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  • Don Capener, PhD

How Purpose-Driven Companies Are Redefining the Future of Business

By Dr. Don Capener (As seen in Smartech Daily)


The combination of AI, post-pandemic conductivity, and e-commerce is laying the groundwork for entirely new models of business. Geo-political strains and growing stress on supply chains are shifting the definition of “productivity” in the workplace. Out of this upheaval, new models are now emerging.


While no two ventures are exactly alike, the architects of several of these thriving new ventures are aligned around a set of principles that are redefining the nature of commerce for the coming decade. They are building a model we call Future 2035 — the nature and characteristics that will define the most successful businesses of the coming 10 years.


What Defines a Future 2035 Business?


Artificial Intelligence, video conductivity, and e-commerce allow many companies to operate virtually and as brick-and-mortar entities with more efficient methods of recruiting and retaining talent. Future 2035 companies will focus on what they are uniquely qualified to do well and where they can maintain high margins and barriers to competition.  


After discussing the concept of Future 2035 with business authorities who are also participants in these emerging models, we focus on the experience of one of my most dynamic former students, Matthew A. Chang. For the past seven years, Matt Chang has played a core role as the founder of Chang Industrial and its growing list of dbas and JV partnerships that include Chang Robotics, Kodiak Technologies, and other AI and automation partnerships emerging from the Chang Industrial’s IP Studio. 


Increasingly, Future Business Is Virtual


A key aspect of Future 2035 that Chang Industrial embodies is that it is entirely virtual and employs the functional principles of Agile project management and Lean engineering. This necessitates a much different style of leadership and management than the majority of pre-pandemic and traditional ventures.


However, the lean operation model — whether virtual or not — is key to the fast growth and financial outcomes that Future Businesses require to thrive by moving expansively and quickly and to achieve high profits in a highly challenged economy. In partnerships, the ability to enact massive innovation that is actualized efficiently and quickly allows the Future Business to change the world in immediate ways. It also makes the business (and others who follow this template) ideal partners to traditional Fortune 500 enterprises, where applicable, by shaving years of development time and millions of dollars in cost from its innovations. 


While it is difficult, if not impossible, for traditional enterprises to evolve their models entirely, Future 2035 partnerships start with lean and agile counterparts that can help them to continue to grow and thrive in traditional ecosystems by enacting dramatic developments more economically and quickly. 


Highly efficient structural dynamics are key to Chang and to multiple other Future 2035 companies we’ve observed. For example, Chang’s Kodiak Technologies group, meanwhile, is creating industrial EV technology for commercial snowblowers to enable EV support for some of the largest (and most rugged) equipment on earth from an entirely virtual team. 


Another example is Interorbital Systems (IOS), founded in 1996 and headed by co-founder and CEO Randa Relich Milliron, which employs a lean engineering model to create a revolutionary space launch system dedicated to providing ultra-low-cost access to space. IOS uses a Minimum Cost, Maximum Purpose (MCMP) model based on a radical simplification of systems, end-to-end in-house manufacturing, and the maximal reduction in the number of parts to achieve the lowest possible cost at the highest reliability. 


Currently, this company is on deck to provide specialized satellite and rocket products for nearly 200 cross-sector organizations, including NASA.


Beyond virtual and lean organizational structures, we’ve identified several additional characteristics that are core to the future of business success. 


The Tip of the Spear – Characteristics of Aspirational Companies

The Tip of the Spear: Characteristics of Aspirational Companies


Building a Future Business


Beyond Profits, Future Businesses Are Aspirational


The ideal company of the future transcends profit generation. It aspires to be an aspirational organization judged by a trifecta of success:

  1. Impact: The company’s positive influence on the community, nation, or even the world. This could be through environmental sustainability, social justice initiatives, or groundbreaking innovation that improves lives. (Think beyond #3 on your list).

  2. People: The quality of the workforce and the company culture it fosters. This includes fostering diversity, offering opportunities for growth, and prioritizing employee well-being. (Think #2 on your list, but with a more holistic view).

  3. Financial Performance: Profitability remains important, but it’s a means to an end, not the sole objective. Companies should strive for sustainable financial health that allows them to reinvest in their mission and impact. (Think #1 on your list, but with a twist).


They are Agile, Transparent, and Aligned to a Higher Purpose


In addition to the highest priority of impact, people, and financial success, these aspirational companies are also strong in these key areas: 

  1. Holistic Purpose: A truly purpose-driven company’s mission goes beyond just making money. Its overriding social and environmental responsibility (as well as its spiritual mission) drives every aspect of its operation and integrates with its financial goals. I can’t stress this priority enough: A recent HBR article notes that brands with a clear commitment to improving their customers’ quality of life outperform the stock market by 120%. Over the last decade, purpose-driven brands have seen their valuation skyrocket by 175%In one study of 28 companies over a 17-year period, the article reports that purpose-driven companies grew by 1,681% in comparison with the S&P 500 average of 118% over the same span. Do I have you convinced? 

