SPREAD A LIT­TLE HAP­PI­NESS

The Australian - The Deal - - News People Events -

In the run-up to grad­u­at­ing from Har­vard’s MBA course last month, Aus­tralian stu­dent Tom Humphrey was surf­ing the net and saw a com­pe­ti­tion be­ing run by Mex­i­can beer brand Dos Equis of­fer­ing a $US25,000 grant to de­velop an idea or to plan an ad­ven­ture.

On­line vot­ers and a panel of judges chose the en­try by Humphrey and fel­low stu­dent Ben Safran – a three-minute video (youtube.com/watch? v=voFAWmLO3-k) ex­plor­ing Bhutan’s hap­pi­ness in­dex and what role, if any, it plays in eco­nomic growth.

With ad­ven­ture blog­ger Seth Teicher and Emmy-award win­ning pho­tog­ra­pher Josh Co­gan, Humphrey and Safran used the grant to visit Bhutan in May to re­search both the idea and ad­ven­ture themes. “We spoke with a range of peo­ple,” says Humphrey, who spent al­most three weeks trekking through re­mote vil­lages and moun­tains, “from farm­ers, ar­chi­tects, con­struc­tion work­ers and shop own­ers to mem­bers of par­lia­ment, ra­dio hosts, monks and Nima Tsh­er­ing, a friend from Har­vard now run­ning for par­lia­ment.”

Humphrey and Safran were also spon­sored by pro­fes­sors at the Har­vard Busi­ness School and John F. Kennedy School of Govern­ment. The case study they put to­gether is in­tended for the schools’ cur­ricu­lum.

“There is an enor­mous em­pha­sis on eco­nomic growth and GDP,” Humphrey says. “We want to in­ject some think­ing that chal­lenges that and asks whether eco­nomic per­for­mance is the right met­ric for guid­ing gov­er­nance and mea­sur­ing progress. Is there some broader, more im­por­tant ob­jec­tive, such as hap­pi­ness?”

Lyn­dall Crisp

Don’t miss the deal’s MBA spe­cial re­port on Au­gust 16.

Tom Humphrey (be­low) used the com­pe­ti­tion grant to visit Bhutan and study the coun­try and its hap­pi­ness in­dex.

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