Sensing (and Monetizing) Happiness at Hitachi
Inspired by research linking happiness and productivity, Hitachi had invested in developing new "people analytics" technologies to help companies increase employee happiness. Hitachi had begun manufacturing high-tech badges that quantify a wearer's activity patterns. Data from these devices revealed an unusually high correlation between certain patterns of activity and a person's subjective sense of happiness at work. Unlike mood rings or even facial expressions, both of which were highly unreliable, Dr. Kazuo Yano--the mastermind responsible for bringing ""happiness sensors"" to market--believed he now had the ability to accurately sense happiness. When combined with other sources of data like Outlook calendars or email, Dr. Yano's team could pinpoint with scientific precision which activities, events, or even people generated the most happiness in employees at work. With a firm proof of concept in hand, Dr. Yano was ready to push the business model further. He was rolling out an app to provide personalized "happiness" recommendations to employees, and he was considering other ways to automate the model to bring it to scale. He was confident that the new technology had the power to transform employee happiness and the productivity of workforces, in Japan and beyond, if he could only find the right business model to launch such a happiness movement.
- 2017 HBS
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