"We make doors and windows for a room. But it is the spaces that make the room livable. So it is that, while the tangible offers us advantages, it is the intangibles that present usefulness."
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, circa 600 B.C.
A decade into the twenty-first century, we continue to struggle with the basic premise of Lao Tzo's insight. Structure is important and can be beautiful in itself. But, ultimately, structures exist to provide something more.
Political ideologies, economic theories, governance models, social movements and even families are given shape according to the rules and frameworks we build. Why? Our structures provide the space in which ideas and opportunities can be realized.
Structural elements can be more readily recognized and understood in ways that ideas cannot. Perhaps inevitably, in the press of daily tasks, the focus may shift from the challenge of realizing an idea to the maintenance of those structural elements. Structure stands in place of the as yet unrealized potential, easier to point to and defend. The vision may become mere slogan, its intent fading into the background as an assumed result of an unknown future time.
This issue is explored in a new online course and accompanying text that is currently under development within the IRM Strategies imprint. The Klaris Strategy (working title) integrates organizational development and recorded information for knowledge resource management.
To contribute to the progress of this work, please contact John James O'Brien.