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Pay Haiku

Edwina Pio, a management professor at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, has researched the use of haiku in business. Based on her work with various organizations and leaders, she suggests that the form of Japanese Zen poetry of 17 syllables set in three lines of five-seven-five syllables can function as a powerful catalyst for change and innovation.

It is best to do this in a group. Try asking people to sit quietly for a few minutes and then focus on one major issue which is of concern to them. This must be expressed through the rigor of just seventeen syllables. Some people will find that this cryptic form of poetry flows from them; others will feel that they need more time. Gentle insistence on experimentation facilitates and unloosens people. Discuss the haiku, explore it, and analyze it.

Like the elevator pitch, the haiku forces you to focus and concentrate on your challenge as simply and clearly as possible. Has anyone actually tried this? How’d it work?

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