The Purpose Wheel by IDEO

Inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and what motivates human satisfaction, IDEO created a purpose framework called the Purpose Wheel. The development of a sense of purpose starts by imagining various ways an organisation might have impact on the world.

The Purpose Wheel drives conversations about future goals, and ultimately create a foundation that the organisation’s leadership can align on before sitting down to write out the statement that answers “the why.”

The center of the wheel proposes five ways a company or organisation might have an impact on the world. Each slice answers the “Why do we exist beyond profit?” question in a different way.

  • We exist to Enable Potential … Creating impact by inspiring greater possibilities. (Tesla, Nike)
  • We exist to Reduce Friction … Creating impact by simplifying and eliminating barriers. (Google, Spotify)
  • We exist to Foster Prosperity … Creating impact by supporting the success of others. (Pampers, Warby Parker)
  • We exist to Encourage Exploration … Creating impact by championing discovery. (Airbnb, Adobe)
  • We exist to Kindle Happiness … Creating impact by inciting joy. (Dove, Zappos)

The outer wheel is there to push your imagination and force you to consider how your company might make an impact. With it, you continue to engineer your purpose statement: We exist to (inner wheel) through (outer wheel) to impact society for the better.

Patagonia: We’re in the business to save our home planet.

The North Face: Pushing the limits of innovation and design, so that you can push your limits outdoors.

Looking back at the wheel, you can see how the engineering of Patagonia’s purpose statement could be enable potential, while The North Face could be encourage exploration.

Download the file for The Purpose Wheel by IDEO