In organisations there is this constant tension between structure and disorder. Hierarchies, processes and systems are put in place to create frameworks for order. We also see similar in culture both inside and outside of organisational life - those manifest ways of doing things or living our lives to create a sense of order.
Yet at the same time there is always disorder - an unstructure at work. Perhaps it's in the background or only apparent in the breaking of the above organisational or cultural rules. Perhaps we call it innovation or freedom to act. Perhaps we see it as something beautifully human.
So this piece on time and entropy (that measure of visible disorder) makes me realise that we rarely embrace disorder as a natural consequence of time. In our minds we like to fight against it to put things "back in the box" when the reality is we just can't. All we can do is to use our energy in different ways to try to coalesce into new forms or groups. A constant move to disorder that we can shape for only limited amounts of time before it breaks down.
A fundamental rule of the universe, not just of organisations or human culture.
One of the few such concepts in physics (and life!) is that things tend to become less “tidy” as time passes. We describe this using a physical property called entropy that encodes how ordered something is. Imagine a box of gas in which all the particles were initially placed in one corner (an ordered state). Over time they would naturally seek to fill the entire box (a disordered state) – and to put the particles back into an ordered state would require energy. This is irreversible. It’s like cracking an egg to make an omelette – once it spreads out and fills the frying pan, it will never go back to being egg-shaped. It’s the same with the universe: as it evolves, the overall entropy increases.