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…

Life With Death

Surviving Mortality and Overcoming the “Crisis” of End-of-Life Care   When was the last time you thought about your own death? Not because the possibility of death was imminent – rushing toward you on a busy highway or following you too closely on a deserted street – but because you were interested: feeling curious or…

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…

The New 40

Supporting the Sandwich Generation of 2020 I remember my father’s 40th birthday well. My parents had just finished renovating our suburban house, and they decided to have a party to celebrate and use the new space. It was 1990 and I was ten years old. I spent the evening trying to keep up with my…

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 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…

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…

If You Build It, They Will Care

Designing Empathetic Spaces and Objects 
for the Future of Caregiving “There is no doubt whatever about the influence of architecture and structure upon human character and action. We make our buildings, and afterwards they make us. They regulate the course of our lives.” —Winston Churchill, addressing the English Architectural Association, 1924 “It doesn’t
 make you…

The Gig Economy: Finding Purpose in Precarity

In 2016, Gizmodo published an article highlighting the disconnect between gig-economy heavyweight Lyft and its employees. The article noted how Lyft had shared what 
it thought was a cute story about one of its drivers – the company praised a pregnant employee for continuing to work even as she went into labor. Bryan Menegus, the…

Back to the Future

Will the next game changer be something we already know — and love? Industrial machines. Flight. The internet. These were all big, impactful game changers with a lot of moving parts and a complexity that only the most expert of us could
 fully understand. But what if the next game changer isn’t nearly as complex?…

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…