Who we are
Joy, Inc. is a revolutionary new business that mainstreams the evidence and research on human flourishing (positive psychology) and the power of emotions to transform the culture and build a new generation of Africans focused on the greatest happiness for the greatest many.
We are also focused on deploying the evidence to help change the global conversation about acceptable success metrics – in policy, business, economics, education, social movements and government.
Our mission rests on five broad assignments –
- Help people live joyful, flourishing lives using the body of research on positive psychology
- Help organisations build joyful, flourishing, high productivity work spaces and work forces using the body of research on positive organisation
- Help schools and school systems adopt joyful, flourishing curricula that help nations build an other-centered generation using the body of research on positive education
- Help social movements build joyful, sustainable interventions using the body of research on hope and cynicism, the power of non-violence, and the success of the M-Trifecta – Mandela (Nelson), Mohandas (Gandhi) and Martin (Luther-King)
- Help nations build joyful, flourishing citizens and communities and creating spaces of vulnerability, compassion and altruism using the latest thinking on human-centered models of economic growth and participatory democracies.
Our primary target is Africa. We are convinced that in fully harnessing the power of emotions (with a focus on resilience research) in line with the current thinking across sociology, psychology, divinity and behavioural economics; Africa’s new generation can possess the tools needed to leapfrog around the considerable obstacles that prevent its youth from achieving full potential and transforming nations. Preliminary theses centered within Africa on Botswana and Mauritius, and outside Africa on the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bhutan provide a foundational framework for how harnessing the power of emotions, against the background of evidence-based interventions, can help accelerate massive economic and social change.
7 priorities, over next 7 years (2018-2025)
Build and deploy research-driven popular cultural products – books, online, events, film and television – that popularize and mainstream the evidence from positive psychology, making it accessible across the continent.
Build and deploy teaching and training products to build capacity in people, organisations, social movements and governments, and then co-create frameworks to integrate and apply the research in long-term, sustainable programmes.
Create a network of Joy Clubs that harness the power of community and positive peer pressure to drive growth on the five key pillars of subjective well-being.
Working with our global research partners, facilitate the embedding of positive education through the PERMA and RULER curricula for pre-university students to do better at school while building mental resilience and widening capacity for “broaden and build” creativity.
Develop integrated technology platforms that enable individuals, organisations and nations track well-being, and take concrete actions to broaden and to build driven by the tracking and growth of well-being indices.
Build a high-profile network of actionable resources to deal with the growing global mental health burden, strengthen mental health interventions and build sustainable national strategy for subjective well-being. This includes the establishment of central and community resource centers.
Leading on research and data, and, from it, evidence-based advocacy about mental health and human flourishing, with subjective well being as both a key goal of governance and a crucial tool for evaluation of public policy. We will nudge nations to adopt a more wholesome approach to nation building, by adopting more comprehensive measurements of human progress, beyond GDP, and then help them build frameworks for integrating and applying the research at scale.
Our work is centered at the convergence of six disciplines – psychology, philosophy, religion, sociology, economics and management – with central research and thinking from a dozen key scholars: Martin Seligman, Barbara Frederickson, Carol Ryff, Marc Brackett, Lisa Miller, Martha Nussbaum, Kim Cameron, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Richard Thaler, Richard Layard, Karuna Mantena and Miroslav Volf.
Africa has leapfrogged once before – over desktop, into mobile. Can African leapfrog again, in way, this time, that’s truly transformational – into a politics and economy built on the scholarly foundations of what is truly possible?
The urgent imperative
“The world has come to a place where everything we assumed – the liberal consensus, capitalism and the wealth of nations, self-interest and the cunning of reason, the rationality of markets and human behavior – everything has been turned upon its head. Those assumptions have led us to this depression epidemic across the world, a fundamental hopelessness (including loss of dignity) and cynicism and the anti-establishment rage that has taken over the youth.
“We are at a time in our history when we have the impetus to rethink everything from Adam Smith to Alexis de Tocqueville. I tell people that the fact that Richard Thaler just won the Nobel Prize for Economics, a year after another behavioural economist, is a really big deal. It’s a really huge deal. We are at the cusp of fundamentally rethinking our assumptions about human behavior, and rethinking the metrics for measuring human success and flourishing. These are historic times we live in.
“If we are going to transform the lives of people and then our nations in meaningful ways, we have to learn from the globally available models that make it possible, we have to follow the evidence, we have to think bigger than the reactionary. And we have to do all of these without losing what researchers term the character virtues that enable you zoom out, to broaden and build; to maintain social, emotional and psychological equilibrium. Social movements often flame out. Political movements often fold into self-interest. Contemporary economic systems have proven globally inadequate. We need something different – what some have called a politics (and a culture) of meaning, but this time centred on the evidence across the fields of sociology, divinity, psychology, politics, and economics.”
Africa can lead in this new revolution. That is our mission.
- Chude Jideonwo, Yale University, November 2017