Elvis & Kresse on The Purpose Driven Business - The Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture Series at UCL

Today I am speaking about what it means to build a purpose driven business at UCL - here is a little taster.

Purpose is popular. This doesn't mean it is new, but suddenly it is taking on an elevated role. Do a little online searching - Chief Purpose Officers are popping up with increasing regularity. But why?

In the business context there is no real agreement on what purpose means. In a narrow sense companies always have a purpose, whether it be making money, creating jobs, meeting a market need, eliminating an inefficiency or generating shareholder value etc. More broadly though we should be asking two fundamental questions from organisations that are talking about their purpose.

1. What is their purpose?

2. Do they deliver on it?

Ask the first question so that you know exactly what they mean and ask the second because if the answer is anything other than yes, absolutely, then their purpose is actually aspiration.

Elvis & Kresse was established to rescue London's decommissioned fire hoses. This was our first purpose. We have been doing just that since 2005.


Don't be afraid to evaluate an organisation's purpose too. For us, there is no point in pursuing narrow definitions of purpose that any business could claim. Purpose should be about goodness. It should be about making the world better. It should be about honour, ethics, transparency and sustainability because we don't have time for anything else.

It is wonderful that more businesses are aspiring to be good, we just want them to transition from aspiration to purpose a whole lot faster.

Keen to learn more from those delivering the best kind of purpose?

And to hear it straight from a Chief Purpose Officer who has been delivering solid good gold for years?

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