Happiness Inventors

“Happiness Inventors” is an 8-week workshop that teaches kids what it means to be an inventor, how ideas can be turned into technologies like mobile apps and other devices, and skills based on positive psychology – like gratitude, mindfulness, and problem-solving – intended to increase their happiness. The workshop was provided to students enrolled in a summer program through Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) Evanston. The workshop takes a participatory design approach teaming with kids to better understand their concepts of happiness and what technologies might be most appealing for them.


Stephen Schueller, PhD and
Svetlana Yarosh, PhD


The Jacobs Foundation

Target population

Middle-school children

Study Methods

Participatory Design and Cooperative Inquiry


Results/conclusions: Our “Happiness Inventors” came up with over 400 ideas about how technologies could support their happiness and reinforce these skills. They presented their ideas as sketches, prototypes, and videos and settled on 8 final ideas ranging from watches to robots, backpacks to video conferencing. You can learn more about these ideas in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br8Xs78-YgM&feature=youtu.be, in our paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, or in this (link to http://lanayarosh.com/2017/03/children-as-inventors-of-happiness-technologies/ ) blog post by Lana Yarosh.


Yarosh, S., & Schueller, S. M. (2017). Happiness inventors”: Informing positive computing through participatory design with children. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19, e14. (link to https://www.jmir.org/2017/1/e14/ )