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.