An initiative for a conscious life and reflection of happiness.
"Where would we stand, if everybody said where would we stand, and nobody went to look, where we would stand, if we went?"
What defines society today? In which society do we want to live in?
The Ministry of happiness and well-being is an interactive art project and the inspiring metaphor of a multimedia campaign. The topic of personal happiness, discussed in a playful and creative way, motivates rethinking and participation across all parts of society. This campaign increases the awareness for personal happiness and asks questions in a very positive and playful way: „What makes us happy?“, „What is a good life?“ and „What can we do to realize it?“. The task of the Ministry of happiness and well-being is to change perspective, to give positive impulses, to initiate a change of social values and to actively accompany and create. The long-term aim is a positive movement in which the actions of the Ministry of happiness and well-being significantly participate: question common attitudes and acting and redefine future values. A wide public demand to care for the important things in life: our personal happiness and well-being already exists – where does it come from, how is it possible to influence, increase or measure it?
This initiative wants to be a role model with ease and happiness and with a focus on concepts that work easily in the everyday life. With unusual, creative and wonderful alternatives and ideas, forward looking, provoking impulses and inspirations, without dogmas or forefingers – we will define what a good life is for ourselves.
The Ministry of happiness and well-being is as a campaign the medial converter and wants to provoke in a positive way – experts, scientists, organizations, like-minded people, politics and the media itself are involved. We give them the opportunity to cooperate on a joined platform as the future happiness generation.
With playful examples from everyday life we want to establish ideas and concepts to rise medial awareness for these important topics and get the people – online and offline – to realize that a rethinking of personal goals can actually be a lot of fun. Everyone is invited to participate!
The aim is to show as many people as possible how sustainable science about happiness and positive thinking is and how it can affect lives in general. The overwhelming medial echo and public excitement on this topic shows that there is a huge demand in this debate and the definition of what a good life is.
This initiative meats this demand and with its power we will establish our Gross National Happiness!
Be part of this movement and help the Ministry of happiness and well-being to make the world a better place in small steps!
The fascination of the metaphor „Ministry of happiness and well-being“ is that people immediately start to smile and think – what would change if there would be something like this? What is happiness?
They immediately get curious, want to know more, take part, share opinions and ideas, help and do something for the happiness of us all! The innovative idea behind is to connect the wishes and needs of society with art and politics. It is the clue to integrate important issues and big questions in our life again – not too serious or reproachful, but playful and suitable for our everyday life.
In November 2012 the idea for the campaign was developed as part of a semester project at the design department at the University of Applied Science in Mannheim, Germany. A small team of students established the campaign during the lesson „Integrated transmedial communcations” given by Professor Axel Kolaschnik. The aim was to create a campaign which changes values in society. During research the decision was made to learn a lesson from the small country of Bhutan: We need a Ministry of happiness and well-being in Germany to start a movement and raise awareness for the important question: What is a good life and how can we determine our own lives? With the help of this provoking metaphor we were curious how Germany would react on these questions.
Gina Schöler and Daniel Clarens as part of this team decided to further establish the campaign as part of their Master thesis, which was finished successfully in October 2013. Realizing the huge potential, meaningfulness and influence the campaign has, Gina Schöler decided to work as a freelancer as Minister of happiness and well-being ever since.
She travels through Europe to give speaches, workshops and to meet for example politicians to talk about people‘s happiness.
We compiled the best moments in a 17-minutes-long video. Here is a small summary:
In collaboration with various organizations an activity day in form of a picnic flashmob on Alexanderplatz was organised in Berlin, in order to draw attention to the final report of the Enquete Commission „Growth, prosperity, quality of life“.Link to the video
Our successful and sold out movie night with the austrian documentary „What happiness is.“ Director Harald Friedl was present and reported about his experiences in Bhutan.whathappinessis.de
We traveled through Germany in order to survey and resume the statements in small videos.Link to our Youtube Channel
Gambling can be addictive: 50 different tasks that should make oneself and one‘s environment happy.
A drawing contest at kindergartens and primary schools: A series of postcards emerged where all income was donated to the Foundation "Humor hilft heilen" by Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen.
Our handcrafted Merchandising: Buttons, Flyer, coins of happiness, stickers and stubs sent as a „happiness-package“ through Europe.
To reach people in their everyday life, we have launched various streetart-actions.
We were able to speak at countless events and workshops to report about our campaign.
Happiness is a wide field, everyone has its own idea about it. It was a challenge to show that this project neither wants to define happiness nor to declare that everybody has to be happy. It’s not about smiling all day nor about ignoring problems of life. It’s about focussing on the important things, realizing what matters most and to get in action to change something!
