Sam is co-founder of Livity, a youth marketing agency working with young people every day to co-create socially innovative campaigns, communications, content and communities, for a range of clients from Barclays to Google to Tesco to ChildLine.
Sam was acknowledged as one of the top five of 50 New Radicals by the Observer and makes regular media appearances on The Politics Show, Sky News, Financial Times and Radio 4.
The chief purpose officer: 2017’s most essential hire
What do you do when you’ve got an idea and you’re not sure about it? you Google it. When Googling Chief Purpose Officer, nothing came back. Was it broken? But no-where else had it either. No job sites, no major online services, nowhere.
Yet, I predict this is the most important job role in the future.
The best thing I’ve done in the last 14.5 years is to co-create the marketing agency called Livity. An agency that is dedicated to helping young people. But, like any agency, we have to have clients.
As soon as you talk about bringing benefits into the world, you get downgraded into wishy washy. But that’s what we do. We do youth-centred design – based on user-centred design, and we always just start with the need of young people. And the most interesting challenge we face is a side effect of the our success. Other agencies inspired by our success are now beating us at pitches. Big agencies are taking our business model and trying to make a success of it. I’m not being morbid, but I started looking at business mortality rates. In 1965, most businesses lasted 60 years. In 2015, they last 15 years. Did I mention we’ve been in business for 14.5 years?
Now the sense is that new businesses need to innovate within 12 months or die.
A relentless focus on purpose and innovation
But how did things so change from 1965 to now? How did we get from business leaders who built schools into their factories – to Kim Kardashian?
Things slip and things slide. Some of the practices we have lead to social inequality. There is a direct line between this scenario and slipping business practices. Businesses need clear identity values culture and a clear vision. Purpose and innovation are the two most powerful ideas. Not profit.
Social enterprise is the future of all enterprise. This moment of social innovation is the opportunity for the ‘catalytic converter’ of business. The biggest contributor for greenhouse gases, the catalytic converter was a bolt on that cleaned up engine emissions while we waited for them to be improved.
Stewardship is back. But is it still true that it’s all about satisfying the shareholder? There are no billion dollar ethical investment funds. Things change. We need a Chief Purpose Officer to lead the way. The government won’t help us. The job does not exist yet, but we need to write it.