A few years back I read this little blue book Ikigai.
Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.” When combined, these terms mean that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose. Ikigai is similar to the French term “raison d’etre” or “reason for being.”
Ikigai is the union point of four fundamental components of life: passion, vocation, profession and mission. How you arrive at your Ikigai is by asking questions, mapping it out, reviewing it and most of all, building a system that will consciously develop your sense of Ikigai.
Now, Ikigai may not have been intended for the professional world but what if we could map the Ikigai of our businesses, products, services, teams? Here’s why. Ikigai helps focus on a particular sphere of activity that makes for a worthy existence. It gives a sense of purpose. It is like your North star but with four well defined components charted it out in a Venn diagram. For example, I could chart the Ikigai of one of my chatbots. It serves the following benefits-
- Ensure Clarity of Purpose: As the product evolves, stakeholders feedback can trickle in through multiple phases providing new ideas, perspectives and feature requests. Ikigai provides (and reminds) the team a clarity on what you need to be focusing and prioritizing for.
- Evaluate Impact: Beyond quantitative and measurable insights from your analytical tools, it provides you the ability to measure the intangible, yet invaluable, impact of your product to your organization.
- Ensure Alignment: It is an effective strategy for aligning all teams around a singular goal by serving as a guiding light that helps make better decisions. Ensures we’re all on the same page.
And so I borrowed the concept to sketch the Ikigai for one of my conversational AI chatbots. For this one (and I believe for most) it was to Provide the best Conversational User Experience (CUX) to it’s users. I will do another blog post on what encompasses a great CUX but for now, the clarity and sense of purpose conveyed through Ikigai was well worth the effort. It’s a great way of visualizing, communicating and obtaining consensus across the board on the big Why. Why my bot should jump out of bed and show up everyday!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Would you consider Ikigai for a professional effort?