Advancing a Well-Being Narrative

Advancing a Well-Being Narrative

Expanding how decision-makers think about progress in order to transform priorities and actions.


Well-being approaches, slowly gaining traction around the world, set human and planetary well-being as the definition of progress, centering policies, budgets and other actions on that goal. Accelerating this work in cities and countries requires a broader narrative about progress—shifting from “economic growth at all costs” to “well-being for all people.” This shift, we believe, will create new expectations as well as incentivize and reward dramatically different decisions and outcomes. (See our well-being page for more background.) The team for this report includes: Jennifer Messenger, AAYAAN, Kirsten Gunst, Nate Currie, Thomas Price Lang and Anita Chandra.

What we did

To further this work, we developed Advancing a Well-Being Narrative, a summary of research on well-being narrative testing, which has not yet been pursued in this way in the U.S., along with ideas for experimentation and early action. 

Co-developed with the RAND Corporation in collaboration with grassroots organizations and well-being practitioners, the guide offers insights on expanding the narrative of progress through policy change, news media, entertainment, data and other levers. We tested the guide’s messages and other narrative components with policy influencers and business leaders, who understood and agreed with the core ideas.  

  • Download the guide here
  • Download the supplemental appendix, with detailed research findings, here.

Development of the guide was supported by a grant to RAND from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

What next?

We invite you—activists, researchers, economists, storytellers and anyone interested in redefining progress—to try on these ideas in your internal culture, strategy and systems; across your program, policy and innovation work; and throughout your communication. 

Please share what you’re doing and learning—or just reach out to talk more about this work. Contact Jennifer Messenger, public health lead at

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Metropolitan Group tiene una compañía hermana con sede en la Ciudad de México. Impacto Social Metropolitan Group