In this article I will be writing about something that I believe will have significant impact on enhancing wellbeing and happiness of the people of Bhutan.
This new innovation is Gross Organizational Happiness (GOH) which uses the existing GNH framework to measure happiness at the organizational level. Ever since His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo proclaimed that Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), much has been talked about and done at both the national and international levels particularly in the adoption of this philosophy as the country’s development philosophy.
However, the very idea of Gross Organizational Happiness (GOH) is entirely a new one and there is much to offer in this regard. A case in point is the example of the Data Scientists Pty Ltd in Australia for whom I work as a GNH consultant.
I left Bhutan in August 2013 to pursue a PhD program on GNH at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland. Here in my interaction with different people they all associated Bhutan with being the land of GNH.
It was here I met first met Troy Sadkowsky a faculty member of the university and also CEO of his own professional consultancy company called Data Scientists Pty Ltd. He too had heard of Bhutan’s GNH development philosophy and expressed an interest in learning more about my research.
As the months passed by, Troy and I talked about GNH and Data Science, without actually knowing that the two put together would give birth to a new concept called Gross Organizational Happiness (GOH).
Data Scientists Pty Ltd. is a Company established in 2008 which delivers professional data management services to organizations such as National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the USA and a number of universities in Australia. Troy is often invited to speak on data science around the world, the most recent being at the e-government Forum 2014 in Bahrain.
One day Troy asked me, “Can you apply the GNH principles to my company so that I can have a GNH score at the organizational level?”From this GOH was born: the origination or birth of a new concept that can mean a lot to organizations in Bhutan.
This new innovation is Gross Organizational Happiness (GOH) which uses the existing GNH framework to measure happiness at the organizational level. Like GNH, GOH is measureable or quantifiable.
Since that day, I have been working for Troy’s company as a GNH consultant and together we have been drawing from both the frameworks of Data Science and GNH to build an innovative tool that measures a GOH index.
An organization’s GOH index is a subset of GNH and if measured correctly can be aggregated with other organizations’ GOH score to directly contribute to the national index of GNH. By using innovative data collection tools GOH can be measured and monitored at much more real-time intervals than the current GNH surveys. With these new tools and processes applied, a company can get daily reports on happiness at the organizational level.
After months of development we now have a working prototype which we call the GOH Data System (GOHDS). GOHDS is an innovative combination of both process and tools that enables users to identify relevant indicators drawn from the 72 GNH indicators that branch from the 9 domains and 4 pillars. All that is required to start using this tool is an Internet enabled mobile device and a little ‘Driglam Namzha’ to log your past activity at regular intervals throughout the day.
GOHDS is built from the fundamental principles of the GNH framework and also emphasizes two additional fundamental principles. The first fundamental principle is that “seeing progress towards achieving a personal goal will cause happiness”. The second fundamental principle is that “awareness is the first step to making positive change”.
Future goals are the main requirements of the both these fundamental principles. This is having something that you are hoping to manifest in the future that may make a positive change on yourself, your environment, your community and maybe even the world enabling the principles to be applied and tested. However, this is not an article on the importance and benefits of goal setting and therefore I will not go into detail about this here. But I will say that obtaining a balanced effort towards achieving your individual and collaborative goals is important and this is one of the major benefits of using the GOHDS.
The additional benefits that we have found through the research and development of the prototype can be defined on a number of different levels such as the personal level, the organizational level and even the national level.
On the personal level, users of the GOHDS have reported better time management and decision making, increase digital literacy and increased happiness. On an organizational level, using Data Scientists Pty Ltd as the case study, benefits include significant growth in revenue and profits with projections of a 100% increase in revenue to its previous year.
It is still unknown what the effects that this system will have on organizations in Bhutan, however, I believe that all organizations that adopt it will gain more awareness around the direction of the company’s wellbeing and happiness. At the national level, benefits arise in reviewing and even extending on the current framework of GNH.
By aggregating GOHDS data from multiple organizations, the government will be able to see which of the 72 indicators are most commonly used and conversely which ones are the least used. This allows for a more flexible and dynamic GNH index that can be refined specifically for the different environments within which the organizations in Bhutan operate. This means that more relevant and specific GNH indicators could be easily tailored to different organizational environments. Whether the organization is in finance, health, mining, farming, hydroelectricity or IT and telecommunications a tailored set of indicators will quickly be identified though using the GOHDS.
The best thing about GOHDS is its simplicity in process. The full process and be explained in just 5 steps.
Log and Tag
Step 1 is to go about your normal day actions and then Step 2. Take the time to stop and reflect on what you’ve done. After reflection step 3 is to log the details on what you’ve done over the last few hours, score it for happiness and then tag it to the relevant GNH indicators. Next, Step 4 is to review the real-time graphs that the system displays to see your balanced effort in achieving your high level goals and then Step 5 is repeat. At the end of the day you can see how your time was utilized, how happy you felt about it and how it relates to overall GNH. This is the data that provides the full benefits of GOHDS and it can be aggregated over time for individuals or whole communities.
In summary, this new concept of GOH can easily be realized through GOHDS which brings the technological tools, the people and the processes together. This concept is still in its infancy yet initial interest has been very positive. My pursuit is to continue developing this concept and add to the existing quantifiable knowledge that happiness has a direct and positive correlation to the success of an organization. In doing so, those individuals involved will gain an increase in digital literacy while self-analyzing their own level of happiness.
In closing, I see this system as a way to continue our national identity as a country of GNH and to demonstrate to rest of the world just what unity, wisdom and imagination can do to transform our country and ultimately the world for the better. Perhaps, a great idea coming from a small country that can for useful for everybody.
Contributed by Sonam Tobgye
PhD Candidate, Queensland University of Technology, Australia