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Starting your happiness journey by building Utopia

Menno van Doorn
November 04, 2019

We began our journey delving into the theory and practicalities of digital happiness in September 2017. In the business community at that moment, there was little appetite for ‘ethics’. At the same time, everyone was looking for new guiding principles for their organizations. We were facing the end of a period of plain growth and society was yearning for more purpose. That’s where happiness comes in. It is a sort of extreme focus on what people in society truly desire.

Two years on, if I wanted to embark on a new career, I’m sure I could easily become a happiness consultant. However, I am more interested in the current journey that has taken us from our first digital happiness report The Happiness Advantage through In Code we Trust and more recently to The Synthetic Generation.

Each of these reports has examined different aspects of happiness: what it is; how ethics and happiness are one and the same; why happiness is important to business and society; how it can be both engendered and measured; and why a new generation’s moral compass will bring about a paradigm shift in how organizations approach their customers’ happiness.

Listening to the thought leaders

We have now reached the end of our digital happiness research series with the launch of our final report Utopia for Executives. I am excited about this. It brings closure to the digital happiness narrative we have developed, but in a very different format. We have carried out a series of in-depth interviews with some of the world’s influencers in the fields of technology, society, ethics, happiness, and wellbeing. We have worked with them from as many as twenty years to just two or three years. All of them have influenced our own thinking at Sogeti and led us to the belief that a new Utopia – the paradigm shift – is finally on its way.

In Utopia for Executives, we present their fresh, visionary thinking. Some of it is dystopian, with a bleak outlook for society and business if we don’t have a true purpose to what we’re doing. Some of it is uplifting, with a belief that we face a new golden age that’s been preceded by a massive technological shift.

Moving in the same direction

We’re witnessing the rise of profit for purpose and CEO activism. Organizations must shift their perception of purpose, asking why they are in business and how they can contribute to the new Utopian world that everyone is yearning for. In this Utopia, the purpose isn’t about profit and the bottom line, rather it’s about having empathy for future generations and with the greener, more caring 21st-century society. It’s about equality and “resetting capitalism”, as espoused by the Financial Times newspaper earlier this year. But it’s also about a win-win, where businesses and governments work in the same direction.

I am more convinced than ever that empathy and digital happiness should be the guiding principles for business in the 21st century. Our Utopian visionaries understand this, and I am sure that once you’ve read our new report, you’ll feel the same.

Thank you to those readers who have accompanied us on our digital happiness journey. For those of you who are new to it, I urge you to dip into the first three reports in the series before reaching Utopia.

Download the report ‘Utopia for Executives’.

About the author

Director and Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Menno is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 19 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored many books on the impact of new technology on business and society.


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