Innovation for Happiness, a pioneering program at HEC Lausanne

Exploring the different dimensions of happiness, understanding what makes us happy in order to reinvent our way of life, the way companies and start-ups are managed, and their reason for being. These are the objectives of this new course, which is part of the innovative teaching culture of the Faculty of Business and Economics at University of Lausanne.

This program, which is open to all students at the University of Lausanne, is inspired by a growing awareness in our society of the disconnection between our lifestyles and the foundations of happiness. Many people today are worried about the legacy and challenges of the age of overconsumption. It is time to act, and innovation is helping to find solutions to the challenges facing our society.

So how to teach and practice innovation in 2023 so that it enables us to achieve this goal of well-being?

Lecturer at HEC Lausanne and founder of the program, Fabrice Leclerc explains: “At HEC Lausanne, we are committed to train students able to think creatively and innovatively to act in favour of well-being, whether on an individual scale or for society”. He continues: “It is in this spirit that we have set up the Innovation for Happiness program. Participants learn how to reinvent their activities so that they generate happiness. This involves mindfulness practices and the search for meaning, which will enable them to reconcile their personal and professional activities with their physical and mental well-being.”.

An evolving program where students co-create the conditions for their happiness

Launched in the spring of 2023, the program, which was spread over 7 sessions, invited students, for this first edition, to share their own definition of happiness on the model of challenge based learning, i.e. by working on concrete cases, for local companies and their leaders. International personalities shared their experiences, such as Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and founder of the World Happiness Report, or Auret van Heerden, founder of the Fair Labor Association. The students were also accompanied in their innovation process around the theme of happiness by the innovation agency Creaholic founded by Elmar Mock (the inventor of the Swatch).

The results of this first edition of the course revealed what makes our students happy: nature, friendship and human relationships, and music. “We are a long way from consumption and material growth,” says Fabrice Leclerc. The next edition of the program, which will be held in the spring of 2024, intends to have the new batch of participants collaborate with local companies and start-ups.

A promising success for the future

The success of the program, which welcomed more than 240 participants this spring, shows that students are ready to innovate to develop their well-being and happiness in their professional and personal lives. “This is great news for the future, for future leaders, their ecosystems and entrepreneurs. It is important to accelerate the steps in this direction now.” concludes Fabrice Leclerc.

Further information about this spring 2023 program