Roland Dürre
Friday November 30th, 2012

The Change in Management (Presentation)

The two presentations I gave last week on “The Change in Management” never got boring. I enjoyed them very much and I got the impression that my audience, too, had fun. Consequently, the feedback I received was also very nice for me

Since the presentations were quite interactive, it is not easy for me to put them in writing. Still, let me write down a few points, even if quite a few things that happened during the presentations will be lost to you.

Change will come – if we want it or not.

My two presentations were about

  • Project Management;
  • Management;
  • Entrepreneurship;
  • Leadership;
  • Innovation as Creative Destruction;
  • Craftmanship;
  • The  “Co” Era: co-creation, co-programming, co-operation …
  • Future is Female
    Why do so few women serve time in prisons?

All these are elements both of our private and professional world. In enterprises and institutions, we create future. The following factors play an important role:

  • The culture we practice in the social systems and
  • how said systems are organized.

Processes of communication, decision and responsibility change.

Who knows the terms:

Barcamp, Jam Session, OpenSpace, Fishbowl?

If not, maybe you should look them up in Wikipedia.

Today, the following is important:

Sharing knowledge, hand on experience. From those who are in the thick of it for those who are in the thick of it. Consumers want to turn producers.

You meet at eye-level. Fear-free rooms make creativity possible.

What was it like in former times?

  • Trees grew from the bottom to the top.
  • At the top, you had the hierarch, clear command structures, disciplinary bosses.
  • And it worked for a long time. It was a simple and well-structured, and, above all, a stable world.
    Example: German electronics concern (dealing with everything around electricity) as a hierarchical organization. It was built following the pattern of the German Reichswehr. Build up and procedures are organized, structured into enterprise sectors with up to 10 hierarchical levels, staff divisions for shared tasks, such as F&E, Marketing and all kinds of central functions.
  • That is how the matrix: organization with full/dotted lines and staff and central units was created.
  • Example: electronics concern, business areas motors/generators, small appliances… Shared design, etc., sales, etc., research were central staff units.
  • This organizational model originated with the industrial revolution – Taylorism-style and mechanically. And for a long time, all went well with it.
  • After a few years, the organization (mostly only parts of it) had to be modified. But that was easy.

Today, this is no longer an option – which is why so many people lament about their enterprises suffering constant re-structuring. Except that this is not enough for following the speed of change. Consequently, “after the re-structuring” more and more often means “before the re-structuring”. Even worse: the next re-structuring will begin before the last one is finished.

And even in nature, trees grow from bottom to top. The first ones who noticed this were a few idealists in the informatics sector. They put the trees upside down.

  • But then, it is not an option to turn trees upside down.
  • It would make the CEO the one who supports all (big Frederick as the country’s number one servant).
  • So you see, trees are not enough.
  • New means of communication, too, cause change. Change brings communication.
  • This is how the transition from the tree to the network happens in the shape of a ball in the three-dimensional space.

(Note: even in military dimensions and in warlike conflicts, it seems that – when all is said and done – network-like structures are superior to hierarchical command structures, even if the latter have a huge resource superiority).

Well, all of this is not precisely news. As early as in the 1980ies, there was a remarkable development, for example at St. Gallen College. They came up with a “management model” which makes the HSG world famous. Its basic points are the eight theses by Hans Ulrich – “Management – Essays, part 2,   1981 – 1998 On the Change in Management”:

  • Accept the uncertainty and unpredictability of the future as normal state of affairs!
    Strategy as planning of a future: acceptance that decisions will always have to be made with an uncertainty factor.
  • Expand the limits of your mental concept!
    Against the “but” … and for freedom of ideas. But also: sharing knowledge.
  • Applying the categories “both-and“, instead of “either-or“!
    Black-and-white is out, colorful is in.
  • Thinking multi-dimensionally!
    Balancing of interests in an ethically responsible way. Basically, humans can only deal with three ideas simultaneously.
  • Self-organization and self-control as the model for your enterprise!
    Responsibility, Subsidiarity.
  • Consider a manager’s job as a meaningful task that makes sense!
    New management image.
  • Focus on what is really important!
    Working economically.
  • Make use of group dynamics!
    Cultures, symbols, rites, rituals.

Today, all is about producing knowledge quickly and shaping the future together. Consequently, what we need is creativity in order to find the problems (first creative obligation). After we found them, we have to make use of our knowledge and generate solutions.

Taylorism and “mechanism“ is no longer possible in modern social systems. It is better if we gain the necessary knowledge through the new communication formats.

