Hebrew University Of Jerusalem, Dr Bernard Zurich, Mattias Cotton discussed on Wholegrain Leadership
And welcome to another episode of the whole Grain Leadership podcast. My name is Mattias cotton and today we will be talking about out wellbeing and I have a great interview guest here today. Her name is. Dr Bernard Zurich. She's an expert on planning and measuring and well-being progress and happiness particularly how to incorporate those things into strategy and policy for the public the private and the third it sector she was the chief scientist and Co founder of be better a data analytics startup. That I think recently got sold she holds a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And she has done research at Ucla in London and she's also teaching right now in the government government in sustainability program at IDC in Hats Liam in L. and also at the NBA program at the Academic College of Tel Beef Jeff Oh. She's a consultant to international organizations NGOs governance businesses on how to apply well being into strategy. The end she's a passionate advocate for using wellbeing indicators. To better plan success there was a long introduction. But you're doing a lot of things. Welcome to the show Anna. Thank you so much. It's such a pleasure to be here. Great so let's start off with a definition when we're talking about well being what exactly do you mean with that. That's a very good question and a very tricky question as well. I think the main point is that wellbeing fares from being happy important as it is or from being healthy important as that is or being safe having proper infrastructure and other aspects of life that we all need to have. I think it's beyond the what we would like to have. It is an additional layer to that. But I'd say that well being is having what you need in different life domains that every person needs and also attaining the possibility to prosper roster. So it's having those basic things that you need in life but also having possibilities to prosper so it's more than just being healthy is that absolutely I mean how many people are perfectly healthy but not happy or do not have a job or which is extremely important important for wellbeing to give one example or feel that something in their lives is not going as they had planned. It's becoming I think. More and more common knowledge stat. Health is only one aspect of wellbeing probably. Most people would agree. That being well is something that is very important to oneself personally smelly to the family and so on and so forth but why do you say that this actually a wider topic for society. It is important for governments and it is also important for businesses. This is why should businesses even care about how well someone is. We've come a long way from thinking that we understand everything. Let's start with that. Yeah I mean we used to have indicators or proxies a ways of understanding the market that are becoming more and more I thought I I don't know if I dare say you. Relevant but if you aspire as a strategy only to increase growth for your company but you neglect to you think about the well being of your employees you have a problem. And if as a country you aspiring for higher GDP Ross domestic products in neglect to think about how that GDP spreads across different populations how it's spreading across health and education and and again infrastructure and safety and other aspects of life. which are important for everybody? Then you have a very big problem. And when looking at policies I mean look at these descended navien countries I think they are a wonderful example for countries who acknowledged to start with that. The fixation station on economic growth could be harmful because as every fixation it's only a fraction of what is really important in life and so they are a great example of countries who said yes. Economic growth is wonderful. It's a great strategy position but it's not everything well being is everything so it's how we spread that economic growth across the nation and et Cetera et Cetera. And that's just one example from the policies. Fear I think that we see more and more of wellbeing strategy towards different markets. You gave this long introduction and I am going to add one layer to it. I recently joined a company named meant M. E. N. T. meant dot. Io and it has a product and the product is a discussion platform. It's an a that formed that reads discussions and gives you smart on the lyrics it reads discussions and it gives you smart analytics to make better decisions now. Does well being fall into that picture. Every every product that we see nowadays needs to or is already considering your wellbeing as the customer. It's not even employees. He's anymore it has moved from policy to strategy towards employees towards. Let's think about the customer in these terms. It's not just just about what they buy. It's about whether what they buy serves their wellbeing. So that's a lot of information capsulated into one answer but it's just to give you the the The gist of things. I guess yes. Thank you very much. We'll break it up for listeners. A little bit more in the cost of this podcast before we get. I want to move on to something different because I like to have like the personal motivation of people. So why are you so interested in this topic wellbeing. And how did you originally get involved in it. When I started studying I