Searching for Purpose with J. Reiman

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.  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 that are enrolled in Professor Reiman’s Ideation class actually get to talk to the business leaders featured in the book.  My favorite session was with the 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 Investigation, Incubation, Illumination, and Illustration. To help students apply the “4 I’s” to the companies that they analyze in class, Professor Reiman connected us to C-level executives to uncover the purpose of the firm’s original inspiration, which needs to be adaptable to today’s business context, and at the same time contribute to public life.

Joey expects his students to walk out of the classroom with a sense of one’s own purpose. “If my students can walk out and find why they are here, I know I have done something truly noble,” states Reiman. To help us find our own purposes of being, Joey gave us each a $25,000,000 check, deposited in the Bank of Dreams and encouraged us to envision our true calling.

The Story of Purpose is a must read for both aspiring business leaders and hungry students. “You can have money and meaning,” Reiman says. “Usually when you have meaning, money follows.” For students in his class, there is a priceless extra gift: Reiman helped us conceive a castle of inspiration in the sky, and then equipped us with business knowledge and dream currency to start constructing the foundation.

Xiaoyue Chen, BBA13


This entry was posted in In the Classroom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.