(Note on private life: the traditional family model, too, was Taylorist and mechanistic. Does anybody still want it?)

Unfortunately, many managers to this day do not understand it and many enterprises still live in the yesterday. This also explains why the “new enterprises” are such a success. It took them only a few years to overtake the “old industry”.

The roots of what happens today and in this country can be found among the (then criticized) prophets of the Bonn republic, such as Adorno and Habermas (Frankfurter School):

Dominion-free/fair discourse as a basis (Habermas)

  1. No outward restraint must hinder the discussion.
  2. Having the best argument is the only reason for winning.
  3. Everyone gets an equal chance to take part in the discussion.
  4. Everyone must be capable of “self-portrayal without offense“ and make himself transparent for the others.
  5. Everyone must be prepared to talk about the basic decisions he made in life and be prepared to have them criticized. (There is a clever system of speech and counter-speech, having to prove all you say, experience, authority, etc.).
  6. Nobody enjoys special privileges because of his age, experience, authority, etc.
  7. Everyone must be prepared to change behavioral expectations with everybody else. The same is true for switching roles.
  8. The discussion will continue until a consensus is reached. As soon as the truth is accepted, it will determine the future life and behavior of all the parties concerned.

It all sounds unrealistic and utopian, but it will become more and more reality:

  • Through formats such as jam session, barcamp, openspace, fish bowl;
  • Pecha Kucha, Ignite;
  • Round meeting halls;
  • Web 2.0 (interactive Blogs, Twitter)
  • Wikipedia and Open Source
  • Social Media like Facebook and Google+ as a logical conclusion.


The dominion-free discourse is filled with life. In a hybrid combination with the internet (social web), the new world of shared interests gets stronger and stronger. A new society of communication and “gaining knowledge“ is built. Belonging and sharing get more and more important as values.

And being part of it will make you happier and more successful!

So I tried to give a future-oriented presentation.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday November 29th, 2012

Projects Will Ruin a Healthy Enterprise

And probably the same is true for the health of the people involved! This is a polemic essay about project culture.

A short time ago, I found a nice article (article) in Jens Hoffmann’s blog. It asks whether or not projects make sense. Here are a few interesting citations:

“Projects have outlived themselves. Their days as an organizational form are numbered. Agile Coaches think projects are not suitable instruments for solving entrepreneurial problems. They do not allow customer-oriented value creation and cannot efficiently control permanent change. So what justification is there for projects these days?”

I read the entire article several times and was also busy commenting Jens‘ blog. This inspired me to write a short polemical essay:

Athletic success is probably even harder to generate than entrepreneurial success. Let us take “soccer” as an example. Of course, my favorite club, SpVgg Unterhaching, will serve as the “use case”. And it will be our super team of the 2012-2013 season. The pictures are also taken from their home matches.

I am imagining myself playing the role of the responsible coaches. If they were to structure their projects in terms of projects, then “good night”. They would immediately have (far too) many projects. In each program, there would be any number of comrades and enemies, paid and unpaid employees and consultants. Both desirables (such players’ parents) and undesirables (such as players’ parents).

Let us look at the individual projects: if you play soccer, you know the proverb “after the match is before the match“. Consequently, the next match would always have to be given top priority. It is easy to define the beginning, the end and the goal of the match. The project will start when the n-th match ended and end with the (n+1)-th match (n is a natural number). And it is pretty easy to define the goal: three points. Mostly, our project goals are not that easy to define.

As a general rule, a project lasts for one week. Actually, this is also well within the range of a scrum sprint. Build up the team, motivate and coach the players. Point out what was well done and what was not so good the last time – and then, depending on how the last match ended, either build up morals or de-emotionalize the situation… video analysis, tackling details, etc.

So this was the first project. It also consists of many small sub-projects. A lot must be delegated and the results must be integrated. But so far, everything sounds quite easy.

Except – it will not be good enough to just think in terms of “from one match to the next“. You also have to make sure that all available information about a future opponent is meticulously recorded. Practicing must be made systematic and diverse in many dimensions.

Every player represents (at least) one project. It does not matter if he is a regular player, if he has to be a substitute, or if he was not nominated at all.

Both the inner and outer environment must be considered, opposing interests must be balanced. In between, you also have to think about next year’s team. You have to take a close look at youth matches and try to find local talent.

More and more projects have to be managed. And you always have comrades in arms. Both paid ones and unpaid ones, desirables (such as players’ parents) and undesirables (such as players’ parents). There is no end to stake holders. And you also get many who always know better – not just among the fans.