somehow knew I wanted to study political science and I somehow knew that things that is most fascinating to me is? How do we know that society is progressing? How do we know what progress is? I was sitting in different classes on ideologies. It all started from ideologies. Geology and I heard these fascinating topics than I was reading mark's and I was reading other philosophers who wrote about the perfect Utopian future that you could get to if you would only do things right and they all seemed like love stories to me that there was such a huge gap between these beautiful stories and how they rolled in reality think of the Soviet Union it was anything in but they Marxist vision and it's the same for fascism and it's the same for liberalism none of them rolled out to be what the original Lil thinkers of philosophy had in mind and so it really bothered me and so I found myself delving deeper and deeper into okay. Okay so how do we know if we're headed in the right direction towards a you Tokyo towards a complete disaster. How do we know and I found me so In a journey with lots and lots of other fascinating really smart people from around the world busy with especially with policy especially Louis Policy issues of. How do we know that the country is actually going where he wanted to go to me started in academia and I think it's it's kind of a reflection of how it rolled out across the world so it turns out to be that starts with academia with scholars? who asked very good questions Quality of life questions while being questions within philosophy within psychology within sociology economics was kind of lagging behind but it was all asking these questions and then he moved to the realm of policy. So I moved with it to around policy working with the OECD. On fine with others callers around the world and since then it had moved to strategy into corporates but yeah I think for me. It's always about. How do we know that we're I'm doing better? That's the gist of it really. Let's talk a little bit of art. The sphere of public policy. Because I think they're the topic of wellbeing has been Discussed or is being discussed for quite some time. It's maybe a bit newer in the world of business so I'll go to ask you the question that always comes up on A. How is this any better other than traditional measures such as GDP per capita for example? Or others aren't they in the end very much correlated in the sense that more. GDP means better wellbeing so that we don't really need any other indicators and so on and so forth what would you say to these kinds of criticisms that usually leveled at any sort of discussion discussion about wellbeing. Well I'll start with the assault with a short answer which is. GDP doesn't always correlate with other measures. So we see how the United States eight is. Life expectancy rates are actually decreasing actually in a worse state than it used to be. It's a recent development it is happening because the investment of what. GDP bringing is not being spread across the health system in a way that keeps life expectancy in its best best state and even growing. We sit in health but we also see it in other things as well. I mean there are two aspects to criticisms regarding regarding the GDP one is the GDP doesn't read account what it's supposed to count even in that area. It's very problematic so it counts everything that we buy. It doesn't care whether I buy something. That is positive for me and he's tracing my wellbeing or that is negative for me. I don't know if I have to buy water because the water in attacker offer not good enough. Then that's good for the GDP. It's very bad for me and not to mention crime. That is very positive for the GDP. It's very bad for people's also Wellbeing and so on and so forth the second type of argument is that how can we only look at money. As if it's the the only thing that tells us something about our lines there's something seriously wrong with that perception because it's not correlated with everything that we care about. It doesn't care at all whether I spend time with my children and I could have so much money and ward from day to night and never see my kids and so how does the GDP in that way indicate anything about my wellbeing. Isn't that in the end. Matter of personal choice. For example I mean and the individual you could theoretically decide whether they want more money or spend more time with their key. People Might WanNa get filthy rich. Others may WANNA spend more more time with friends and family. I wish it was. I don't think we live in an ecosystem that enables so much choice. There isn't as much much choice as we'd like to think the new liberal conception of I decide my own faith in I decide I mean even goes as far as you can be happy happy regardless of the circumstances you live in now. That's true to some extent. I mean you could live in a extreme poverty and still be happy it is possible. I think we would all agree. It's not advisable and so the circumstances in which you live determined quite a lot of how how you conduct yourself in life and there's a whole industry of happiness trying to argue towards the amount of choice that we have within how happy we are but we cannot neglect and this is a policy question from head to toe cannot neglect the circumstances in which we live in. And it's very difficult to get to a position where you can choose your job and you could choose.