Purpose 2018


Last month an event was held in Sydney I received a scholarship to attend.  I was told I was going to get a lot out of it.

That was an understatement.

We’ve all been to conferences, workshops and seminars, most with many things in common - windowless rooms with not an ounce of style or atmosphere, instant coffee and mints in bowls scattered around the room, tired sandwiches and endless plastic bottles filled with ‘fresh’ water. We expect it, so are not disappointed.

After Purpose 2018 nothing will ever be the same.

The event was staged - and I use that word lovingly - at the coworking space Commune, a huge industrial style set of buildings and once the factory for Porters Paints. The venue was broken up to seven areas with names like “The Beach” which was actually on the first floor, “The Green Garage” and the aptly name “Porters Studio”. Each part of the Purpose ‘playground’ was designed and styled uniquely and it was bright and comfortable. Lounges, armchairs and even a bed if you needed a quick lie down.

Fully catered, the two day event welcomed us with free flowing barista made coffee and tea made for us by the social enterprise Darcy St Project. No disposable cups here - we brought our own reusable cups or had to use the ‘ugly mugs’  provided. Dan the Man created delicious food made with seasonal fresh, local produce and there were water filters throughout the venue so we could re-fill our own reusable water bottles. So far so different &  the conference hadn’t even begun.

“Purpose 2018 is the place for purpose-driven business. It’s about new economies and next-generation sustainability in companies. It tackles responsible entrepreneurship and human well-being”

- the Purpose website


These were the themes of Purpose 2018. Technology is changing us. The future of work is up on us. There’s a new economy emerging, but we’re in some dark and dangerous times. In the midst of all of this, Purpose persists in asking: How can business be a force for positive change in the world and for ourselves? How can we make technology work for the common good? And how can we adapt to a transforming world with our humanity intact?

Big statements and even bigger questions. We, the participants at the conference, considered  these over two days whilst having our thoughts and beliefs challenged, our minds flipped with ideas and possibilities, our voices heard and the way we look at business and our lives, ultimately changed.

Speakers riveted us to our seats, blew our minds and showed us just what is happening in our world - what we are doing to our world - and how we can make a difference. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. There were workshops on building business models for profit and purpose, mental health at work and how we might live together in the future.
Panels on the climate of resilience, the responsible entrepreneur and ethics and technology. Yet I save the best until last - the keynote speech by environmentalist, entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken on the morning of the first day. This legend of sustainable business spoke about his latest project “Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”. He outlined what is happening to the world and how global warming is actually more serious than we would like to believe. He then filled our minds with what it will take to reverse the damage done. Personally I was left reeling from his talk and yet inspired at the same time. (I bought his book and will be reviewing it over the coming months,so be prepared).

Purpose 2018 was like no conference I have ever been to before. From the location to the catering, from the speakers to the atmosphere, everything was unique and just how a conference should be - informative, educational and inspiring. Crafted by the female-led WildWon, the attention to detail was brilliant and there is really only one word left to say

- Love -