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Kintsugi, also known as “kintsukuroi,” is a Japanese art form that involves the repair of broken pottery using lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum. The term “kintsugi” translates to “golden joinery” and the philosophy behind the art form is to embrace the imperfections and the history of an object, rather than disguising or hiding them.

The concept of kintsugi is to highlight the cracks and breaks in the pottery rather than hiding them, making the repair a part of the object’s history and giving it a new beauty and value. The gold used in the repair process symbolizes the idea that breaks and imperfections can be transformed into something even more beautiful.

The art of kintsugi is believed to have originated in the 15th century, and it is said to have been invented by a Japanese shogun’s favorite tea bowl broke, and a craftsman suggested fixing it with gold, rather than discarding it. The shogun was so pleased with the result that he ordered all of his broken bowls to be repaired in the same way.

The philosophy of kintsugi can be applied to many aspects of life, it encourages people to embrace their own imperfections and to find beauty in the things that have been broken. It also encourages people to appreciate the journey and the history of the things, rather than focusing solely on the end goal.

Image from Austin Kleon


Embracing and celebrating failure: A business leader can apply the concept of kintsugi by embracing and celebrating failure, rather than hiding it or pretending it didn’t happen. By highlighting and repairing mistakes, a leader can show that they are learning from them and growing stronger.

Emphasizing the value of experience: A business leader can apply the concept of kintsugi by emphasizing the value of experience, and the importance of learning from the past. By valuing the history and journey of a company, a leader can create a more resilient organization.

Encouraging creative problem-solving: A business leader can apply the concept of kintsugi by encouraging creative problem-solving and experimentation, rather than sticking to tried and true methods. By embracing new ideas and taking risks, a leader can find new ways to innovate and grow.

Promoting transparency and open communication: A business leader can apply the concept of kintsugi by promoting transparency and open communication, rather than hiding or ignoring problems. By being open and honest about mistakes and challenges, a leader can build trust and create a more collaborative and resilient team.

Further reading:


Will Bachman