Identifying wellbeing economy activities & behaviours

Which economic activities currently serve the future you are trying to create and which activities actively works against it in the long term?
purpose

Purpose

To identify the economic activities and behaviours that directly contribute to your wellbeing priorities

Standard economic strategy design is often ‘deficit-based’ in the sense that it focuses on the need for external investment, technology or skills as the way of fostering economic development. However, as you work towards building a wellbeing economy, it can be useful to take a strength-based approach whereby you identify the existing economic activities, skills and behaviours that are already positively contributing to wellbeing. This will help you to develop an economic strategy that builds on the existing strengths and capacities in your community as the building blocks for your wellbeing economy.

The process of engaging people in economic discussions and decision making is important for long-term transformation as it helps us to ground our understandings of the economy in lived experiences rather than theoretical models and shift our popular narratives regarding the purpose of the economy.

The identification of positive economic activities will be a critical starting point for considering how to best foster the areas of the economy most important for wellbeing so you can prioritise policy efforts in these areas.

These discussions can help to expand your understanding of value and consider areas of life that have traditionally been excluded from economic analysis, such as household work or environmental stewardship. This process is important, as it helps people to embrace a new narrative about the economy and its purpose, and to visualise their role in a new one.

Resources

Examples

Tips

  • Facilitate community discussions around understandings of the economy and its relationship to wellbeing
  • Train government officials on strength-based approaches to consider the existing economic activities and behaviours that are contributing to wellbeing
  • Employ back casting and have communities / stakeholders imagine the society has achieved their wellbeing goals.
  • What does the economy look like? What is different in terms of the way we produce and provide for one another? What is the same?
  • Use a broad definition of the economy, for example, ‘the way we provide for one another’, so that people have space to consider areas that may otherwise be seen as outside the scope of the ‘economy’ e.g., parenting, social services, nature, etc.
  • For each of your wellbeing priorities, consider a wide range of activities that are positively contributing to its achievement e.g., sectors, occupations, producers, services, institutions, etc.
  • For each of your wellbeing priorities, consider a wide range of behaviours that are directly contributing to its achievement e.g., production processes, patterns of consumption, exchange, distribution, provision, etc.
  • Pay special attention to your wellbeing values and discuss what areas of life people see these values being promoted e.g., where do you see solidarity, generosity, respect, etc.?
  • Carry out discussions of non-monetised areas of the economy and their contribution to wellbeing e.g., care work, civic activity, volunteering, mutual aid etc.
  • Through the process of identifying wellbeing economic activities and behaviours, take note of those that are viewed as negatively impacting wellbeing.
  • Use this opportunity to gather data and evidence on these activities and behaviours that can be used for assessments and evaluations.
  • Support research on Wellbeing Economy approaches and engage local experts who can provide insights on the existing activities and behaviours contributing to the wellbeing priorities.
  • Gather quotes and stories from your discussion that can be used to communicate new narratives regarding the drivers of a Wellbeing Economy.