Purpose

There is a big premium placed on creativity, human empathy, and speed in business today – but in the process of speeding up and deploying the latest technologies, companies forget why they are doing it in the first place. What they need is a purpose. In this issue of MISC, we explore the notion of purpose from a variety of angles to uncover how it differs from a company’s mission statement.

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Bringing Life Into Death

The desire to give death meaning is universal. Death allows us to understand that our existence is finite, and this in turn grounds us in our experiences. But despite the advancements humankind has made in the fields of science and technology, death itself remains one of life’s unsolved mysteries. If death has a purpose, what…

Lisbon’s Old and New

In her introduction to Neal Slavin’s 1971 photo book Portugal, 
Mary McCarthy observes that while people visit Portugal to see the old, the Portuguese insist on showing them the new. Having lived 
in Lisbon, I return often to visit the spots I know and love – but I am constantly reminded to visit all that…

Upgrade Your Living Room with Sé Collections

London-based furniture and lighting line Sé Collections strikes a pleasing balance between luxury and sleekness. Their mission to “reclaim the glamour and quality of 20th century furniture” has undoubtedly been realized, and since their launch in 2007, they have partnered with some of the best designers in the world to produce a collection of beautifully…

Millennial CEOs in the Making

Preparing Today’s Millennial Leaders To Become Tomorrow’s Great CEOs  In the not-too-distant future, we will see millennials joining the ranks of C-suites, becoming CEOs of large enterprises, and taking their place as the pre-eminent leaders of tomorrow. Today, millennials (roughly considered to be those between 18 and 34 years of age) are 76 million strong…

Face-to-Face Contact

THE RE-EMERGENCE OF THE ROOM IN A FLAT WORLD For the past 17 years, I have worked remotely at companies leveraging author Thomas Friedman’s “flat world” principles. With this in mind, it may be surprising that I’m about to extol the virtues of face-to-face collaboration. Many elements of most jobs can be done anywhere. If…

Repurposing Purpose

CONNECTING TO AN IMAGE OF THE FUTURE Let’s define purpose as “the reason for which we exist.” As humans, we have the ability to choose our purpose. In my 2011 book Consumershift: How Changing Values Are Reshaping the Consumer Landscape,
 I outlined a few common purposes people have based on the way they orient their…

ALWAYS x ALWAYS Towel

Read two pages, get uncomfortable, change position. Read two pages, get uncomfortable, change position. Repeat for two hours, get fed up of lying on the beach, go home mid-afternoon. Then, feel angry with yourself for going home so early on such a beautiful summer’s day – and for neglecting to finish your beach read. You…

Building a Better Bot

An Interview With Dr. Angelica Lim About the Future of a More Social Robot I had the opportunity to watch Dr. Angelica Lim speak at the FITC FutureWorld conference in Toronto this past summer. Maybe it was because of her positive enthusiasm about the future of robotics, or maybe it was due to her equally…

On the Origins of Progress

What do we mean when we use the word “progress”? How do we track progress? What drives progress? What is it that actually progresses? We all know what the word means, but I challenge you to answer these questions to your own satisfaction, let alone anyone else’s. Our collective inability to do so demonstrates the…

Rebranding Purpose

Having lived on the West Coast for several years now, I’ve gotten used to being asked things like “What is your calling?” at dinner parties. These questions used to always take me aback; I would awkwardly stand and swirl my wine around in circles trying to come up with something bohemian, yet coherent, to say.…

Reclaiming Aging

Finding Purpose in Later Life  By providing us with a healthy orientation to the future, a sense of purpose increases wellbeing – especially in later life.     Purpose Increases Health in Later Life Retirement age is often experienced as a time of loss. Not only of the opportunities of youth, but also of a…

The Illusion of Value

When Your Purpose Is Actually Meaningless Nothing you do is valuable. Prove me wrong on that, but for just a short while, I want you to entertain the idea that everything you work so hard at and believe so strongly in simply carries the illusion of value. I want you to challenge yourself to that…

The Business Case for Purpose

In business, “purpose” is the new black. 
It has become very fashionable for consultants and business professors to encourage companies to ask “why” they are in business. What is their raison d’être, beyond just making money? Or is that all there is? After almost 40 years of neoliberal economics, the prevailing and very entrenched answer…

Something to Believe In

Purpose is the Driving Force Successful Brands Need Successful businesses are built on the efforts and choices of two types of volunteers, both of which play very different roles in the ecosystem that nourishes
 an organization. These two types are more commonly known as “employees” and “customers”; however, categorizing them this way does not capture…

When Everything is Meaningless

Why Your Company Needs a Purpose Business is about making profit and creating shareholder value. Though there is nothing wrong with this statement, it does not cause conflict when companies put some profit toward charitable causes and social impact. But today, capitalism is having a mid-life crisis. Where do we go from here? Forbes proclaims…

The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes

Veganism is the coolest it’s ever been. Dinner parties are awash with vegan options, not to mention the many trendy plant-based restaurants popping up. Meanwhile, conversations around the benefits of a vegan lifestyle on both individual health and the environment abound. But there’s still one problem: No matter how much better veganism may be for…

