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London Interdisciplinary School ©2019

Navigating Happiness

We'll announce new course dates soon

Mix of contact time with expert faculty and independent study
3 weeks (2-3 hours of live seminars a week)
Learn alongside a cohort of senior decision makers

Introduction

In the midst of a global pandemic, a mental health crisis and increasingly intense competition for the top talent, the pursuit of “wellbeing” has become as vital for organisations as it is for individuals.

Although the productivity and creativity benefits experienced by “happy” workers are increasingly well documented, there is no conception of this topic that everyone can agree on. This primary motivator of our organisational behaviour is inherently complex.

Over three weeks, this course equips you to navigate this complexity. You'll explore perspectives from narrative linguistics, econometrics, neurochemistry, social anthropology, visual art, and beyond.

Through this interdisciplinary approach, you’ll add breadth and depth to your understanding. But the outcome is ultimately practical. You’ll be able to innovate new tools, develop evidence-based strategies and evaluate what is, and isn’t, working.

Following this course,
you’ll be able to:

01

Understand the complex relationship between uncertainty and (un)happiness and leverage the power of narrative to alleviate anxiety

02

Navigate the why and how (and why not and how not) of measuring mental states like happiness amongst groups

03

Consider the role of major mood molecules in influencing how organisational practices support or inhibit happiness at the chemical level

04

Better identify and empathise with non-neurotypical experiences of wellbeing

05

Understand the impact of group configuration and social bonding on collective performance and feeling

Beyond these capabilities, you will learn and think in an interdisciplinary style and be equipped to transfer this approach to other complex problems you face in the future.

You’ll also work alongside, and build relationships with, senior professionals who are facing similar challenges in a variety of industries and contexts.

Who’s this course for?

Our Navigating happiness alumni have come from a range of backgrounds, industries and career levels. What they have in common is significant influence or responsibility with respect to one or more of:

Actively developing and overseeing organisational or team culture

Managing large and diverse teams

Supporting the ongoing development and wellbeing of team members

Our alumni include senior leaders at FTSE 100 companies; serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists; chief executives of SMEs and charities; and leaders of ‘people’ functions in global corporations.

Above all else, they share a deep interest in this topic, an actively open mind and an appreciation that this is a demanding subject that requires an interdisciplinary method.

Course components

The course will bring together five main lenses, combining concepts, experience and techniques from a range of academic and professional disciplines.

The power of narrative

+

Using insights from narrative linguistics and cognitive science, you’ll develop a hands-on understanding of how narrative creates meaning and alleviates anxiety – a vital precondition for happiness. By examining how, and for what ends, this cultural technology emerges in organisational life, you’ll be equipped to (de)construct narratives that powerfully influence mood and behaviour.

The neurochemistry of feeling

+

You will be introduced to the role of key mood molecules and how these can be successfully ‘hacked’ by different practices. This will enhance your understanding of neurodiversity and the neurochemistry underlying common mental health conditions. Equipped with this knowledge, you will consider how organisations should attempt to regulate or incentivise chemically powerful behaviours.

Making measurement meaningful

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In an age of big data, opportunities abound to track our happiness. In practice, attempts to quantify our feelings can present as many problems as they do solutions. Armed with foundational concepts from statistics and behavioural economics, you’ll explore the emerging best practices and the key trade-offs these present for contemporary organisations.

Collective feeling and team click

+

The benefits of team ‘click’ are well documented. Grounded in social and cognitive psychology, this part of the course engages with the evidence behind social cohesion to consider how feelings of collectivity can be boosted. You’ll grapple with the nuts and bolts behind shared feelings of happiness and togetherness.

Art, culture and subjective expression

+

In our attention economy, the visual arts have immense power to both condition and reflect our experience. In this section of the course, you’ll explore how art and culture can be used to reinforce and subvert narratives that have a transformational impact on how we feel.

Testimonials

The content and delivery by expert faculty during Navigating Happiness were both excellent. If you’re looking for something to open your mind and occasionally make it ache, then this gets a high recommendation from me!
Senior leadership at FTSE 100 company
LIS’ interdisciplinary approach is unique, exploratory and challenging. I’ve already applied key learnings to my life and business and now consciously take daily action to enhance my happiness neurotransmitters! I’d recommend to anyone looking for a fresh and practical learning experience.
Chief Exec of digital marketing business
An intensely engaging, thought-provoking course. I came away with practical insights on how to allay organisational anxiety, how to meaningfully assess staff happiness, and how to actively improve the mood of my team.
Former McKinsey consultant, now start-up leader

Faculty

James Carney (Course leader)
Expert in cognitive science and linguistics. Formerly a fellow in experimental psychology at Oxford.
Carl Gombrich
Mathematician, philosopher and physicist. LIS’ Academic Director and previously a Professor at UCL.
Bronwyn Tarr
Human behavioural scientist with expertise in the evolution of social behaviours. DPhil/PhD, Oxford.
Amelia Peterson
Social scientist with a background in policy and consulting. PhD, Harvard.
Ash Brockwell
Writer, and consultant with specialisms in wellbeing and sustainability. PhD, Wageningen.
Maria Madero
Artist and curator who has exhibited in cities all over the world.

Course Details

Duration
3 weeks (Tuesday 9th Feb – Thursday 25th Feb)
Contact time
2 – 3 hours per week
Independent study
1 - 1.5 hours per week (plus optional extras)
Learning environment
100% online
Course registration deadline
Friday 5th February
Fees
£500 (excluding VAT)

Register now

Spaces are limited. Please enter your contact details below to register for this course. If you have any specific questions about the course itself or enrolling multiple people from your organisation, please email jasper@t-lis.org.

Get in touch

For more information please download the course brochure here.

If you need bespoke payment arrangements please do get in touch. We also offer competitive bursaries for individuals that are unable to pay the full course fees. If this applies to you, please indicate this on the registration form above and feel free to get in touch with any further details or queries on the email address below.