  2. Stakeholder Capitalism: These companies prioritize the well-being of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. This includes employees, customers, suppliers, and the community.

  3. Agility and Adaptability: The future is unpredictable. Successful companies will be those that can adapt to changing markets, technologies, and societal needs. They’ll embrace continuous learning and innovation.

  4. Transparency and Trust: Building trust is key. These companies will operate with transparency in their business practices, environmental impact, and social initiatives.


In the case of the Chang Industrial and its ventures, Matthew Chang’s vision of breaking down compartments aligns closely with the aspirational company model like this:

  • Compartmentalize refers to dividing the company into separate departments (finance, HR, marketing) that often operate with limited collaboration.

  • The future company dismantles these silos, fostering synergy between departments. For example, the marketing team might collaborate with the sustainability team to create impactful campaigns promoting products that perform well and create lasting value.

  • Unlike fast-paced startups focused solely on growth, aspirational companies prioritize long-term value creation. Speed isn’t everything; responsible growth that considers social and environmental impact is key.

  • Investing for Impact: These companies go beyond traditional philanthropy. They might invest in promising startups within their community or industry, creating a ripple effect of positive change, as we’ll examine in more detail in the sections to come. 


Future Businesses Require New Kinds of Funding 


Traditional VC and IPO funding is typically not available for Future Businesses for a variety of reasons. By its nature and structure, Future Business doesn’t fit the classic template of VC funding, which favors companies that are built to exit. There is an abundance of Merger and Acquisition activity in these businesses as they align or create new inter-related organizations.


However, their driving impetus is growth through perpetual and meaningful innovation, high impact, and long-term value creation – values that are hard to interpret and track within a traditional business fund or a growth plan focused primarily on the 16 quarters of growth that would allow for a successful acquisition or an IPO. 


The ideal investors for a Future Business are private investors, family offices, or impact funds uniquely created to facilitate and benefit from the aspirational values and high innovation factor of a Future Business’s results.


Interestingly, the future business is also nicely aligned to take advantage of and to magnify the results of federal and other municipal funding for impact programs such as environmentally sound and net zero operation, for migration away from fossil fuels, and for recycling/repurposing and other innovation that can mitigate the crisis of climate change.


In fact, the nature of the dynamic and purpose-driven future company can serve to teach the government how to innovate as well, within the ecosystem it creates.


At its highest fruition, the successful future company itself may become one of the most ideal resources for early-stage funding to lift other aligned Future Businesses. 


Future 2035 Companies Invest in Other Promising Startups


“Why don’t founders invest in startup companies in their ecosystems?” Matt Chang frequently asks. But as always, the nature of Future 2035 is the answer – without the lean and efficient structure of a Future 2035 business, companies would not have the financial wherewithal to help finance a start-up from the ground up. One of the most exciting aspects of a Future 2035 is its ability and willingness to become a source of funding to lift promising startup organizations.


The successful Future 2035 company serves not only as a model but also as an incubator and catalyst for many other promising ventures. These younger ventures, with the help of the investment “hand up,” can, in turn, accelerate the growth of still more aspirational businesses that can adopt these principles to provide investment and mentorship into additional others in a continuing cycle. Combined, this activity creates a virtuous cycle and the model entrepreneurial ecosystem for any region of the world.


Most entrepreneurs and organizations are familiar with the 1% Pledge originated by Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. The Pledge 1% commitment is about giving back to the community as a global initiative that encourages businesses of all sizes to contribute 1% of their time, product, profit, and/or equity to “give back” programs and philanthropical projects. 


However, Matthew Chang is committed to driving the spirit of giving back and re-investing in another realm – particularly as an organization with a highly spiritual foundation. He has committed the Chang organization to fund and launch the annual Jacksonville Venture Competition (JVC). The team has also directly invested in multiple synergistic companies to rise through that program. He also encourages other organizations to join with him to contribute a full “tithe” of 10% of their earnings to investment in other worthy startups. Here again, the investments of money and mentorship are paving the way for additional Future 2035 companies to rise.


Of course, it is interesting to note that this level of contribution would be difficult or potentially impossible for traditional VC-funded or publicly traded organizations. The current economic climate may increasingly require a virtual structure and lean/agile model to create a level of profitability high enough to make a 10 percent reinvestment possible. But for any organization that is willing to commit to this goal, Matthew believes the payoff to all involved – business, employees, communities, and government – the outcomes will be exponential. 


Conclusion 


While the bar may seem high, the coming decade will be the most remarkable yet in American and world history. The concept of the Future 2035 business is far more than a dream. It is a model for a more sustainable and equitable future. By prioritizing impact alongside profit and operating with the long-term goals and ecosystem as a North Star vision, Future 2035 companies are likely the most powerful (and profitable) forces for good.


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Real Crackers
Real Crackers
Jun 25

I've learned so much from your blog. Keep the great posts coming!

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