Linked inTwitter

A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Purpose



Please see below selected recent purpose-related change.


See also:


July 2023


March 2023

  • Andrei Tarkovsky, in his diaries, said that human life as a whole does not have a clear purpose because then, a human would be slave to that purpose. Unlike animal or plant, whose life has a clear purpose - to reproduce, a human being can willingly "exit" the biological purpose and live another sort of purpose and life. However, this vastness of options for purpose that humans have often also leaves them confused and purposeless - what is to be done, what to choose among all of those options? To find a purpose can be even harder if life is deemed as meaningless.


December 2022


June 2022


October 2021


May 2021


April 2021


January 2021

  • After a year unlike any other, business leaders are looking ahead to what 2021 will bring. Eventual emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic will introduce an unprecedented set of challenges for governments, businesses and communities around the world. People increasingly expect businesses to be part of the solution. The confluence of health, and economic crises and growing societal expectations means that 2021 is the year when talking about corporate purpose must pivot to meaningfully acting on it, noted EY. The EY CEO Imperative study found that “67% of CEOs feel moderate to extreme stakeholder pressure to address global challenges,” a number that rises by 10 percentage points for leaders of the largest organisations.


December 2020

  • A study found that while 65% said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, only about 26% actually do so. Too often we take the ‘easy’ (i.e. more guilty) option due to ignorance, confusion, convenience or affordability. Or all of the above. The desire is there, but sustained action remains frustratingly inconsistent and piecemeal.
  • Even before the pandemic, attention to corporate purpose was on the rise. Stakeholder groups, from investors and regulators to employees and customers, have increased pressure on businesses to address humanitarian, social, and environmental problems. A third of global assets under management today are screened for ESG considerations and investors are taking increasingly activist stances for sustainable corpo­rate practices. Employee and consumer pressure is also growing. The reputations of some tech firms have been undermined by allegations of inequitable working conditions inconsistent with external statements, brought to light by employee whistleblowers, noted McKinsey.
  • Businesses in the vanguard of sustainability, including Unilever, Interface, Ikea and DSM, came together to craft a new set of recommendations as to how the wider corporate community can embed a purpose aimed at tackling the climate crisis and social inequalities across business.
  • According to research from Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) and Fortuna Advisors, companies that score high on corporate purpose metrics outperform their low-scoring peers on a range of metrics, including financial performance, market valuation and shareholder value creation. The researchers used a tool from BERA Brand Management that measures corporate purpose by looking at a range of metrics – including employer brand, societal commitment and inclusivity.


October 2020


September 2020

  • Purposeful people tend to live longer and healthier lives. One longitudinal study found that a single standard deviation increase in purpose decreased the risk of dying over the next decade by 15 percent - a finding that held regardless of the age at which people identified their purpose. Similarly, the Rush Memory and Ageing project, which began in 1997, finds that when comparing patients who say they have a sense of purpose with those who say they don’t, the former are: 2.5 times more likely to be free of dementia, 22 percent less likely to exhibit risk factors for stroke and 52 percent less likely to have experienced a stroke.
  • McKinsey argued that life purpose can be mapped to nine universal values. We all have access to all nine to some degree, but the exact mix is unique to each of us. The firm's research uncovered three common patterns based on these values: the free spirit, the achiever, and the caregiver.


August 2020


July 2020

  • In recent years, noted Quartz, management theory and corporate messaging have swung away from the orthodoxy of shareholder capitalism, back to a more balanced view of the purpose and beneficiaries of the firm: a company exists to serve not only its owners, including those who have contributed even small amounts of capital, but also its workers, customers, suppliers, and the community and environment surrounding it


June 2020


February 2020

  • Deloitte’s 2019 Millennial Survey found that millennials share a growing view that businesses focus on their own agendas rather than considering wider society - 76% agree with that sentiment — and that they have no ambition beyond wanting to make money (64% agree). It also is likely influenced by a continuing misalignment between millennials’ priorities and what they perceived to be business’s purpose.
  • Lots of companies say they want to balance profit with purpose, yet fewer than 3,300 have become certified "B Corporations". Their ranks are growing, however, and they have a great deal to teach other companies about success, according to Quartz’s essential lessons from the world of B Corps.


January 2020

  • Companies are no longer just responsible for making money. In The New Purpose of Companies, Quartz at Work explored organisations that feel a growing responsibility to their employees, communities, and the planet. 
  • Quartz noted that, by modern standards, the World Economic Forum's s first manifesto, published in 1973, was pretty “woke.” Of course, the need to “harmonise the different interests of the stakeholders,” as the WEF put it back then, hasn’t necessarily been backed by much action in the decades since. This year, the WEF updated its manifesto by downplaying the primacy of profits and promoting an agenda the skews stakeholder-y. Of the six thematic tracks that guide the official forum program, the most sessions are devoted to “Society” (89) and the least to “Economy” (27).


