I felt first of all joyous. I felt that which joy is made of and I realized that Joy itself must have been the impelling force, that which was there before we were there, and that somehow Joy was in every ingredient of our making. I think Joy is the key word in our work. It must be felt. If you don't feel Joy in what you're doing, then you are not really alive . ”Louis Kahn, architect
Louis I. Kahn was one of our most innovative twentieth-century architects . Throughout his long career, he was always striving to help people find their place in the world; for him this was a joyous task. In a book that argues for creating space for the emergence of a new type of organization ”a peer-based organization ”I thought it fitting to open with a quote from a great builder of spaces. This, however, is not the only reason. Reading Kahn's writings and viewing his buildings have taught me that every practitioner of a discipline must find joy in creating. All visionaries, no matter their profession, have come to the same insight; namely, authentic human living is a joyful dialogue with the possibilities of being.
My particular interests are with the possibilities of business. Nowhere is it more important to find joy in creating than in the architecture of business space. You cannot make an organization unless you are joyously engaged ”at least not one worth working in ”just as working in a building that was not made joyously is itself a miserable thing. Designing, managing, and working in human organizations should be a joyous task. Whether you're an architect of a building, a business, or a life, your endeavor, to be personally meaningful, needs to be impelled by joy.
Today business is where the most influential ideas about human potential will be realized. Art Kleiner in The Age of Heretics (1996) says that "the purpose of a corporation is, and always has been, to re-create the world" (313). Yet how many of us involved in the creation, maintenance, and re-creation of organizational space find joy in this task? How many of us feel joyously engaged in re-creating our organization? How many of us experience joy working in our organization?
The current state of business does not allow the majority of individuals in corporations truly to enjoy their work. What needs to change so that all participants in business can experience a profitable increase in their own skills and competencies and bright futures in just and equitable organizations? What needs to change so that more people in these organizations will feel impelled by joy in their work?