Happy in their work: Bucks graduates put 'happiness' on the agenda


Date: 20th Mar 2017

When Lesley Lyle and Dan Collinson graduated from Bucks New University as part of the first cohort for Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), they decided that they didn’t want their positive psychology journey to end.

But they never imaged that the journey would take them to United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the State Minister for Happiness.

After graduating in 2012, Dan and Lesley gave up their careers and founded their company, Positive Psychology Learning.

Dan said: “Our driver at Positive Psychology Learning is to spread positive psychology and the science of happiness in the workplace, in education, in communities and for individuals.”

Dan and Lesley were invited to the UAE in February by Her Excellency, the State Minister for Happiness, to be part of the government’s National Happiness and Positivity Programme which was launched at the end of last year.

Lesley and Dan were invited to a brainstorming session on how to implement the government’s vision for the UAE to be one of the happiest and most positive countries in the world. They were able to bring their knowledge of the science of positive psychology and their experience of the application of evidence-based tools, in order to generate ideas for how to increase happiness and positivity in the country.

Lesley and Dan are working with government entities in the UAE to introduce a positive psychology approach in the workplace and communities, which is already having a profound effect on happiness and positivity.

Lesley (pictured left) said: “With approximately 200 different cultures in the UAE, this is going to be an exciting challenge but we are very excited to be involved.”

In addition to this work, they have presented a positive psychology approach to redundancy at the International Psychology Conference Dubai, were invited to present at the Happiness Festival in Dubai and attended the first World Happiness Summit in Miami. In April they will travel to Bhutan as guests of the Gross National Happiness team.

Dan (pictured) said: “It is really fulfilling to be able to apply what we learned on the MAPP at Bucks and to see the tremendous impact that positive psychology is having in the work that we now do, not just nationally, but also internationally. The potential to make a positive difference in the world is exciting."

Lesley added: "To do a job one loves which makes such a difference to other people is truly rewarding and the essence of positive psychology in action."

Piers Worth, who co-leads the MAPP with Matthew Smith, said: “Dan and Lesley are both testament to the University’s drive to transform lives through applied skills-based learning and our aim to encourage innovation, creative and enterprise to help our graduates realise their ambitions.”