Niwa 5 3 – What’s in a name

A business, is more than the products and services it produces. There is cultural and social impact from how we work and create together, internally and with partners and customers.

The traditional org chart is static, often shown as silos, it’s non-integrated. And doesn’t represent all the life, dynamic collaboration and engagement with the surrounding world.

The modern organisation is increasingly agile and fluid – it is integrated internally and externally. Online communities, trading platforms, interest organisations, environmental groups, socio-economic and environmental considerations are – and must be apparent to both employees and customers.

Perception is Reality.

We aim to minimise the gap between them.

Your processes is your organisation – it is how you are actually organised. Often called the unofficial organisation by traditionally described and run companies.

The perception becomes, that there are two separate organisations. The reporting hierarchy shown by the ‘managements’ org chart, and the employees actual organisation only known to them – that doesn’t figure anywhere.

The perception becomes, that management and employees live separate realities – and that they therefore should be separate. With all the ramifications that follow.

Of course, many businesses are traditional in their structure and how they operate, and the traditional organisation diagram does represent their reality.

Niwa53 is created to represent reality, for all types and constructs of organisations.

Niwa – The Japanese Garden

Japanese garden with stream

The main activity of being a Zen is not to study Zen,

but rather,

to study oneself and regain one’s “original nature”.

Traditionally, Zen rock gardens are not meant for picnics or other recreational activities. It is a sacred realm for Zen monks to perform their daily practice. The Japanese word “niwa” that means “garden” nowadays actually denoted “a ritual space” in the ancient time. So how can a seemingly barren garden have such significance in those clergymen’s practice? In Zen Buddhism, reading scriptures and reciting prayers are considered to be superficial activities.

To attain enlightenment, one must also undergo long periods of sitting meditation as well as physical work. At the rock garden, Zen monks contemplate upon nature and search for the utmost freedom of the mind. The true purpose behind the sand raking isn’t to create something aesthetically pleasing but to train their own thought; it is, in other words, an implicit form of moving meditation.

From Dengarden


From Japanese; Gen – ? – Actual, Ba – ? – Place. Also spelled gemba – Real Place.

In Japanese meaning actual place or shop floor, and refers to the physical locations where work is performed. Our offices, workshops, factory floors, retail stores, farms, …

Gemba walks means to see the actual process where it happens, understand the work, ask questions, and learn. A concept developed by Taiichi Ohno, an executive at Toyota. It is also a fundamental part of Lean management.

The Gemba walk is an opportunity to take a step back, take yourself out of the equation and objectively evaluate processes and methods. The objective is to understand the value stream and its challenges – not evaluating performance or results. It’s an activity that brings management, as coaches and mentors. To the front lines to look for opportunities and practical improvements.

Business as an organism

The cell

Human cell

The cells in our body are truly making an Effort. They re-create and nourish every bone, organ and muscle. They are the amazing creators that supports and moves us towards our goals.

And like cells, every part of a business have external and internal connections, receptors and signals being transmitted. Nutrition being carried through the body, guided by the skills and memories learned through time.

And we must treat businesses… organisms, with the same care as our bodies.

Skin tissue cells

Like the humble skin cell, connecting along its lateral surfaces to create the human body’s largest organ – our skin.


And its countless nerves, simultaneously sensing our surroundings across our entire surface.

Niwa : Outcome, Culture, Effort, Input. Foundation

Our simple, yet heroic structure – the Effort, works in the same way.

And when you let cells grow, engage and experiment. There is no end to the diversity of ingenious, complex and wonderful structures and organism they will create.

Human body systems


organisation(a group of people)
system(a group of people)
(biology)tissue(a group of similar cells that function together to do a specific job)

A lovely Japanese word

A group of similar cells – similar yet not the same. Coming together in creating, re-creating and inventing the new that will shape their future. Forming experiences together that they carry with them.


DNA string - Helix

Our DNA, with its ATCG components, is the memory of the body carried forward. It has the next step build into it. Combining and evolving every time new life is created.

OCEIF is the DNA of business. “reborn” every day, with purpose. Living its own culture and engaging all those around it.

OCEIF is the DNA of our very personal foundation. All the Efforts we make, Cultures we engage with, all that we learn from others, our mistakes and successes.

Every skill and experience naturally activates and engage as we interact with our surroundings. The organisms we are part of.

Our OCEIF replicates, and creates, renews and repairs. And we can add to and shape it for life.

5 elements

The 5 classic elements

Japanese stone godai - The five classic elements

Not claiming the ancient wisdom of Persia, Greece, Japan or China.

Yet – focusing our Efforts on creating valuable Outcomes. Guided by our individual Cultures, collaborating with the Input from others in all its forms, with our coaches and mentors as Foundation to act independently and with responsibility. Should be as natural.

Newtons 3rd law

Any pressure creates an equal and opposite pressure.

Borrowed with gratitude from the more scientific: “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.”

We humans are, with our ~30 trillion cells each, physical objects – or beings if you prefer.

Don’t push,

But when we push each other. When we continue to push, and we push some more. Then it is not only our skin that bruises, it is more than our bones that hurt and break.

When we point fingers at each other, we when push others away. We push them to a place, mentally and physically, where they feel outside, no longer part of society, alone and unimportant.

When the pressure becomes too much. People will naturally exert all the pent-up pressure they’ve felt – all that pushed them away, on the nearest or random person. Often explosively and with great harm.

Unfortunately it is mostly themselves they exert further pressure on. Blaming and punishing themselves for being ‘different’.

The pattern of self-punishment, is common among people in high visibility and high pressure jobs. The perception is often, that they – by having the type of job they have, or the pay check that comes with it. Somehow are immune to pressure, should be “able to handle it”, or don’t deserve the same inclusiveness and care as everybody else.

instead – lift.

Use the same amount of energy, exert the same amount of force, do it as often as we would push someone. But use it to lift them. Help them out of the shadows, over obstacles, into the light, acceptance, inclusiveness. Listen to and learn from them.

It is the same lift, described by Newton’s 3rd law, that keeps airplanes soaring. Taking millions of people to new places every day. So they can engage with new cultures and widen their world and mind.

We must remember the people in high stress and high capacity jobs. Those we rely on in emergencies, to keep us safe and lead us in public and private.

Being an ER nurse, police officer or CEO. Capable of enduring and performing under extreme pressure. Doesn’t make them immune to outside pressure.

They too very much need care, attention and a lift.

Focus on Outcomes


how we mostly measure our performance

Outputs are our products, services, revenues and profits. Companies often report other outputs measured by a number, something we can rank, compare to previous year, relate to a stock market. These numbers all measure what the business is doing.


Outcomes describes the meaning our work has to our customers, employees and society. The difference we make to ourselves and our surroundings – to the future we want to create. This is why we exist.

Our outputs is funding our Outcomes. But without Outcomes, there’s no need for outputs.


Clarity for the individual participants in any activity is a must.

Being open about how we conduct business, where we source materials, how much energy we use, paying fair wages. Does not mean having to expose competitive secrets or be less competitive …

Begin with the end in mind.

Make sure the right people is in the same room, at the right time. Agreeing on what we are doing together – and why.

Agreeing on who is doing what and when, what success looks like – and what we are not doing.

Marck Mathiasen – Founder ZeroLedge

Photo by; Ldarin, Designua, Rob3000, Mozart3737

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