Re-defining Progress: The Well-being Objective

Authors: Policy Horizons Canada
Document Type: Foresight Study
Published Date: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 5:00am
ISBN number: PH4-104/2011E-PDF, 978-1-100-19773-9
Alternative Format: 2011-0095-eng.pdf


The pressures that could drive a well-being approach onto the Canadian policy agenda are explored in this report, with ideas drawn from a survey of international literature on well-being as well as key expert interviews and dialogues with other federal government departments. For a topic as broad as well-being, it was illuminating to share mental models with people in such varied fields as sustainability to community development to inequality and from the perspectives of academia, think tanks, municipal politics, advocacy sectors and government. With system maps, influence diagrams and scenario exercises as tools for communication, these conversations explored assumptions about the future and cross-impacts that could shape future well-being outcomes.

These discussions of the future, with no stakes attached – no current policy, mandates or program dollars on the line – allowed for truly open, collaborative conversations. We are grateful for the experience and the insight of our participants, and pleased to find the feeling was mutual.

The Well-being Foresight Team at Policy Horizons Canada was directed by Alain Denhez and the team was composed of: Katherine Antal, Stefanie Bowles, David Cavett-Goodwin, Steffen Christensen, David Hay, Peter Reinecke, and Nancy White.