Are Divinity Consultants the Hot New Trend for Businesses?

Can the sacred make for a better workplace?

Harvard Divinity School
Is Harvard Divinity School the new Harvard Business School?
Daderot/Creative Commons

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a consultant showing up to help right the ship of a company in distress? Maybe it’s someone who’ll transform that company’s image in a more forward-thinking way. Perhaps that consultant could figure out a way towards a more technologically inclined manner.

Less likely, you might think, is a consultant to help grow the levels of spirituality in an office or company. But according to a new article at The New York Times, spirituality consultants are all the rage in certain corners of the business world.

The article, by Nellie Bowles, offers a look at a new class of consultant often characterized by disparate backgrounds. The three founders of Sacred Design Lab met at Harvard Divinity School, but have backgrounds that include everything from being ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister to running a Harry Potter-themed podcast.

Pinterest’s co-founder Evan Sharp hired Sacred Design Lab; their work involved putting together a spreadsheet. Sharp noted that this involved bringing together a number of religious and cultural practices. He said that they “just tried to categorize them by emotional state: which ones are relevant when you’re happy, which are relevant when you’re angry, and a couple other pieces of metadata.”

And while this can seem strange at first, the work done by Sacred Design Lab and their contemporaries does speak to certain lingering concerns about the modern office — questions of community, grief and togetherness. It might not be the business trend people saw coming, but it’s not hard to see why it’s here now.

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