Event Recap: WEAll Policy Design Guide launch

Apr 01, 2021

On March 18 WEAll launched the much-anticipated WEAll Policy Design Guide. We were so amazed by the level of interest in the event. It was the largest online gathering WEAll has ever hosted! There were some people that weren’t able to access the meeting as our Zoom account capped the room. Please read this recap as a quick overview of what happened – and see the end of the post for avenues for further engagement.

During the 60- minute session, we introduced The Guide as a mechanism to create wellbeing economy policies in communities around the world. Crucially, the Guide emphasises the role for all citizens to work with policy makers to envision, develop and implement such policies. It’s important to understand that we are the economy – and we all have a role to play in designing the policies that prioritise the wellbeing of people and the planet.  

During the event, Amanda Janoo gave a 30- minute presentation introducing the Guide and its various dimensions. She was supported by Paul Dalziel and Andy Turner, who alongside 70+ other WEAll members, were contributors to the Guide. The three provided unique perspectives on the Guide’s development and implementation and shared their hopes for the potential transformation that the guide can catalyze in the policy development space. 

The Guide features inspiring case-studies to showcase where policy making toward a Wellbeing Economy is already taking place. 

For example, Amanda spoke about La Paz instituting a “Barrios De Verdad” (Real Neighborhoods) programme that encouraged the community to develop budget proposals for infrastructure and development in their community. 

She highlighted the importance of participatory processes in order for governments to gather what is needed to better serve their communities’ wants and needs. 

When she spoke about measuring wellbeing, she drew on Rutger Hoekstra’s paper, “Measuring Wellbeing: How to Go Beyond GDP” as a resource for individuals and governments to explore alternative indicators  to look beyond GDP as the measurement for success. 

The Guide appreciates the need to embrace experimentation and learning for policy makers who feel like they can’t fail. The Guide isn’t going to tell policymakers what to do, but rather, how to get to their desired outcomes. 

Most importantly, Amanda emphasised that “we ourselves are policymakers. We are the trailblazers in this area. What we’re trying to learn here is something new. Therefore, we need to develop collective mechanisms for learning and reflection – and not feel so constrained by fear but to be open and brave to experiment and find new strategies to move forward.” 

In questions concerning austerity and fighting the biggest power-holders, Andy culled concerns by saying, “It’s important to notice there is progress everywhere. As a species, we’re idiots, but we’re heading in the right direction. It’ll be easier in some places than others but pretty much everywhere they’re making progress.” 

Bringing further inspiration to the conversation, Paul made an important point around accounting for diversity in building indicators, “In my own country, New Zealand, we are anxious not to look for harmonization early on in the process. There has to be room for diversity of values and experience.  For comparisons, it can be useful to have a core set of harmonized measures, eventually. But even in that system there has to be room for diversity and respect for diversity. Because we learn from each other that is how we build a strong fabric; by drawing on different perspectives.”

The energy from the event was inspiring as it’s clear that people are looking for support in developing policies that create wellbeing economies everywhere. If you missed the session, you can re-watch the recording here. If you’re a policy maker and interested in joining our policy makers network, please sign up here.

We are going to host another few events upcoming on 21 April at 10:00 Boston/ 15:00 London and 17:00 Boston/ 9:00 Auckland (22 April)

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