move away from purposes that serve only the cause of short-term gain. It is a happiness driven business that will gain the satisfaction of knowing that its products are of meaning and real value to society with no costs that are hidden or unintended.

I very much agree with Her Royal Highness who believes that “the real meaning and value of any endeavour lies in the extent to which it can create genuine happiness”. I would like to thank her for her heartfelt presentation, and also the team from Sustainable Brands Bangkok, especially my very dear friend Sirikul ‘Nui’ Laukaikul for inviting us to speak and share our work with such a special audience and range of speakers.

Simon and I introduced our new work relating to customer experience design, and you can watch our own presentation here: Customer Experiences with Soul


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