The Book — “The Story of Purpose” by Joey Reiman

The Author

Joey Reiman was named one of the 100 people who will change the way the world thinks by Fast Company. He founded BrightHouse, the world’s first ideation company that has partnered with BCG to help companies become more purpose-driven. His breakthrough purpose methodology frameworks have been adopted by the likes of P&G, The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s and many other Fortune 500 companies across the globe.

The (very short) Summary

“Fortune 500 companies are where money is made. Purpose 500 companies are where money goes — because people like doing business with people who care about them.” — Joey Reyman, The Story of Purpose

When we add purpose to a brand, it becomes a stand. Enterprises that employ individuals who embrace purpose create more engagement, more money, and more ideas. Their people act more like volunteers for a cause (even for a quest), than employees going through the motions to get a paycheck.

Story is the new narrative for business. Stories shape our lives because we are why-seeking creatures. They can also tell us about the purpose of our work. Mission is a what. Vision is a where. And purpose is our why.

Joey Reiman provides us with an interesting schematics (see below, image from Joey Reiman) that brings us from the very beginning of our business and the reason we exist (Ethos, our why, our purpose) to the very concrete way we behave and act in our daily life (Tactics, our how).

The Big Idea

The core idea of the book is to look for your organization’s original idea in order to rediscover your story (your purpose) and build the Master Idea that will illustrate this purpose internally and externally.

The framework proposed by the author is called the Four I’s Ideation Process and is illustrated below (image from Joey Reiman).

It starts with Investigation during which you will gather information and data about ethos, company culture, visions, leadership, and stories of origins. These elements are clues to solving the mystery of who your authentic corporate self is.

Then Incubation is where you begin to think about your organization’s role in the world; why your brand matters to society.

Illumination takes your team to the intersection of your company’s unique gift and the world’s needs.

Finally, Illustration is the way to bring your purpose to life. How can you be, do and say your purpose to the world. You can take a look at some films that BrightHouse created here.

The Insights

How will we chose to do business in the future ? How can we push the story of purpose to the next chapter ? The author proposes a framework that positions organizations along a two axis, Operational Excellence and Soulful Excellence (Purpose) as you can see below (image from Joey Reiman).

The goal is to reach Camelot, as these companies are distinctive, therefore indispensable. People do not work at Camelot, they are called there!

If you want to know how far you are right now, there is Camelot test available in the book. By answering the eleven questions, you will be able to position your company on the grid.

Camelot is neither a goal, nor a destination. Camelot is an horizon. Organizations going in that direction are playing the infinite game and exists solely for the purpose of continuing the game and contributing to something bigger than themselves.

A perfect business model is The Earth that has been in business for 3.8 billion years based on a simple purpose: to support life. There is a chance that our companies will not have such a long life, nevertheless they can laearn from this success, for example through biomimicry as the famous biologist and “nature nerd” Janine Benyus does.

My Big Actionable Takeaway

Everything I do is driven by passion. In both my private and professional lives, I realized that without purpose, there is no passion and without passion, there is no success. Therefore I will continue to ask (including myself) the most powerful question I know: What is it for ?