Innovation Is A Function Of Catharsis And Kairos

Mr Joe Doering

New Ideas have many ways to be created. One strong driver for humans to think about new ways of thinking, new ways to do to things, new products or new services is pain. Or better, a strong need or desire not to experience the same pain, the same drama, the same difficulty, the same embarrassment or the same bloody, sweaty or tearful (daily) burden or incident.

Most people reflect on their painful experience and learn out of it. People develop new ideas out of pain and misery by thinking about new ways right after the pain was felt. As per the old Greek Philosophy, the process of learning out of a drama is called Catharsis (in fact, this is brutally simplified, but the right direction and makes the point). To understand more about new ideas or inventions as basic pillars of innovations, it is worth to study and to understand what a good Catharsis is about. This finally leads to new behavior and finally to new management practices to drive innovation. Using dramatic occurrences, a crisis or a corporate drama to seed innovation is the passive way to deal with Catharsis as driver of innovation. To create painful changes, to create a crisis, to facilitate a drama or dramatic experiences (instead of ongoing corporate flat lining) are more radical thoughts to create inventions.

An invention or idea may be brought up years or weeks to early or (in rare cases) to late to solve a need or fulfill a desire and by that not become an innovation. Only an idea that comes up in the right moment, an invention that gets created in the right moment has the potential to become an innovation. The old Greek philosophy calls the right moment Kairos. Kairos distinguishes from Chronos (the running time) and is the point in time (the right moment, the right hour, the right year) when action leads into impact. When different flows of events interfere, connect and lead to a stage for something to be said (like “I love you”), something to be done (like saving a life) or something to be invented, then this is Kairos. Timing matters a lot to create an innovation (that is well known), thus the study and understanding of Kairology (the science of the right moment) may lead to new ways to read signs that indicate that an idea is not ready to be brought to market and that the impact of an invention will increase when applied later, at Kairos. Or that Kairos has been missed. Inventions out of a Catharsis have a good chance to hit Kairos if the Catharsis is experienced by a larger group, a society or the world economy.

Article © 2009 Mr Joe Doering. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Joe Doering

Mr Joe Doering

affiliation:   Nokia Siemens Networks

position:  Head of Asia South

country:  Malaysia

area of interest:  Innovation Management

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