Purpose News: February 2017

by Andrew Ripley, Co-Founder of PurposeMatch. Follow us on Twitter: @PurposeMatch and @AndrewRip

Here’s some interesting news from around the world on the topics of purpose and social impact…

Zuckerberg and His Wife Gather the Best Scientists and Engineers to Find the Cure for All Diseases

Talk about an ambitious goal! Cure all diseases? Well, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, believe that we can "cure, prevent or manage all disease during our children’s lifetime.”

To do so, they've launched a $3 billion initiative, and hired 47 of the brightest minds to compose a medical research organization called Biohub.

Biohub is a diverse group of scientists, technologists, engineers whose work vary from imaging cells, developing biochip technology, and studying the transmission of malaria. They come from three key premier research universities Berkley, UCF, and Stanford. According to the organization, the three university partners provide the very backbone of Biohub’s work. “Our investigators come from these outstanding research institutions, and their faculty will be an integral part of our day-to-day operations here at Biohub,” it said. More scientists from other research institutions will be added on to Biohub as the organization grows.

Staying on the topic of Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard Business Review wrote a leadership article titled "What Mark Zuckerberg Understands About Corporate Purpose"

The article takes a look at Mark Zuckerberg the nearly 6,000-word letter that he published as a defense of both globalization and Facebook’s business model. In it, he argued that Facebook thrives under a globalized socioeconomic system, where barriers to information, labor, capital, and products are minimal.

The rest of the article, by George Serafeim, Professor at the Harvard Business School, takes the lessons from Zuckerberg, and illustrates how to craft a good statement of corporate purpose.

Research by myself and others has shown that purposeful organizations outperform their competitors; in his letter Zuckerberg is clearly attempting to outline a sense of purpose for Facebook. But research also suggeststhat people have a large degree of cynicism toward business leaders who speak about purpose. Senior management tends to have a greater sense of purpose than middle management, who in turn have a greater sense of purpose than lower-level employees. Senior management may try to cultivate a sense of purpose, but employees are generally not buying what they are selling.

Zuckerberg’s letter offers a lesson in how the purpose of an organization can be communicated in an authentic way. His treatise does several things well, including making purpose specific to the organization, articulating the how, identifying market voids, accounting for competitive positioning, measuring what matters, committing to mastery and progress, and acknowledging challenges.

The rest of Serafeim's article outlines practical steps on how to build purpose into your organization. Great read!

The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important

And finally, sticking with our futuristic theme, we once again look at an article in the Harvard Business Review, which I believe is particularly relevant to those who are designing their lives and careers for the next 20, 30, or 40 years.

We all know that Artificial Intelligence, automation, and robots are going to
massively disrupt the future of the global economy. Lots of jobs will disappear forever, while new jobs will be created that we can't even imagine yet. So how do we stay relevant in this new economic frontier that we're entering? Focus on developing the skills that technology will never be able to replace. The qualities that make us human. We're talking about emotional intelligence.

The booming growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), like most transformational technologies, is both exciting and scary. It’s exciting to consider all the ways our lives may improve, from managing our calendars to making  medical diagnoses, but it’s scary to consider the social and personal implications — and particularly the implications for our careers. As machine learning continues to grow, we all need to develop new skills in order to differentiate ourselves. But which ones?

It continues...

It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade.  Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.  Unfortunately, these human-oriented skills have generally been viewed as second priority in terms of training and education.  We’ve all experienced the doctor, financial planner, or consultant who is more focused on his or her reports and data than on our unique situations and desires.

For better or worse, these skills will become essential to anyone who wants to stay relevant in their field as automated systems proliferate.  We have three recommendations:

  • Don’t fight the progress of technology. Machine learning and AI have the ability to improve outcomes and lower cost — so don’t fight the robots. Welcome the change in your industry and work to make it fruitful and complementary.
  • Examine your own capabilities interacting with, motivating, and assessing people. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to emotional intelligence.
  • Invest in developing your emotional intelligence. The simplest way is to change your mental model about what is important in your role, and begin focusing on how you can better manage, influence, and relate to others.  Or, take it a step further by seeking out training and stretch opportunities.

What you have to offer — what you can do better than any smart machine — is relate to the people around you.  Begin to nurture and invest in these abilities the same way that you have the more technical parts of your career.  If you can be an outstanding motivator, manager, or listener, then you will still have a part to play as technology changes your industry.

This article, in it's entirety, is a must read for anyone who's interested in the future and how to prepare for it:

https://hbr.org/2017/02/the-rise-of-ai-makes-emotional-intelligence-more-important

And finally, we'll close with a particularly relevant quote, from President John F. Kennedy...

Purpose News: January 2017

by Andrew Ripley, Co-Founder of PurposeMatch. Follow us on Twitter: @PurposeMatch and @AndrewRip

Happy New Year! Here’s some interesting news from around the world on the topics of purpose and social impact…

The "James Bond of Philanthropy" Gives Away the Last of His Fortune

I love this story about an amazing man - Charles F. Feeney, who just finished contributing his entire $8 billion net worth to charities.

None of the major American philanthropists have given away a greater proportion of their wealth, and starting in 1982, Mr. Feeney did most of this in complete secrecy, leading Forbes magazine to call him the “James Bond of philanthropy.”

His name does not appear in gilded letters, chiseled marble or other forms of writing anywhere on the 1,000 buildings across five continents that $2.7 billion of his money paid for. For years, Atlantic’s support came with a requirement that the beneficiaries not publicize its involvement...

During the early 1990s, Mr. Feeney met secretly with paramilitary forces in Belfast, Northern Ireland, urging them to drop armed guerrilla conflict and promising financial support if they embraced electoral politics. Atlantic grants paid to create a public health system in Vietnam, and to provide access to antiretroviral treatment for AIDS in southern Africa. The last rounds of grants, about $600 million, included support for Atlantic Fellows, described as young emerging leaders working in their countries for healthier, more equitable societies.

Speaking of wealth... it just so happens that Having a Sense of Purpose not only makes you happier, but it could also make you wealthier...

We already know from past research that having a greater “sense of purpose” is good for us psychologically: it’s linked with experiencing more positive emotions and generally feeling better about life.

Now a study in the Journal of Research in Personality suggests there are material benefits too. Researchers followed the same sample of people over a period of about nine years, and they found that during that time, those individuals who reported a greater sense of purpose at the study start had accumulated greater wealth. 

And finally, as we noted last month, Purpose was a major theme at the World Economic Forum Conference. 

In fact, here's another article, this time from the CEO of Royal Phillips, Frans van Houten, about "Why Every Company Should be Innovating with Purpose."

Mr. Van Houten details how Royal Phillips has implemented this strategy....

Meantime, global leaders gathered to tackle grand challenges and, from their collective discussions, were borne the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Among these, three – ensuring healthy lives; responsible consumption and production and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development – were areas where we knew Philips could make a great and lasting contribution.

We knew we could put the company on the right side of history by decisive transformative action and by redefining our purpose to improving people's lives through innovation. We determined to become a focused health technology company that would serve customers right across the health continuum – from healthy living and prevention, through effective diagnosis and treatment, to home care – where the cycle to healthy living could be restored again.

We undertook a huge internal transformation to sharpen our customer focus, step up innovation, improve productivity to ensure competitiveness, change our culture and simplify our ways of working so that our size and scale became a competitive advantage rather than a bureaucratic hangover after years of diversification.

Definitely worth a read, and you can check out the entire article here:

Why Every Company Should be Innovating with Purpose

 

Oh, and by the way, looks like even the Pope is talking about Purpose!

Pope urges the faithful to help youth find purpose

So here's to a purposeful 2017!