Hacked by Happiness

Marise Schot

What if... you could capture your happiest moments for the times you need them most?

On Thursday 14 March 2013, Waag was 'hacked' by happiness’. Our happiness team (Dick, Marise, Astrid and Helma) renamed Waag for one day in an ‘institute for happiness’, in which effort even our website was not left unchanged ;-). During this day, all employees of Waag bundled their creative forces to work on the theme of happiness.

Design for happiness is upcoming discipline within the design world, and as in many of our projects the enrichment of the quality of life is a core issue, we talked and cooperated with one question in mind: what is happiness?

The morning programme had a more philosophical angle, aimed to reach a common understanding of what we can call happiness. We used the Socratic method to discover what this means for us. I presented a framework for Design for Happiness that our concept team uses in the design process. This led to the following practical design assignment: create your own ‘box of happiness’. Five teams worked at the Fablab on their 'kits'. Some of them wanted to measure mental and physical wellbeing, others focussed on activating people to increase their level of happiness in life. 

The design solutions variated from a set of pills that can help you to balance your mood swings, to a kind of game to guess captivated memories or a collection of boxes with stimulating assignments to alter your personal situation. An interesting next step could be to research how these ideas could come together in a meaningful way. Anyway, it was clear that this is a subject that everyone wants to know more about. So we certainly will keep on working on it the coming time.

Apart from the results, it was a fun day that made everybody happy, working together in a different setting than usual and find each other's hidden talents!

The research on design for happiness is conducted in the context of the project COMMIT.

About the author

  • Marise Schot worked as concept developer for Waag. Her work focused on well-being and applications that enhance the quality of life.