The Opportune Time for Innovation
Explore the duality between Cronos and Kairos and their impact on the opportune time of innovation.
Juan Andrés Ochoa
Juan Andrés Ochoa

In the complexity of our daily routines, we often find ourselves captive to chronological time, that relentless rhythm that the ancient Greeks associated with Cronos, the god who devoured his children. This perspective of time is a universal constant, marking the passage of each day with the same indifference with which the seasons change.

However, there is another notion of time, one less tangible but more significant in human experience, which Rafael Echeverría, a Chilean philosopher, describes in his book, The Turn of the Gaze ( El Giro en la mirada). It is the time of Kairos, the opportune time to escape the uniformity of Cronos, offering different nuances, densities, and unique opportunities.

The book reminds us that “The Greeks had at least two words to refer to time,” differentiating between the unalterable time of nature and human time, which “entails different densities, enables different actions, and seems to pass at unequal speeds.”

The Distinction between Cronos and Kairos

The time of Cronos is what we observe on our watches and calendars; it is measurable and predictable. We are often in a rush in Cronos’ time. Still, the time of Kairos, the opportune time, is subjective and fluctuating, resonating with the experience of the athlete who, in antiquity, detected the right moment in which to shoot the arrow or the moment in the race when he could overtake his competitors.

Echeverría urges us to recognize those moments of Kairos in our lives, those fleeting instants that cannot be measured but are full of potential. It is not enough to run faster to be a good runner; There are moments in the race when it is advisable to wait. But there are others when taking advantage and advancing or attacking is appropriate.

In the professional and personal sphere, this reflection on time challenges us to be more present and aware of the moments that matter. It’s not just about moving with the current of time but knowing when it is essential to act, when it is prudent to pause, and when it is vital to seize the juncture.

The notion of Kairos is particularly relevant today, especially in innovation, where speed and efficiency are often valued over reflection and opportunity. Echeverría’s lens invites us to contemplate when and how we live each moment.

Ultimately, this concept becomes a powerful tool for leadership, change management, and personal development. It teaches us that recognizing and seizing Kairos can be the difference between following the script of life or writing our standout acts. It is a call to action, not when the clock indicates, but when life offers us a window of opportunity.

In our hands lies the choice to live at the relentless pace of Cronos or dance to the inspiring and transformative rhythm of Kairos. The wisdom in innovation lies in recognizing that sometimes the opportune time is the true architect of the extraordinary.

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Juan Andrés Ochoa
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