Business as Art

A recent article in Forbes addressed the changing face of work and career, as millennials graduate and become business owners and company managers:

The new social entrepreneur will not only change the world, they will change the whole pattern of the playing field, as we know it.  They will create global engagement and succeed where we have failed.  They will live the meaning in their lives and make it their livelihood.  They will bring the words of David Bornstein to life…”Poverty is not only a lack of money, it’s a lack of sense of meaning.”

The article “Business Not As Usual: The Millennial Social Entrepreneur” addresses the transformed perspective of the current generation, under 30, towards work.

social entrepreneurship

More connected globally that ever, issues of poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation are foremost in their minds and it is meaning and purpose, not security, privacy, independence and financial gain unlike their parents and grandparents, that motivates them.

Poverty is not only a lack of money, it’s a lack of sense of meaning.

Citing “karma” as the zeitgeist of a generation, the article posits that young people will transform business, politics, economics and global trade in the way Jesus, Mohammad, Socrates, Gandhi and Mandela have transformed our world by their lives.

 karma business

Business and work it seems, are moving from the realm of science or craft, into the world of art form, imbued with meaning, purpose and spiritual significance.

Social entrpreneurship is a particular type of business with a social outcome, a hybrid of the charity with a NFP impact focus, but driven by a business engine. Drawing the best of capitalism and socialism together, social enterprise promises to unite the world politically and economically.

For the uninitated,  well known Australian social enterprises include Thankyou Group, a company selling every day consumer items, of which a percentage of the profits of each item directly contributes to food and water projects globally.

 thank youthank you group

This turn to meaning in work is another example of the general societal move away from a modernist thinking to embrace new narratives.  Modernism reduced narratives of meaning to the “fairy story” necessary for human happiness. Privileging rationalism, largely in reaction to the abuses of religion, modernists decried spiritualism as a mental projection or an “opiate” to dull the rational being.


Now however, having found modernism empty, post-modernists and millennialist seek meaning again in connectivity and creativity. 

The current generation is turning back to spiritual concepts of karma and transcendent meaning to seek justice, purpose and meaning with their work.

Is your work an art form? and what narrative of meaning motivates you in your sphere of influence? 

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