John Lewis Partnership

Helping one of the UK’s most famous businesses place sustainability at the heart of purpose

The Challenge:

The John Lewis Partnership, once at the cutting edge of business model innovation for the good of society, had not kept pace with the world’s most progressive organisations. Their Purpose, which 100 years ago was a radical manifesto for change, no longer had the same power to guide decisions, inspire and motivate Partners and win the loyalty of customers.

Our task was to create a new purpose that was true to the Partnership founder’s values and mission, but was modern, relevant and responds to the challenges of today and tomorrow – helping each of their businesses thrive for the next 100 years.

What we did:
- Co-creation
- Built advocacy
- Created a detailed roadmap

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Our Approach:

People who work at the Partnership are co-owners of the business and so it was essential to involve them at scale. Between June and September 2020 we co-created the new Partnership purpose and 10 bold new purpose-driven commitments with 10,000 Partners and 3,000 customers, suppliers and NGOs. We worked closely with the Chairman and the Exec, making them advocates of the purpose and its potential, and ensuring this influenced their decisions as they explored options for future business growth. 

The emphasis of our work was as much on ‘what we do’ as ‘what we say’ – and so a principal deliverable was a detailed roadmap for operationalising the purpose in every part of the business, and follow up with key teams. The new purpose launched alongside a new 5 year plan in October 2020.