Symposium summary 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

A Bell Labs for Positive Psychology: A Novel Model for Academic-Industry Partnerships in the Behavioral Sciences (#255)

Gabriella R Kellerman 1 , Alexi Robichaux 1 , Sonja Lyubomirsky 2 , Roy Baumeister 3 , Martin Seligman 2
  1. BetterUp, San Francisco, CA, United States
  2. Psychology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, United States
  3. Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Two of the most common barriers to the translation of positive psychological theories into practice are the slow speed of the academic experimentation engine, and the lack of immediately available beneficiaries – or “users” – for the discoveries made. This symposium highlights a novel approach to overcoming both barriers: Academic-industry partnerships focused on rapid testing and immediate implementation of new theories with commercial user populations.

Over the course of the last two years, BetterUp Labs, the research arm of BetterUp, a leader in Human Capital Transformation, has partnered with leading psychologists to test novel theories and immediately implement them in practice for thousands of users worldwide. This two-hour symposium will highlight some of the learnings and successes from this period:

  • The Prophecy Project: A longitudinal partnership with Prof Seligman to elaborate, rapidly test, and then implement, novel interventions in Prospective Psychology.
  • Organizational Mattering: A project in partnership with Profs Baumeister and Seligman 
  • Kindness and Social Support at Work: In partnership with Prof Sonja Lyubomirsky, experimentation with a battery of acts of kindness and social support examining impact on personal and professional outcomes.