H(app)athon Workshop in Reading, PA a Rousing Success!

hacking happiness logo
First off, apologies for not updating this blog…well, even monthly frankly.  John (our Founder) has been traveling quite a bit and his book, Hacking H(app)iness – Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Save the World is launching on March 20, 2014.  But we have some exciting news to share, along with an update for The H(app)athon Project as we near our official one-year anniversary, also on March 20.

The Launch of our City-Focused Workshops
Since March 20, 2013, when we launched to the world, we’ve done over a dozen workshops focused on raising awareness about Happiness Economics.  This theme includes emerging media (like quantified self and passive sensors), personal data (how your identity is broadcast in the digital arena), positive psychology, and wellbeing indicators (like Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness). 

The Workshop has two parts – speakers talking about these subjects, followed by an interactive game where attendees break into groups and brainstorm ideas on how to help the fictional country of Eudaimonia as a way to create a future focused on worth versus wealth.  These workshops have gone gangbusters, and you can see videos of people’s ideas here from multiple countries around the world including Bogota, Oslo, New York, London, and more.  These ideas were generated in under an hour, and demonstrate people’s passion to leverage our natural resources to help the world and each other without the need of money.

happ proj

The Happiness Project of Reading, PA
On March 6th, 2013, The H(app)athon Project did our first City-Focused Workshop (our “Happy City” workshop) where we worked with an amazing group of citizen volunteers who created The Happiness Project of Reading in Reading, Pennsylvania.  For Reading, we changed the format of our workshops a bit, and instead of guest speakers focused on the subjects mentioned above, we also added guests from local non-profits and other city-focused organizations.  This was purposeful – beyond wanting guests to know about the amazing resources already available in their city, we redesigned our game so that when groups imagined a future city focused on increasing wellbeing, they were able to pragmatically plan potential marketing campaigns utilizing existing resources. 

The full library of over 20 videos from the event are here, plus below are a few highlights including the Mayor of Reading, and one of the ideas generated by attendees to the workshop (click on photos to see the video)

Reading, PA Mayor Vaughn Spencer

Workshop attendees and their, “Growtopia” Idea

Please let us know if you’d be interested in hosting a “Happy City Workshop” in your City (email john@happathon.com) or if you’d like to learn more information.  This new Workshop has really evolved our Vision of, “Connecting Happiness to Action” by specifically helping people learn how to help the communities where they live based on their passion, purpose, and resources.

Our Values Tracking Survey
Our glorious Board Member, Dr. Peggy Kern of UPENN, has helped us develop a new survey we’re going to post on March 20th that helps people track their values to improve their happiness.  The idea is pretty simple – while most of our values (family, achievement) don’t change on a regular basis, we often don’t live to each of this values every day.  Research shows that when we don’t live to our values our happiness decreases, so we’ve designed our survey to help people see where they may have lost balance in their lives. 

After answering a short series of questions to sign up (takes 5 minutes), you’ll be sent two emails a day for two weeks.  The first is just one question about your happiness (takes 10 seconds to fill out) and in the evening, we send a “Daily Diary” that asks you to rate 10-12 values and if you lived to them that day, plus how happy those actions made you feel.  At the end of the two weeks, you do a short survey summing up your tracking, and then we’ll send your data/insights back to you. 

Plus, we’ve also partnered with the great organization Volunteer Match so you can enter in your zip code and see your data from our survey to find a local volunteer opportunity based on your answers that can literally improve your happiness (as research shows behavior focused on your interests or flow and altruism increase the dopamine in your brain, making you happier.

We’d love for you to take part in the Beta-launch of this survey and let us know how it can be improved, and more importantly, did it provide any insights to increase your wellbeing or happiness.  And thank you in advance for your time, which we know is precious.

Thank You!
There are a huge number of people who have contributed to our success and evolution.  These include members of our Board, Committee, local workshop sponsors, attendees, and all the people who have supported our work.  Thank you VERY much.  Creating and running a non-profit Foundation has been a challenge, but one that have continuously provided great purpose, direction, and inspiration for all of us involved in the Project.  That you in whatever capacity you have helped or supported our work, and please feel free to get in touch at any time.

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