In 2013 I had the privilege of meeting Junghyo Park in Madrid. We had both enrolled on IE Business School’s Positive Leadership and Strategy Executive MA program, at the time one of the very first such MA’s in Europe. It was also the first to be not just academic, but also experiential and aimed at continuous practical application in business.
Professor Juan Humberto Young, the course convenor, described Junghyo as “The most advanced positive psychology practitioner in business globally”. Here I will share his success story since I feel it can inspire practitioners of positive psychology around the world.
Junghyo: A South Korean Happiness Pioneer
In 2009 in South Korea, where people seemed terribly exhausted and unhappy in work and life, Junghyo founded HEGOSLAB, after applying positive psychology in his personal life with success.
The Happy EGOS LAB was designed to test the idea that Junghyo could design public happiness tools and training programs based on positive psychology principles and provide them to large companies, government offices, and schools.
The first tool was the Happiness Tree, which uses Appreciative Inquiry to collect keywords about positive identity, strengths, interests, and vision which are then written down on ‘leaves’. These ‘leaves’ then develop into steps to sustain happiness and well-being.
By the time of the MA in Madrid in 2013, Junghyo and his training partners had planted over 20 000 Happiness Trees in South Korea, in major corporations such as Samsung, Hyundai, LG and Doosan, in government offices, and in schools by training teachers in partnership with the University of Seoul.
Beginning To BLOOM
In 2013, Junghyo founded the BLOOM COMPANY, an organization which aims to combine positive psychology, people development, and culture cultivation through the use of a number of specially designed tools. In this new space, Junghyo developed strengths cards, and games to implement them. This arose from the need to engage “macho” men, in a culture where modesty is a primary value, to discuss their strengths without discomfort.
All the BLOOM COMPANY tools, including the newest ones, like the Value Badges, Relationship Board and Happiness Cubes, are gamified and designed to be fun and engaging for participants, easing them into positive psychology-based insights and growth.
I share Junghyo’s dream of planting 10 million Happiness Trees globally by 2020, which is why I am proud to represent BLOOM as a Happiness Ambassador, and provide our Train- the-Trainer events (Happiness Facilitator Training, or HAFT) in Europe. This is an opportunity for trainers, facilitators, and coaches to integrate the BLOOM tools into their work.
The HAFT consists of two workshops. HAFT I: is about facilitating a happiness mindset. It provides an introduction to positive psychology, an explanation of PERMA and a design element. The HAFT II: is aimed at facilitating happiness habits and takes place over 4 days, covering the full range of BLOOM COMPANY tools.
As for the latest news from South Korea, in 2017 BLOOM COMPANY trained 70.000 South Korean soldiers with the Happiness Trees, Strengths cards, and Values Badges. The military context provides a perfect opportunity to embed positivity in the lives and vision of young men before they enter into their career. The program aims to reach a million participants over the next few years.
BLOOM COMPANY’s story in South Korea shows the huge impact that positive psychology can have, within just one nation, and I believe this provides inspiration and hope to us all.
Find out more about the upcoming workshops here.
About The Author
Sebastien Martineau is BLOOM COMPANY’s Happiness Ambassador to Europe and founder of Positive Leadership Development Training Company. He is a psychologist and aikido teacher with extensive experience of delivering development programs in business and education. He completed the master program of Positive Leadership and Strategy from IE school (Spain) in 2014. BLOOM tools are integrated into Positive Leadership Development’s training and coaching programs, and Sebastien conducts Happiness Facilitator Training (HAFT) in Europe as part of his role of Happiness Ambassador.