Many people work on the science of happiness.
Burn out and mental health are very important subjects nowadays. And also politicians get more and more interested in this field, they are curious what „Gross National Happiness“ is about and what makes people happy.
During the last few years the network of the „Ministry of happiness and well-being“ grew and there are many people from very different fields we are in contact with, we collaborate and work together.
Here are just a few, have a look:
Head of the Enquete-Comission „Growth, wealth, quality of life“ of the German Bundestag
Head of the Party 2004-2013: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Member of the German parliament
Medical and health scientist and professor for integrative health promotion
Secretary of State for the Gross National Happiness Commission Bhutan
Many companies and organization are interested in these happiness workshops, for example: City of Mannheim, Goethe Institut, Deutsche Bahn, Coca Cola Happiness Institute Germany, Federal Ministry of Justice Germany, Universities in Germany and Switzerland, Mental Health Network Switzerland, BSA Steiermark/party SPÖ Austria etc.
Media is very interested in this project. There were many articles on newspaper all over Germany, many interviews on the radio, even invitation by TV to talk about happiness and all the actions of this „Ministry“. For example these media already reported about this campaign:
In addition we were contacted by:
"Thank you from our class, which had a great day with your ingenious workshop!"
"Thus you already prepared the topic graphically, it simplifies the access."
"We didn’t know what was awaiting us, but are impressed how you realized the topic and turned into a fantastic workshop"
"Her federal eagles laughs. And certainly not about its creator, but with you about his impact."
"Great project, madam secretary of state."
"The idea behind your project is powerful and one which time has come. I think it is a wonderful initiative for many reasons but mainly because it brings the focus on what people really and ultimately want from their lives."
"Congratulations for her effort and her great commitment. The idea of the MoH has also enriched the debate within the commission. The question, whether subjective surveys with citizens should be a part of wealth indicators or not, was an important contention. Her project is a strong metaphor, to hold up a mirror to society with the question what really matters when discussing wellbeing and prosperity."
"Germany has always surprised the world. It is time to do so again. I think being in the heart of Europe, any move made by Germany would impact the continent – so it is the right place to start with such an initiative. Time is right for the change – your project is timely and its future is real."
"For the future, I wish for the MoH that still more people join, who not only dare to imagine how happy things could be, but also simply try it. New ways only arise, if you take them."
"Design is also the draft of a different, better world – and the work on realizing such a world."
"I find the logo with the federal eagle to be slightly aggressive, but otherwise the campaign is exactly what we need. It also adresses people who haven’t dealt with the happiness discourse yet."
"Stay with your utopias, we need them!"
"The longing seems great for the escape from the hamster wheel!"
"I hope the intention of the two students from Mannheim to establish a ministry for happiness and wellbeing was meant satirically. I find it dangerous to have a state institution which is supposed to arrange for my wellbeing. When the state and politics declare themselves responsible for the happiness of the people, we are quickly back to a dictatorship. There are as many perceptions of happiness as there are people. The responsibility of the politics already ends before the thoughts of people, and way before the hearts. The state shall secure the freedom of the people, to find their happiness in their own ways, how it is stated in the declaration of independence of the United States from 1776."
Minister of happiness and well-being
Communication designer M.A.
My name is Gina and I am the german Minister of happiness and well-being. You may ask yourself now: Seriously, is there a Ministry of happiness and well-being in Germany?! Yes, this interactive project increases the awareness of personal happiness.
What do I do as a minister?I go to schools, universities or companies to show with interactive workshops how to reorganize life towards personal happiness. In most cases this can be achieved by focusing on small things. In other cases people change something fundamentally like their jobs. I also organize film events, speaches and small and creative actions like street art. All this starts a discussion about this important subject of happiness, well-being and mental health. People are motivated to participate and create their own ideas about happiness. The Ministry of happiness gets more attention and many people do love it. I get many mails from people who tell me how this campaign influenced and changed their life. This is the reason why I do this with all my heart. Contributing to society in such a meaningful way makes me very happy myself.
As a communication designer I am able to work in this field from another angle. With creativity, humor and playful interactions I challenge people to start to think about this important topic.
During the time as a Minister of happiness and wellbeing I talked to many people. Once somebody told me: „Gina, you have to invent your very own job. You can’t do what everybody else does.“ Sounds easy, but realization seemed very hard! A job that hasn’t been there before? What is needed out there? How could this work out? Then I realized that I actually already was doing my very own, innovative job: Minister of happiness and wellbeing! This was the moment I realized that I had found my profession and my mission.