Umair Haque on an idealistic yet non-icky definition of purpose in the context of business goals:
...the benefits to yesterday's myopic version of competition are eroding fast. Profitability, competitive advantage, etc, are less and less durable.
In this kind of world, it begins to make sense to do what you think is cool - yesterday, this was more risky than otherwise; today, the risk in both equations is equalizing. And, of course, it's far more satisfying to do something that actually means something to you.
Most simply, perhaps the truth is that purposiveness is a strategy that dominates the economics of hypercompetition.
I have developed a distaste for overt discussions involving mushy terms like "social responsiblity," "following one's bliss," "purposiveness" etc., a revulsion that exists in a certain state of dynamic tension with my abiding interest in the actual accomplishment of these things. Which is why I find Haque's hard, shiny language and sober reasoning refreshing--and props to him for daring to take back a five-dollar New Age word like "purpose."
In honor of the effort, here's another one: When most people use the word "integrity" they mean something noble and sentimental. To me, the other definition (as in "structural integrity") is entirely sufficient, as it accomplishes the same thing, but without dipping into the cloying smarminess of self-congratulation. I want to live in a world where integrity is structural, not sentimental.