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The Power of Happiness

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Presentation from Fast Company Innovation Uncensored 11/08/2012 by Jennifer Aaker on the definition and role of happiness in our lives and work.

Presentation from Fast Company Innovation Uncensored 11/08/2012 by Jennifer Aaker on the definition and role of happiness in our lives and work.


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  • 1. T h e p o w e r ofhappiness Jennifer Aaker Stanford Graduate School of Business @aaker
  • 2. Why does happiness matter?
  • 3. ROI of happiness Job burnout Turnover intentions Absenteeism Organizational Citizenship Behavior Job performance Customer service Likability as work partner Group cooperativeness Creative episodes Exploration strivings -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 Lyubormirsky, King and Diener (2005)
  • 4. Happy customers are more loyal.They pay more for a great experience.They talk about their brands.
  • 5. Misperceptions of happiness
  • 6. We think we know whatmakes us happy.(But we don’t really).
  • 7. As wealth increases, happiness does not. Easterlin Paradox (1974) GDP per Capita ( Thousands% Survey Responses 80 45 Pretty Happy 40 60 35 of dollars) 30 25 40 Very Happy 20 15 20 10 5 Not Very Happy 0 0 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 Year Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis (GDP data) General Social Survey Data from 1972 – 2006. Question : How happy are you? (Very Happy, Pretty Happy, Not Very Happy). N = 1500.
  • 8. We don’t accuratelyremember what makesus happy.
  • 9. Aaker, Drolet and Griffin (2008)
  • 10. When we do achieve’happiness,’ it fades. Weadjust surprisingly quickly.
  • 11. Are we commoditizing happiness?If we do a, b and c – we’ll be happy.How are we measuring success?By what you have acquired or achieved?How might we rethink happiness?If the goal is not to find happiness.
  • 12. 1 DESIGN FOR FLEXIBLITY The meaning of happiness shifts over the life course.
  • 13. People often assume that happiness is one thing.
  • 14. But the meaning of happiness shiftsacross the life course.
  • 15. DESIGNING HAPPINESS | © JENNIFER AAKER
  • 16. Harris and Kamvar; WeFeelFine (2010)
  • 17. When our meaning of happiness shifts, we begin to search for different things.
  • 18. discovery THE PROMISE Excitement
  • 19. THE PROMISEpursuit Conquer the world
  • 20. THE PROMISEbalance Work+family+health
  • 21. THE PROMISEimpact Significance
  • 22. As a brand, what type of happiness are you cultivating?
  • 23. As a company, are you designing environments where your employees can shift as their meaning of happiness shifts?
  • 24. 2 DESIGN FOR MEANINGFULNESS It is a better compassD E DESIGNING HAPPINESS E S SJENNIFER AAKER © J E N N I F E R A A K E R SIGNING HAPPIN | © /
  • 25. Happiness is not achieved by conscious pursuit; it is generallythe by product of other activities. ALDOUS HUXLEY Brave New World
  • 26. What is meaningfulness? Lasting Important Awe-evoking Often intimidating
  • 27. How does that work within companies?
  • 28. Higher Purpose Achieved when you feel a part of something bigger than yourself andthe shared goal matters significantly.
  • 29. Drivers of happiness H Feeling that you are part of something meaningful. Achieved when you feel a part of something bigger than yourself and where the Higher shared goal matters significantly. Purpose Perceiving that you are in control of your future A path, able to work on what you’re good at while learning new skills. Achieved when you feel you have the trust from yourself and others to make Impact Autonomy critical decisions. P Cultivating meaningful relationships. Achieved through shared experiences where collaboration is meaningful, innovative, and fun. People I Having your work touch the lives of others. Achieved when you feel valued and see the concrete, measurable, positive difference that you’re actions have on others as you drive toward excellence.
  • 30. Drivers Kryptonites Higher Confusion Purpose Autonomy Fear Lack ofImpact control People Loneliness
  • 31. Companies resemble their leaders Higher Autonomy People Impact PurposeJohn Mackey Larry Page Tony Hsieh Steve Jobs WHOLE FOODS GOOGLE ZAPPOS APPLE
  • 32. Happiness without meaning is fleeting.Aim for meaningfulness.
  • 33. 3 DESIGN FOR MOMENTS Small moments matter more than we think.
  • 34. “I am happy when we have family movie night.” Devon Smith
  • 35. 3 1 Frederickson (2009)
  • 36. EXPECTATIONS GAP HAPPINESSPERFORMANCE
  • 37. Create surprising moments of authentic happiness.
  • 38. How are you creatingsmall moments of delight?
  • 39. 4 DESIGN FOR STORIES The stories we tell ourselves affect the happiness we feel.
  • 40. Studies show that a person with an incoherent story is more likely to experience depression Crossley (2000)
  • 41. Is it the same for corporations? Photo: Hector Garcia
  • 42. So how do we cultivate a coherent story?
  • 43. Know your story.
  • 44. Your past stories. Photo: Jose Valiente
  • 45. Your present stories. Photo: Fatma M.
  • 46. Your future stories. Photo: Daniel Silviera
  • 47. What is the throughline.
  • 48. Make your customerintegral to the story.
  • 49. Brands too often make themistake of trying to be the hero. Photo: Bethan
  • 50. The customer is the hero.DESIGNING HAPPINES | ™ JENNIFER AAKER
  • 51. Don’t manufactureyour story.
  • 52. When you share the story, you need to feel authentic.People can tell when you aren’t. Photo: Xevi V.
  • 53. 3 DESIGN FOR MOMENTS Employeesmatter. believe Simple things must(and be inspired by) the story.
  • 54. Brands often feel manufactured. People do not.Protagonists make a story relatable
  • 55. There will be a time when you need a new story.
  • 56. Angelina Jolie
  • 57. Use stories. They are engines ofgrowth and innovation.
  • 58. Stories help customers make the jump to where you’re going.
  • 59. A good story is like a roller coaster.
  • 60. Bank your stories They are assets.
  • 61. What are yoursignature stories?
  • 62. What stories revealsuffering and transformation?
  • 63. What stories are a part of something larger?
  • 64. So, in sum…
  • 65. We think we can attain happiness.And often ask, how can I get happier?But people don’t know what really makesthem happy (although they think they do).Rather than trying to get happy or behappier, could we rethink happiness?
  • 66. BOOKSAnnette Simmons Julie Fuoti & Lisa Johnson Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith Nancy Duarte Robert McKeeJack Maguire Nancy Duarte Chip & Dan Heath John Walsh Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar Andy Goodman Stephen Denning
  • 67. HOW TO TELL A Thank youWORKBOOK