Rethinking Purpose

MKTG 574 | Stanford Graduate School of Business & Hass Plattner d.School

Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor of Marketing, Stanford GSB
Naomi Bagdonas, Lecturer in Management, Stanford GSB
Tom Bedecarré, Lecturer in Management, Stanford GSB

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve or a goal to chase. It’s not.

Recent behavioral research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 5-10 years, raising the question, ‘how might we build organizations and lives that cultivate happiness?’ Research suggests it is better to aim for meaning. In Rethinking Purpose, we explore how to rethink purpose in work and life. Students will hear from guests and take a field trip to see teams and companies operationalize purpose. We’ll harness design thinking principles to create personal moonshots and a path to continue to find those moonshots over the life course and at work. Lastly, we’ll map out how to use time in ways that would help build innovative teams, products, and ultimately lives that have meaningful, lasting impact in the world.

About the Course


  • Gain insight on the behavioral research on happiness, meaning and impact.

  • Share frameworks that allow students to (a) rethink happiness to aim for purpose, (b) gain insight on how to identify personal moonshots, and (c) adopt a design thinking process to refresh those goals over time and across contexts.

  • Learn how to operationalize these goals by how to use your time.


  • MKTG 574 | Stanford GSB

  • Dates of Class: January 27, 29, 31 and February 10, 12, 13, 2020.

  • Time: 3:00 – 5:50 pm PST (February 13, 11:45 am – 1:15 pm)

  • Location: GSB Co-Lab M101D (unless specified)

Winter 2019 Highlights