How can we create an entire economy geared toward good? Focusing on personal, social, and societal purpose.
I’m not an economist, a sociologist, or a psychologist. I am an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs constantly look for opportunities, hoping to find emerging trends or spot inspiration for new products or services. This kind of pattern recognition first helped me see the enormous potential for pro bono and has now helped me discern the underlying thread in what appears to be myriad emerging trends of the last decade. It’s helped me comprehend how they are all driven by the pursuit of purpose–together, they create the Purpose Economy.
In the last ten years, social innovation has become big business. Conferences and magazines are dedicated to the topic, and legions of consultants and entrepreneurs help individuals and companies adapt to this new way of operating. Under President Obama, the White House now has an Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
Harvard professor and corporate strategist Michael Porter launched the “Social Progress Imperative,” a global index that strives to look beyond gross domestic product and provides a ranking of countries globally, based on the extent to which they are meeting the social and environmental needs of their citizens. It is one of several similar efforts, including the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review, that focuses on aspects such as human rights and social impact rather than economic factors in order to evaluate nations’ progress.
The conversation about work is also rapidly evolving, with the emergence of new fields of research (such as positive psychology) and new search and recruiting firms focused solely on helping people find meaningful work. Search firms like ReWork, On- Ramps, Idealist, and Commongood Careers (which uses the catchy tagline, “Will work for social change”) are thriving. Books like Adam Grant’s Give and Take and Martin Seligman’s Flourish are redefining not just what drives employee engagement and productivity but what improves employee well-being. These new concepts inspire different approaches to management and careers. Applications from the best talent in the nation have flooded these firms, just as Teach for America has been now for over a decade.
A generation of Purpose Economy pioneers, like Whole Foods Market’s John Mackey and Virgin’s Richard Branson, are challenging others to follow their lead and to create new frameworks both to do well and to do good, which raises the bar for the business community and turns successful theories into movements. Richard Branson launched the B Team, a coalition aiming to go beyond traditional corporate social responsibility, and instead embrace what they call Plan B: “a plan that puts people and the planet alongside profit.” John Mackey and his team are promoting a new model for business he calls Conscious Capitalism, which inspired his book of the same name.
The Latest on: Purpose Economy
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The Latest on: Purpose Economy
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Goals for financial support Our work on economic recovery following natural hazards and disasters defines a set of build-back-better goals, and how they should be assessed. This kind of thinking ...
- Trump, the pandemic and "the economy": How progressives can fight his messageon April 5, 2020 at 10:14 am
After months of denial regarding the spread COVID-19, Donald Trump first embraced the role of being a "wartime president," then shifted again to wanting the war over immediately, saying, "We don't ...
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