Do you have Ba?

By Maria Church, Sierra Vista Herald

I have worked with many organizations where creativity reigns, including several of our local organizations. Innovation and knowledge creation are extremely important in today’s global marketplace – even for nonprofits and governments. Many organizations thrive on innovative ideas and others struggle with creating new knowledge and innovative goods and services. What is the key to knowledge creation?

According to two Japanese researchers, Ikujiro Nonaka and Toshihiro Nishiguchi, organizations must have what they call “ba” present in the organizational space for knowledge creation to occur. Ba, loosely defined, is an energy by which knowledge and innovation are created.

In order for ba to exist, the organizational culture must have love, care, trust, and compassion. These four elements are absolutely necessary for knowledge creation. Yes… love, care, trust, and compassion are necessary fundamentals in an innovative organizational culture.

If we are not innovating and moving forward, then we are moving backwards. Static and neutral are misperceptions in the marketplace. If your organization is not innovating, then it is dying a slow death.

Do the values of love, care, trust, and compassion exist in your organization? If not, why not? What can you do to shift the energy? What can you do to invite ba in? Remember, as Gandhi stated, “We must be the change we wish to see.” Let’s bring love, care, trust, and compassion back into our work, and back into our lives and let the creativity flow.

Dr. Maria Church, CPC, is a leadership coach, speaker, and author of Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance.

Read the article: Church, M. (2014). Do you have ba? Sierra Vista Herald.



  • dhurst said:

    The Japanese word ba literally means “space,” but it can be a physical, virtual, or mental space or any combination of these. It has been described as a “shared context in motion in which knowledge is shared, created and utilized.” (Nonaka and Toyama, 2002)

    Ba is often represented as a sphere, a geometric object with minimum surface area and maximum volume. Basho is the “space of spaces” in which all the different ba are connected. Ba is a complex notion and difficult to grasp when explained in prose. In Western thought, it is better expressed by poets, who focus on the intensity of experience in space and time; Walt Whitman and T. S. Eliot, in particular, come to mind.

    Organizationally I think of it in ecological terms as a "sweet zone" between the twin spiral traps of excessive stability (competency trap) and excessive change (failure trap). Ecosystems left to their own devices usually find their way to this place in space and time where they are in a dynamic balance between stability and change.


    October 22, 2014 11:49 AM
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