Keynote: A scientific pursuit of happiness

zentor was a partner at the Startup Safari 2019 in Munich and gave the opening keynote to the Safari job fair at Werk 1 in Munich

Scientific approaches for a pursuit of happiness are dear to our hearts — and the basis for zentor's purpose platform. Thus, naturally, we enjoy holding a presentation on this topic. Especially if the audience plays along and even enjoys a few slightly provocative questions...

Here's a recoding of the opening keynote from 25.10.2019:

https://youtu.be/CwD-AJvDC2I
zentor founder Dr. Valentin Schellhaas holding the opening keynote

Why a 'purpose platform'?

Every company has its own story of incorporation. At zentor we are driven by the desire to mentor people on their pursuit of happiness and thus to contribute to a more sustainable society.

A Manifest

In most developed countries, we live in societies, which have very few physical scarcities.
The gap between rich and poor may be widening in some, but the share of population living in true poverty has been decreasing over decades. Our life expectancy increases, it gets easier and easier to find healthy nutrition, access to free education grows, medical advancements cure sicknesses previously considered incurable, and new technologies offer us opportunities, which seemed fiction only 20 years ago.

So why do we live in a world which apparently destroys itself?

The biggest risk in our society is us, through anthropogenic climate change, protectionism through popular vote, and democratically elected populists ignoring basic human morale and rights. We see warmongers being hailed, societies dividing themselves and a growing number of individuals struggling with their mental health. Which role model do we provide for our children and less developed countries, if the highest form of evolution gears towards chaos and self destruction?

We know how to keep our body healthy physically, but somehow we don't seem to know how to find happiness — be it as an individual or as a society. How many of us strive for status, money and consumerism and hope to find the literal pot of happiness at the end of the rainbow? Or are convinced that if we only make enough money, it will enable us to pursue happiness later...

There is no (pot of) happiness at the end of the rainbow

From ancient philosophy to modern research in positive psychology we can derive the main sources of happiness:

  • Purpose in life
  • Engagement with topics we are passionate about
  • Connectedness with & appreciation from others

At zentor, we are convinced that at its core, humanity does not strive to find happiness at the cost of other people So, why do we struggle so much with it?
On one hand, many of us don't seem to know how to find their individual path towards happiness, on the other hand we struggle to overcome our weaker self to actually embrace change.
With zentor we address both topics:

  • Through science-based and technology-enabled inspiration, which supports an individual pursuit of happiness.
  • With a purpose platform, which facilitates turning inspiration into projects and realizing them with others.

Naturally, happiness cannot be delivered on a silver platter, and a more sustainable society unfortunately doesn't evolve by itself. Only through active engagement and patience, can we explore pathways to that end. In addition, happiness is not a state but the sum of many joyful moments in life and subject to constant change. There is no reliable happiness switch, which we can conveniently flick from the comfort of our couches. But happiness research provides approaches, which can facilitate a pursuit of happiness — and joining forces with others can make the path less cumbersome to change individual lives and society.

Is it worth the effort? We believe, there's no alternative to it, if we want to develop our society in a more sustainable one. And a good mentor along the way can make all the difference ...

We are zentor — your mentor for the pursuit of happiness


zentor in 5 minutes - because we never have enough time

It's gotta be us. We suck at that 30 second "Elevator Pitch". But if you give us five minutes, we'll explain zentor. Promise!

Do you know what "Accelerator" means in the startup environment? Until recently, we weren't so sure ourselves. It neither refers to that pedal in your car nor the the particle thing at CERN. But both actually, aren't that far off...

An Accelerator is a special program, run by an institute or a company, to 'accelerate' startups. That includes providing content and access to a network of partners as well as supporting to sharpen the startup's offer and make it successful faster. zentor was one of ten startups that got accepted to the W1 Forward Accelerator programme of the Insurtech Hub Munich. Next to an amazing network into the insurance industry, we received lots of great input to our 'pitch', i.e. our short presentation about zentor. At DemoDay I was allowed on stage to hold that pitch in front of an invite-only audience — and the presentation was recorded.

You would like to know what motivates us and what we plan to achieve with zentor? This video clip summarizes it in five minutes — with a very kind intro by Tina, who btw. is revolutionizing mentoring with her startup Mentessa. Rolling, and action!