The Purpose of Work in the Digital Age

Everyone, whether they’re 21, 41, or 81, shares many similar motivations for working. We work to put food on the table; to buy nice things that improve our circumstances and lifestyles; to wield power and gain status; to enjoy physical or mental pursuits; and, of course, to maintain our own identities. This last point is…

Performance Needs Purpose

This article originally appeared in the LSE Business Review. We’ve all met the eye-rollers. The leaders who say “business is business” and “people work to get paid.” The ones who leave “pastoral care” to the HR team down the hallway because there’s work to be done and money to be made. When it comes to…

The Challenge of Applying Science to Purpose

The concept of purpose is abstract, and it could very well be perceived as being at odds with science and its relentless pursuit of causal relationships. Indeed, in biology and genetics (my original field of study), purpose usually refers to some feature 
that has evolved under evolutionary pressure. The purpose of opposable thumbs is to…

Why We Write

Exploring the Innate Purpose of Language   “There are many people thinking overmuch about the encroachment of colloquial and slangy speech upon good English.” — Arthur G. Kennedy   The frustrated voice of Arthur G. Kennedy echoes through time, space, and the pages of the journal American Speech. His essay, “The Future of the English…

It All Starts with You: Three Secrets to Help You Become a Purposeful Leader

Where does great leadership begin? It’s obviously more than just experience, education, mentorship, inspiration, and vision. You need to look deeper than that and start with your very core. I am proud to have mentored some very successful CEOs, up-and-coming CEOs, and budding entrepreneurs, but I did this by looking inwardly too. Presented here are…

Owning Purpose

As the deleterious effects of neoliberal economics continue to pile up (income inequality, environmental degradation, job losses, increasing household debt, a shrinking middle class, 
a growing underclass, etc.), 
it’s becoming clear to many that the rules of the game need
 to change. The stock market, which was meant to be a source of capital 
to…

Purpose-Driven Companies

Overview Companies are using their influence to lead culturally relevant conversations that align with their brand’s core values, but are not directly related to their industry. Sustainable and ethical supply chains are no longer negotiable; instead, they are expected by consumers. This is prevalent in the fashion industry, where consumers are demanding a higher standard…

When the Purpose is the Process: Designing for Caregiving Relationships

Unpaid caregivers make up an emerging market that spans most industries. The number of people who assist, accompany, provide for, love, share with, or otherwise support their (mostly) elderly relatives or friends who live with acute or chronic health conditions has been rising steadily throughout the world, inspiring a wide range of products and services…

Be Trendy and on Time With a Caesarstone Wall Clock

Since 1987, Caesarstone has been gaining attention – and market share – for its premium quartz surfaces. From elegant kitchen countertops to premium stone flooring, Caesarstone has set the bar for modern interior design with its many color, shape, and design options. Joining the company’s line-up of contemporary quartz décor is the Caesarstone
 Wall Clock…

Regenerative Purpose

Companies exist not to provide solutions to consumers, but to facilitate the human experience. The decreasing life expectancy for corporations – which has dropped from a 20-year average in 1990 to a forecasted 14 years by 2026 – is indicative of the radical changes occurring throughout the world. S&P 500 also forecasts that 50% of…

Parlez-Vous Cancer?

Do you remember what it feels like to be 19 or 20? Were you carefree? Did you feel full of vim and vigor? Well, I’m right there with you for 19, but 20 played out a little differently for me. At 19, I was about to experience a whole new level of independence and to…

Millennials and the Myth of Purpose

As a millennial, I seek to live and work with purpose. I want a meaningful and fulfilling job. Well, that’s what Google tells me, anyway. As a millennial, I am not concerned with making or saving money. Owning things does not bring me the satisfaction I so desperately seek. Material success is not on my…

Pepper B. Pillows

The perfect throw cushion should imbue your apartment with an air of love and care, bringing an element of class to your sitting room while also creating a cozy ambiance for those days spent curled up on the sofa. It’s a difficult mix to find, but one that Pepper B. Design has perfected with its…

Practicing Mindfulness

A New Way Forward for Board Directors Leading in the Age of Distraction Today, we are experiencing a tidal wave of rapid changes sweeping every industry. Most boards of directors are ill prepared to confront the current and future challenges posed by new technological innovations, such as AI, machine learning, cyber security, robots, digital convergence,…

Learning from Liminality

The Importance of Purpose During Organizational Change Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten, the start of a new job, puberty, or retirement, change – even when it is welcomed – tends to be challenging to cope with. It’s no wonder that organizational change is typically considered a painful experience. While complex constellations of factors…

Digital Without Purpose Will Fail

It’s challenging to find a company today that isn’t at least attempting to advance as a digital business – but that doesn’t mean every digital initiative is a success. According to Michael Gale of PulsePoint group, 84% of digital initiatives ultimately fail. The reasons for these failures to launch abound, but they can include a…