A New Experiment: Well-Being in Business Lab

Last week nearly 50 of Oakland’s most inspiring business founders, leaders, investors, and organizers sat in a circle for four hours, immersed in the first module of the inaugural Well-Being in Business Lab. These participants were invited to join the lab because our host committee recognized in them some spark of an emerging well-being future where “socially responsible” and “green” entrepreneurs and investors move beyond business that is less bad; beyond today’s “corporate social responsibility,” and beyond competing to be the most “sustainable.”

These are leaders who are moving beyond maximizing “me” and toward business that maximizes well-being for all. And these are leaders who recognize that the evolution we need will come from putting individual transformation at the center of the shift. Or in other words, from leaders who recognize compassion is a practice – and who are practicing.

Today there is growing awareness, à la Einstein, that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. From the movement for Compassionate Cities, to social and emotional learning in schools, to a growing empathy-based practice in health care, the organizing principle of our era may well be identified as interdependence – the recognition that we are all in this together. Similarly, participants in the Well-Being in Business Lab are being called into a new era of business leadership, one that is capable of evolving our economy into alignment with a deeper level of our humanity, of who we really are, and who we want to be as a society. We see small but significant sparks of this future emerging now in business, and our intention in bringing together these embers is to fan them into flame.

Driven by the latest in scientific research (Greater Good Science Center) and large-scale well-being practice (Gross National Happiness in Bhutan), along with our partners in the Global Wellbeing Lab, together we are piloting a series of gatherings and individual practices, designed to create the conditions for transformation within business. Participants are engaging in individual small daily acts of gratitude, stillness, and altruism proven to shift how we perceive the world and therefore how we operate. This is deepened through community connections in the lab. Participants are committed to nourishing each other’s ability to feel and act from “interdependence” and to support each other in making related innovation shifts in their businesses.

As we pilot these gatherings in Oakland from February through July 2015, we are designing to share right from the start. This means documenting practices so participants can easily bring them to their organizations and communities, but also decentralized ways for other communities to get involved and even eventually to bring the Lab to their home places.

Stay tuned to the BALLE blog to get the latest information about the lab and learn how to get involved. We look forward to your involvement in this journey.


Host Committee and Advisors