Purpose Driven Innovation
Have you ever experienced this feeling, even if only for a fleeting moment? – The feeling of being in a zone. Your whole being – body, mind, and senses – is involved with an energized focus. Every action, movement, and thought follows naturally from the previous one. You are using your skills to the fullest and performing at your peak. Time flies. You ignore all temporal concerns – food, time, self. There is no separation between the subject and object - you are ONE with your surroundings.
Hungarian psychologist, former head of the Psychology Department at the University of Chicago, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named this state of mind the flow. Top athletes and artists commonly experience flow in their professions. We have witnessed such moments watching Michael Jordan flying and shooting baskets or Justin Thomas making multiple clutch putts in a flow.
Studies have shown that one achieves a state of flow when the challenge and skill level are both high. When your skill is high, but challenge is low, it creates boredom. If your skill is low and challenge is high, it creates anxiety and stress. When both challenge and skill match and both are high, you experience the flow.
Is it possible to experience this concept of flow outside of sports, music or the arts? Is it possible for us to experience the flow in our day to day jobs?
As business leaders, we often walk into complex situations with multiple stakeholders, conflicting priorities, sometimes driven by their perceived or real insecurities and egos. Personally for me, the process of getting to the core issue, untainted by hidden objectives or agendas, and then bringing alignment and inspiring teams towards a shared vision has given me some fleeting moments of this joyful flow.
More lasting flow can occur when an innovation is driven by one’s higher purpose beyond making a comfortable living. When the situation calls for an innovation tied to our personal purpose and meaning, we are inspired to raise up to the challenge, develop the highest skills needed to match the challenge. Of course, finding one’s purpose is a journey of its own!
One big challenge right in front of all of us today is the climate crisis. The sense of urgency highlighted in the November 2021 Glasgow COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, there is a lot of opportunity for meaningful purpose driven innovation purpose for many of us. As world leaders are pivoting towards a more sustainable planet with specific targets for their countries, business leaders, pressured by their investors and boards, are pivoting towards ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals and timing for carbon neutrality and supply chain sustainability.
The GEP sustainability team, analysing trillions of spend dollars and hundreds of billions of supplier contracts on behalf of our customers, has found a new purpose in helping our clients make a meaningful impact on their ESG goals, particularly in the Scope 3 GHG Emissions.
Find your own purpose in leaving this world in a better place – in climate change, diversity, equity, inclusion, or sustainability – and let us all do our part in moving towards a sustainable planet with a purpose driven innovation!