The Virtue of Play

"For all the virtues will be present when the one virtue, practical wisdom, is present." In his writings about practical wisdom, Aristotle states that to take the virtuous and ethical action is to achieve the golden mean between two extremes (which he calls “vices”). For instance, acting with courage is virtuous, while having a deficiency…

Fueling the Evolution of Blockchain Technology

From Play to Innovation The United States Air Force (USAF) was one of the first organizations to chart technological progress. In the early 1950s, the team looked at the development of aerospace technology to determine whether there was a pattern to the speed of innovation. Since aerospace was one of the fastest moving frontiers in…

Thinking Design Thinking, One More Time

This is an updated version of an article 
I wrote in 2007 while waiting for a flight. I think it is time to revisit and update 
this article, as “design thinking” is in a very different state today than it was
 10 years ago, with organizations practicing it to different degrees of maturity. Before my…

Cautious Play

Taking a Purposeful Approach to Innovation   In 1956, President Eisenhower set in motion the largest public works program in history: the creation of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (also known as the Interstate Highway System). The program was envisioned as a grand solution for addressing problems of road…

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…

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…