A student perspective by Xiaoyue Chen, 13BBA
Successful entrepreneurs often encounter a spark that motivates them to start a business. That initial inspiration can get lost due to drastic shifts in the competitive landscape. Without a purpose, even a financially successful company will find it difficult to adapt to an ever-changing market. Professor Joey Reiman’s new book, The Story of Purpose, discusses the significance of growing a business through the lens of purpose, which Reiman defines as the distinctive mission of a business. Uncovering the truthful purpose is a process which ultimately leads to a brighter brand and a long-lasting legacy.
Named “1 of 100 People to Change the Way the World Thinks” by Fast Company magazine, Reiman has been teaching at Emory as an adjunct professor for 12 years. Reiman also runs the world’s first ideation company, BrightHouse, which assists clients in revealing their brands’ purposes. Reiman says that the notion of “purpose,” the essential inspiration of a company, is an elevation of the “master idea” concept from his previous book, Thinking for a Living. It is only with purpose that a company can create timeless brand messaging that benefits the entire society.
The Story of Purpose is filled with anecdotes illustrating that having a purpose not only contributes to public life, but also brings excellent business performance. Most of the stories in the book come from Reiman’s clients including McDonald’s, Newell Rubbermaid and Delta. Students enrolled in Professor Reiman’s Ideation class have opportunities to talk to some of the same business leaders featured in his book. One class session included hearing from Chief Marketing Officer of SunTrust bank, Rilla Delorier, named one of the most powerful women to watch in banking.
The “4 I’s Ideation Process”, a framework that BrightHouse utilizes to help clients identify their purpose comprises of Investigation, Incubation, Illumination, and Illustration. To help students apply the “4 I’s” to the companies that they analyze in class, Professor Reiman connects students to C-level executives in order to uncover the purpose of the firm’s original inspiration. Students learn how a company’s purpose must be adaptable to today’s business context, while also contributing to public life.
The expectation for students is to gain a sense of their own purpose. “If my students can walk out and find why they are here, I know I have done something truly noble,” says Reiman. To help us students discover their own purpose for being, Reiman gives each student a $25,000,000 check, deposited in the Bank of Dreams and encouraged them to envision their true calling.
The Story of Purpose is a must read for aspiring business leaders. “You can have money and meaning,” says Reiman. “Usually when you have meaning, money follows.”
Xiaoyue Chen, 13BBA