November 2019

  • The British Academy argues that a purposeful business will organise itself on all levels according to its purpose. It proposes eight principles for business leaders and policymakers:
    • Corporate law should place purpose at the heart of the corporation
    • Regulation should expect particularly high duties of engagement, loyalty and care on the part of directors of companies
    • Ownership should recognise obligations of shareholders
    • Corporate governance should align managerial interests with companies' purposes and establish accountability to a range of stakeholders through appropriate board structures
    • Measurement should recognise impacts and investment by companies in their workers, societies and natural assets both within and outside the firm
    • Performance should be measured against fulfilment of corporate purposes and profits measured net of the costs of achieving them
    • Corporate financing should be of a form and duration that allows companies to fund more engaged and long-term investment
    • Corporate investment should be made in partnership with private, public and not-for-profit organisations that contribute towards the fulfilment of corporate purposes.


August 2019

  • Ever since businesses were granted limited liability in Britain and France in the 19th century, there have been arguments about what society can expect in return. It is this framework that is under assault. Part of the attack is about a perceived decline in business ethics, from bankers demanding bonuses and bail-outs both at the same time, to the sale of billions of opioid pills to addicts. The main complaint is that shareholder value produces bad economic outcomes. Publicly listed firms are accused of a list of sins, from obsessing about short-term earnings to neglecting investment, exploiting staff, depressing wages and failing to pay for the catastrophic externalities they create, in particular pollution. However, while far from being against shareholder value per se and advocating healthy competition, The Economist argued that a competitive economy requires an effective government- to enforce antitrust rules, to stamp out today’s excessive lobbying and cronyism, to tackle climate change. 


May 2019

  • Big Think noted that the Japanese word ikigai translates roughly to "to live the realisation that one hopes for" or "that which makes life worth living." It's a concept that refers to the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs from you, and what you can get paid for. In essence, it is what one's purpose in life is. Research published in the journal JAMA Network Open suggests that having a purpose in life is linked to living longer and healthier.


January 2019

  • An article in The Philosopher’s Magazine argued that we have no soul, no fixed self, and no inherent purpose. We exist simply because we exist, tiny specks on a small planet in an infinite universe, and not because a god made the Earth for us. This conception, called “naturalism,” leaves many people feeling deeply uneasy—consciously or unconsciously - and casting about for meaning.


December 2018


September 2018


August 2018

  • Many of us have a strong feeling that there is a job out there that could properly satisfy us, allowing us to develop our potential and talent, argues the School of Life. But we may remain troublingly vague about what exactly this ideal job might be - and what our talents and interests really are. We feel the clock ticking mercilessly, and are always under pressure to earn money and secure status. We tend to suffer this dilemma in private, feel ashamed of doing so, and wonder whether progress can ever be made.


June-July 2018

  • Profit and purpose are converging, argued Harvard Business Review. Over 80% of millennials report that making a positive difference in the world is more important to them than professional recognition. They no longer believe the primary purpose of business should be to make profit, but rather to create social value. On the investor side, more and more shareholders demand tracking and reporting of both positive and negative externalities, compelling some of the largest corporations on earth into action. Customers overwhelmingly prefer products tied to a social cause. A significant majority of citizens want changes to how society governs itself—and therefore how problems get solved—and also changes to the corporate status quo. Not surprisingly, more and more businesses are becoming certified for their social responsibility practices.


Pre 2018

  • Alain de Botton wondered out loud what many must feel inwardly, i.e. why, if many or in some cases most of our waking hours are spent at work, do we rarely challenge the basic assumptions that lie behind this time-consuming, life-altering activity?
  • According to 2017 research by EY, business leaders are significantly overrating how their employees experience their organisation’s purpose. Based on a survey of 1,470 executives globally, “Is your purpose lectured – or lived?” shows that more than one-third of employees feel there’s a disconnect.
  • Finding and fulfiling what you consider to be your purpose must rank among the greatest of all assets.
  • Gert, Danish mariner and yogi, often thinks about his death. He wishes to die consciously in his home, and ‘full of days’, which is how his grandmother described her sense of fulfillment at the end of life. Until then, he seeks peace through his yoga practice, his study of Native American teachings and simple routines aimed at balance and mindfulness.