Robert Pirsig

I was sad to read of Pirsig’s death a couple of weeks ago. His book “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” had a profound effect on me when I read it as an impressionable teenager and the concepts he expounded have stayed with me ever since.
From a marketing point of view, the concept of static and dynamic quality is worth exploring.
What is static and dynamic quality?
Dynamic quality cannot be defined but can be described as the force of change in the universe moving towards higher and better value.
It is recognized before it can be conceptualized. This is why the dynamic beauty of a piece of music can be appreciated before a static analysis explaining why the music is beautiful can be constructed.
Pirsig says when an aspect of quality becomes habitual or customary, it becomes static and it turns into static patterns.
These static forms of quality are given names, described and interchanged with other people, thus continually building the base of knowledge for a culture.
The important thing here is to recognise the importance of both static and dynamic quality.
Dynamic quality is by definition chaotic, creative, pushing boundaries, destructive, disruptive and undisciplined.
Static quality takes this disruption, formalises it, turns it into systems and processes and incorporates it into the culture, but it can also have negative aspects in terms of closing down options, putting up barriers, setting boundaries.
They work together – without dynamic quality nothing would change; without the ratcheting effect of static quality, nothing would be retained and built on.
Does this sound familiar?
In all organisations, we need to find ways to release creativity and innovation without constricting it to established thought-patters, but we also need to capture successful innovation and turn it into workable new patterns of activity.

How is your organisation doing this?
RIP Robert Pirsig