Kensei

Two Heavens in One

Two Heavens in One

In our country, it is the Way of the Warrior to wear them whether the reason is understood or not – Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings (translated by William Scott Wilson)

All samurai wore two swords. In fact the two swords are the symbol for the entire samurai social class. I’m sure there were many samurai that never questioned why there are two swords. Some may have questioned the purpose only to accept the conclusion that it has always been so. Then there is Miyamoto Musashi, the only samurai deserving of the title kensei, Japanese for sword saint.
He challenged tradition. He decided that both swords should be used. Instead of the traditional method of gripping one sword with both hands, he innovated by holding a sword in each hand. Thus allowing him to use both swords at a time.

When you put your life on the line, you want all your weapons to be of use. Your real intent should not be to die with weapons uselessly worn at your waist.  – Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings (translated by William Scott Wilson)

Don’t be like the other samurai who were blind to the fact that their greatest resource was at their tied at their waist. There is always untapped resources around you. Most often it’s the people.
Open your eyes. People are multifaceted. Everyone can offer insight drawn from different aspects of their life. Solutions to problems can often be found when someone on the team draws from their experience from the  rock climbing adventures over the weekend, the book they’ve been reading, or what they learned at the whiskey tasting event yesterday evening.
Be receptive to suggestions and breed an environment that doesn’t discourage risky ideas.

Unbridled enthusiasm for new, risky ideas is just as dangerous as a complacent attitude. Allow your workforce to pursue a variety of interests but also communicate extensively the purpose of this initiative. This will focus the combined processing power of your entire workforce and evoke inspiration in places you wouldn’t have imagined.

Entropy

Entropy is the amount of disorder a system has.

Disorder can be detrimental. But some level of disorder is important, even needed, for generating new ideas and being creative.

New, exciting materials are first created because of chemical reactions. These reactions can only occur when molecules interact and collide with one another with sufficient energy.

A Crystal Lattice

Let’s consider for a moment the converse: a perfectly ordered system. In chemistry, a perfectly ordered system would be a crystalline latticed structure at absolute zero – the molecules are completely stationary. Entropy is zero.

These molecules cannot move around or recombine into new molecules. New things cannot be created in this environment. If we put this into the context of an organizational structure, we would find a bureaucratic and hierarchical environment. When an organization is highly structured and bureaucratic, new ideas and innovations can get stifled and suffocated.

Introducing entropy to an ordered and organized system will help the system become more conducive to creativity and innovation. When a shock to the system is not opposed and embraced, budding ideas will be able to interact with each other, morph, recombine, evolve and grow into full-fledged working ideas. Innovation and creativity are sparked.

Be wary not to introduce too much entropy. When the idea-nurturing environment is in disarray, ideas will die and get lost in the chaos.