Amy Tomkins writes:
A couple of things which have come across the desk this week reminded me of the increasing visibility of well-being as a set of social and public issues. The first was the latest edition of the United Nations Human Development Index (pdf), which combones health and education scores with economic measures to give an overall view of human development (Norwayis currently top, which is probably a tribute to how smartly they invested their North Sea oil revenues). The other is the UK’s first set of well-being data from the National Statistics Office.
As it becomes more important to people, it is increasingly under threat – from demographic change, economic volatility, climate change, and lifestyle pressures. Our Global Monitor data tells us that emotional wellbeing is declining, from 54% in 2011 to 46% in 2010.
With this in mind, we’ve recently explored how in a Future Perspectives report consumer attitudes to wellbeing are being reshaped. Our research suggests we are seeing the emergence of four new consumer wellbeing mindsets, each with their own implications.
- ‘Reclaiming mental health’: consumers are increasingly engaging with mental and emotional wellbeing as a means of self preservation. Might we see the emergence of a more self aware society as a result?
- ‘Search for new solutions’: globalisation and the desire for flexible wellbeing solutions are driving a fusion between East and West. Will this herald the development of a new global language around wellbeing?
- ‘Coping with risk’: consumers across markets are acutely concerned about the threat from external risks. How will data from the physical environment help them to manage risk in the future?
- ‘Safeguarding the future’; concern for the wellbeing of future generations is promoting the admission of responsibility from society. Will we see a shift to accountability as this becomes more widespread?
This may add up t the emergence of a Well-being Generation, which will expect products and services to deliver well-being benefits as well as functional benefits. They will exist within a more accountable society, where governments and companies are scrutinised for their impact on future well-being. Health practice will adopt – and adapt -approaches to well-being from around the world, which will create innovation opportunities.
The biggest challenge will be inclusivity. We expect the winners in the re-framed world will be those that manage to create mass market approaches that drive engagement with well-being.
You can download Reframing Wellbeing from our website. The image at the top of this post is from San Francisco State’s College of Extended Learning, and is used with thanks.