Ruth Hartnoll on questioning systems through a purpose-driven lens - Kathy Varol
Ruth Hartnoll
November 24, 2022   |   Episode #: 043

Ruth Hartnoll on questioning systems through a purpose-driven lens

Show Notes:

Ruth Hartnoll is the CEO and Co-Founder of Matchstick Creative, a purpose-driven creative agency based in Liverpool, England. Matchstick Creative is a certified B-Corp. Since its founding in 2018, the company exists to create a more equal world through well-told stories and shared experiences. Matchstick Creative only partners with businesses that are trying to do good in the world.

The Matchstick Creative name is summed up with the phrase: “Ignite an idea, spark a conversation”.

Ruth is also a board member of the Liverpool Combined Authority Digital & Creative Board and the Co-Founder of Firestarters, a purpose-driven networking community that seeks to bring about positive change in the world.


In this episode we discuss:

✅ Successful ingredients for building a strong work culture
✅ How a marketing campaign for a purpose-driven organization differs from a non-purpose-driven organization
✅ The journey of becoming a certified B-Corp (including lessons learned)


Key Takeaways: 

  • If a process isn’t working for you, you can choose to create something that does. The creation of Firestarters was a great example of that. Ruth and her colleague didn’t feel welcomed at the standard networking events that were available, and they weren’t getting anything out of them. So, they decided to create their own. A different format that would appeal to the countless other people in their city that cringe at the thought of a standard networking event.
    If something isn’t working for you—if you feel constrained or alienated by it—there’s a very good chance you’re not the only one. That discomfort is a message, and an invitation, to create something new.
  • Building off that, it’s powerful to consider the question “who decided to do it this way, why, and who benefits from it being this way”.
    We are always evolving.
    Over time, established ways of doing things almost always become outdated. The structures, processes, and norms that used to work can become a burden to progress.
    For example, new ways of working are needed when your company shifts from a sole focus on financial maximization (that only considers shareholders in decision-making) to a stakeholder approach that considers not only shareholders but also employees, consumers, society, and the planet.  Old ways of boosting short-term profits can now work directly against your new stakeholder objectives. This includes mass layoffs to reduce overhead (and decimate cultures), slashing research and development to reduce costs (along with the future competitiveness of your company), or cutting corners (and damaging consumer trust).
  • Most of us are taught the Golden Rule as children. “Treat people as you want to be treated.” It’s a simple but powerful rule that far too often is completely overlooked. When the Golden Rule is applied consistently it can transform interpersonal relationships, it can transform communities, and it can transform societies.
    Take a moment to reflect on where you wish the Golden Rule had been applied to you. Close your eyes, and let yourself really remember how that felt.
    Then consider where you could have done better applying it yourself. Take one moment and visualize that you did act in accordance with the Golden Rule: imagine how the interaction would have unfolded differently; how the other person would have responded; and pay attention to how you feel as you watch the Golden Rule alternate version unfold in your mind’s eye.


If you’re interested in learning more about the B Corp certification process:

Site Design Rebecca Pollock
Site Development North Star Sites