noun al·che·my \ˈal-kə-mē\
: a power or process of transforming a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
At Corporate Alchemists, we often get interesting responses whenever we’re asked what we do, and none of them are neutral. The response is either one of incredulity or curiosity. The science (and art) of alchemy has of course fallen into disuse over the years, which would explain the response from people. As Innovation Alchemists however, we know that the fundamental principles of alchemy are still alive and well and their application is vital to the success of today’s Idea Economy.
The word alchemy derives from the Arabic word al-kimiya, and from the Greek khymeia, the ‘art of transmuting metals.’ Alchemists are best known for their attempts to transmute lead into gold, but there is more to alchemy than that. In fact, alchemy inspired Newton’s work on light and gravity. Alchemists gave Europe some of its key discoveries, such as zinc, phosphorus, and metallic arsenic. They developed techniques essential to modern-day science, like codification, experimentation, note-taking and diagrams. They mastered techniques such as distillation and sublimation, and in the process, laid the groundwork for lab work today. Paracelsus, the Swiss physician and alchemist, influenced the development of pharmacology, which gave rise to modern chemistry. Johann Bottger, an alchemist working for the Dresden court, discovered a European version of porcelain and helped break China’s monopoly on one of the world’s most lucrative industries.
How does all this translate into what modern day alchemists like us do? At Corporate Alchemists, we view the world like the earth, with ideas all around us, just like lead on the ground. Ideas, in themselves, are of little value if nothing is done with them, just as lead is of little value compared to gold. But just like alchemists who sought to transmute lead into gold, we lift ideas from the ground and turn them into something golden – innovations. And when we combine such innovation with positive company culture or personal values, we create an open innovation culture in people and businesses.
As Aristotle said, the noblest goal in life is eudaemonia: Striving toward excellence based on one’s unique talents and potential, and experiencing wellbeing. For many, this means finding your calling, reinventing your career and making the shift from success to significance. This is what we aim to do for you.