Why your organization needs more wabi sabi


We live in a world where perfectionism is the norm. It starts in school where we are taught that only a 10 is perfect. We are in constant pursuit of the best: the best car, the best coffee, the best movie, the best song, the best beach, the best company, the best employer, the best employee, the best idea. All supported by even more perfect, glossy magazines, red carpets, top 10 lists, prizes and shiny awards. And of course our hunger for a perfect world makes absolutely sense. Perfectionism shouldn't be thrown in the bin. Nobody wants the worst part.

However when it comes to creativity and innovation perfectionism is a treat for you and your organization as: •    It postpones you from taking actions, since everything has to be perfect. •    It limits your beliefs. •    It takes away energy. •    It consumes a hell lot of time. •    And it kills you creative and innovative power. We must accept imperfection and need more wabi sabi.

Wabi sabi is a concept derived from Buddhist teachings and includes "It's beauty of things imperfect." It's the opposite view of perfectionism. Let it be clear that it's not about celebrating failure. It's about embracing learning. And it's about testing over and over again until you reach the perfect product, the perfect service, the perfect business model, the perfect experience. Like Thomas A. Edison said:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Here is a very simple, yet powerful exercise to train your wabi sabi skills. •    Look for things that are broken or damaged. •    Look at it from different angles. •    Try to (re)discover the beauty in the imperfect. •    Make a picture of it and write down your observations in a notebook. •    Ask yourself what inspires you? What's so special? •    And apply this inspiration elsewhere. Or see if you can link up with your own ideas. Try, test, experience and learn to grow by the beauty of the imperfect.

Accepting the imperfect will empower you to take actions, to take the next step and to show of stuff that is already good enough for the world. It will allow you to step out of your comfort zone and to take the next step in your hazardous innovation journey.