Business time meets Kairos moments

Written by Dr. Ross Stewart,

Professor in the School for Business and Economics, and an intricate part of the SVPC planning

Social venture plans and project management generally, divide time into concrete pieces of time built around deadlines and certain deliverables.  The social venture plan competition is no different.  There is a template to guide our work with certain deliverables outlined especially the deliverable of the written plan itself that is sent to readers who give feedback and offer advice for improvements to the plan.  It is very much “business time!” Dates, deadlines, deliverables, and data – this can be routine and controlling.  This is very much clock time.  Time is recast into quantifiable time and your contributions to your group are measured by whether you have contributed to your group “just in time.”  Clock time rules!  The Greeks called this notion of time chronos — sequential and quantitative.  It is necessary to time-manage your social venture plan.  It is efficient!

The Greeks however had another notion of time called kairos. This is qualitative time – the idea that time is an in between time where something special happens.  Creativity, innovation, wisdom breaks in at the opportune time.  Your group in a sense gets “lost in time.”   Old ways of looking at an issue fall away and your social venture discovers a creative, new way of looking at an issue.  Your social venture suddenly – at the right moment— crystallizes around new solutions and ideas.  Business time is confronted with creativity and wisdom in an in-breaking of new thinking born out of frustration, anxiety, searching, questioning and experimentation.  This is something wonderful to experience and witness.  This is the beauty of being a social entrepreneur.  In a sense it’s God’s time.


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