As some you may know, I love to steal ideas from the business world and see how they could be applied to my research group. We had a long meeting for planning our epic brain stimulation conference in May, after which I decided to mix things up and start a conversation about a near-philosophical question: "What is our reason for being (as a research group)?" The conversation that ensued was truly inspiring. The "reason for being" is often also called the core purpose (in the language of Collins and Porras) and is defined as something which cannot be reached within anyone's lifetime. It is not to be confused with strategy or goals of an organization.
The reason for being of our Carolina Center for Neurostimulation is to develop innovative treatments that heal patients with CNS disease.
I am sure you pick up on the not-so-subtle distinction to how today's medicine is mostly turning patients into patients with chronic illnesses that require lifelong medication treatment. Our reason for existence is to develop treatments that surpass current (pharmacological) treatments and heal patients by restoring brain function and structure. Tough challenge. YES! Solvable in the next few years? NO! A core purpose that motivates us to work extra hard and smart. YES!
What is your organizations reason for being?