Insight by Richard Thomson

Any organisation is the sum of its people. When those people are all pulling in the same direction, it moves forward. If they pull in opposing directions, the result is a lot of wasted effort.

That’s why every organisation – businesses, charities, scientific institutions and more – needs to communicate its purpose. At Kaptcha, we make purpose-driven videos (films, animations, live and hybrid events) which bring people together and help organisations communicate with their customers and employees. And we think that it’s a particularly important time for ventures built on the sciences to discover their voice.

Purpose is the reason that the people in an organisation get out of bed each day. It’s the motivation for every employee, and it’s the reason customers are prepared to spend their money with one company rather than another. In his best-selling book and hugely popular TED talk, “Start with Why”, the author Simon Sinek says that what companies do is nowhere near as important as why they do it.

The Royal Institution itself is an excellent example of an organisation with purpose: it has many areas of activity, but everyone at the RI is “dedicated to connecting people with the world of science.” Whatever their skills, role or profession, everyone in the RI strives towards that goal. Purpose inspires, motivates and connects people.

And communicating with purpose works. Our film for Andiamo, a children’s prosthetics startup, helped them to raise $5m. Our virtual event for the NSPCC “reminded the audience of why we are needed and what we do… and brought the purpose of the NSPCC into people’s homes.”

Now more than ever, organisations specialising in the sciences, commercial or otherwise, should be communicating their purpose; because we find ourselves in extraordinary times.

On the one hand, there has never been a better time to put science front and centre. A science-led response to the pandemic (not just medicine and life-sciences, but more broadly the idea of ‘following the science’ and an evidence-based approach) has put the discipline and its professions in the spotlight.

On the other, the pandemic has kept people home, without access to the scientific world – whether that’s jobs, lessons or museums – limiting access to education and ambition. Worse still, we have all experienced the effect of post-truth politics where, especially online, the very idea of facts has been under sustained attack.

Science has always fought for the truth, the value in keeping an open mind, the rigour of questioning and the joy of discovery on each new horizon. And today, our children need the foundations of scientific endeavour more than ever; for critical thinking and for hope in solving the problems of their generation.

In a world where we all feel a little more isolated than usual, science organisations and businesses must communicate their purpose. It’s not just how they will do better business. It’s how they will attract the best talent on a global stage and bring the next generation into STEM vocations. It’s how they will motivate a diverse and now often remote workforce, and so support our economy.

Everyone can explain what they do. But science is a community, and it’s why we do what we do which brings us together.

This article also appears on the Royal Institution website. Read now.

Read the Royal Institution’s article about livestreaming with Kaptcha. Read now.

Richard Thomson

Richard is CEO of Kaptcha. He cut his teeth at the BBC, where he directed some of their biggest and most engaging shows including Top Gear, Crimewatch and Holiday. Bringing these skills to the corporate world, he then launched the multi award-winning HSBC TV. Today he harnesses the power of film to tell the engaging stories behind the brands, creating real change in the way audiences – internal and external - feel and think.

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