A global Head of Brand at one of our top 10 rankers last week made some interesting points. In particular, she stressed the importance of sitting down with others to exchange ideas and discuss how to rally leadership, employees and partners behind the idea of purpose.

Her interest in collaboration confirmed to us that the mindset of today’s leaders is changing and, consequently, reshaping business thinking in the 21st century. Our 2016 research confirms these views. This year’s Index is defined by one overarching concept: collective thinking.

Our research highlights this exciting cross-pollination of ideas. Brands are working together for a common goal. Start-ups are leveraging the big companies’ reach for wider impact. Corporates are looking to start-ups for innovative business models and engaged cultures. The not-for-profit sector is partnering with corporates for wider change. Everyone is getting involved.

Management thinker and futurist Dan Tapscott neatly sums this up as “the age of networked intelligence”. Today’s business leaders are empowered by access to collective intelligence but also driven to make a positive impact on the world. Organisations with purpose can make just such a lasting impact. It is no surprise that Unilever, ranked number one Fit For Purpose company for two years running, has developed the Unilever Foundry, a global platform for collaborating with innovative start‑ups.

This year’s report is our small contribution to this collective thinking.

We believe brands with purpose should hardwire it across their Communications, Performance and Behaviours. So, over the last couple of months, we’ve measured how well purpose is embedded across a company’s business strategy, targets, KPIs, internal culture and external communications.

This report showcases the best examples of brands that have achieved this. Our aim is to celebrate those that are getting it right and to provide inspiration for those on the journey.

Whether you are just defining your purpose, or looking for improvement, you will find inspiration to take your purpose to the next level.

In our second year of Fit for Purpose, we spotted some new trends across the top 100. The greatest? 83% are showing strong collaboration across the board – from competitors to peers to start-ups to employees to consumers.

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