On the design of national wellbeing measures and policies

Michael Hogan, Helen Johnston, Benjamin Broome, Chris Noone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The pursuit of happiness is perhaps as old as culture itself. In the modern world, it is clear that the hopes and aspirations of humanity extend well beyond GDP and other economic measures of social progress and wellbeing. In this chapter, we examine the modern social progress movement and consider what is needed to facilitate its further evolution. Specifically, we examine the emerging values that are influencing the way governments in different countries are thinking about wellbeing measurement and policy. While many governments now agree that it is important to consult with citizens in the design of wellbeing measures and policies, there is no consensus on how to best do so. We highlight the value of citizen consultations and consider how best to optimize codesigning by experts, citizens and politicians by using applied systems science tools that facilitate collective intelligence and collective action. We describe a recent application of our applied system science methodology to the design of a notional national wellbeing index for Ireland. The chapter closes by highlighting the importance of adopting a wider social science toolkit to the challenge of facilitating social progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCrisis and Renewal of Civilizations: The 21st Century Crisis of Ideas and Character
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781634831529, 9781634831321
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Collective intelligence
  • Measurement
  • Policy
  • Social science
  • Wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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