Quantifying H(app)iness – How Big Data Is Defining Well-Being



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The H(app)athon Project is an initiative that began in October of 2012 with a goal of quantifying happiness. I wrote an article on Mashable called, The Value of a Happiness Economy that compared Quantified Self, The Internet of Things (including Big Data) and Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness that provided a solution to improve well-being around the world – have a hackathon for happiness, or a H(app)athon.

The role of Big Data around the world to gauge happiness is growing by leaps and bounds. Just two weeks ago, Michael Porter from the Harvard Business School launched the Social Progress Index which focuses on measurements associated with well-being. Apps like Happier and Moodscope let people measure and record their mood or well-being on an ongoing basis. What this trend points out is that the availability of new and emerging technologies that help reveal aspects of our character we haven’t studied before is apparently feeding a big need in us. We want to know what makes us happy and why.

It’s a pretty common question to ask, “what is the measure of a man (or woman)?” in the sense of defining their character by their actions. Now people can put that question to the test with these tools and trends to learn more about that answer for themselves. If you’d like to get a sense of your “Personal Happiness Index” score from H(app)athon, there’s a free survey you can take online or via your iPhone at www.happathon.com/survey. We’d welcome your help/collaboration in helping us define a crowdsourced vision of happiness and well-being.

But one way or the other – let me ask you: what is the measure of your life?  It’s worth keeping track of, and Big Data can help.

Submitted by John C. Havens, Founder of The H(app)athon Project and contributing writer for Mashable. 

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