Such a soccer club has an enormous complexity. And now one should come and do all the planning. He will press it all into processes and then build up a mechanical organization, classical style. So how long will it take before you lose all control?

The system “sports” has so many inter-linked and inter-dependent tasks. If you want to describe them as projects, the classical project manager will soon realize how limited his methods are. And very quickly, the goal “rising to the next level” will be replaced by the striving to retain your current class in the stadium.

First and foremost, the competence of the active team is a determining factor for athletic success. If possible, it should be coupled with a thoroughly felt trust and almost blind understanding between the parties concerned. In particular, the protagonists in the club have to feel well in each others company. They must all have the same goal. Each of them must – instinctively – make the correct decisions and do the right things. Someone must take responsibility. It must all happen in a shared desire to make everything better at all times and to get better at all times. Everybody must feel the shared great wish to win.

But then, where is the huge difference between this and a medium-sized enterprise?


(Translated by EG)


Of course, all these nice pictures were taken at SpVgg Unterhaching home matches (where else?). At the sports park, the photos were taken by Stefan Kukral.


🙂 And tomorrow night, Friday, they will again play – against Darmstadt, at the sports park, starting at 7 p.m. You do not want to miss it!

Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

121206 So no evil, and no evil will befall you – I wonder if that is also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121207 Behave well and you need not fear the devil – still, you should be careful when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121208 Do the right thing, let all birds sing – this might be helpful when you are twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121209 Whatever you do, put your heart into it – good advice, not only when blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121210 Treacherous enemies are the most devious –  be careful when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121211 Do the right thing and be afraid of nobody – also true for twittering and blogging!? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121212 Being virtuous will never be old-fashioned – is that a consolation for twitterers and bloggers? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See and “follow” RolandDuerre!


(Translated by EG)

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Roland Dürre
Monday November 26th, 2012

Now On Youtube: Video Recording of Our Latest IF Forum.

On Tuesday, November, 13th, starting at 6 p.m., we welcomed Wilfried Bommert of the WDR at our Unterhaching InterFace Building. He was the third and last speaker in our series “Living (and Surviving) in a Sustainable Way”:

Making Good on Arable Soil!
How we can avoid the crisis of deeding the world.

Here it is – the recording of Herrn Bommert’s presentation!


(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 25th, 2012

Parties, Pirates and Party Programs – Help!

It was always held against the Pirate Party that they have no program. So what are they doing? They are coming up with one.

In my opinion, they are making a mistake!

If a truly different party comes up with a program, then the program should be: 
“we have no program!”

Such a party should be capable of deciding upon values (as shared by all members) based on ethical responsibility and agreed upon as a consensus.  And then they could “make these values their own”. One would assume that is enough work.

Why do we need values instead of programs?

Give people a program and they will assume they are right and possess the truth. That is a dangerous assumption, because there is no absolute truth. And if someone or a group of people claim they possess the truth, your inner red light of warning should immediately start blaring full throttle.

So – do not give us programs!

I would very much prefer a commitment in favour of values – and in addition to this a statement or, even better, a promise, for example:

All our decisions will be based on a responsible, ethical balancing of interests. We will, to the best of our ability and using our common sense, always strive for neutral technological competence and feel bound to act according to those aforesaid values!

Now that would be a nice commitment, wouldn’t it? If I were a party member, I would propose a “five-point manifesto”. It might, perhaps, be something like:

  • We will – on purpose – dispense with a program.
  • We trust in the values found by enlightenment, its knowledge, reason and honesty (transparency).
  • We respect the German Constitution (or even better: The Bavarian Constitution) and the UN Charta .
  • We will follow common sense and use the “Golden Rule “.
  • Our decisions will always be based on a responsible balance of interests, our behavior will always follow our values.

That would be it!

But I do not think it makes any sense at all to establish a new party. Still, I certainly could list a few values to guide a new party:

  • demanding the freedom to live by the rule of: “living self-responsibly and being able to do so“,
  • managing to have a violence-free society with fear-free areas, with a minimum of punishment/vengeance and without wars,
  • at long last make men and women “equal“,
  • make all relevant levels, and in particular the public area, as transparent as possible
  • and
  • promote a social climate with a relative right to property and freedom of trade.

Incidentally, many of these issues have been wonderfully formulated and written down in the Bavarian Constitution . Unfortunately, it has become a little utopian . Neither is it valid any longer, because the German Constitution has precedence. Still, it is and will always be a truly beautiful piece of text.

But back to parties. If now the Pirate Party also come up with a program, then I truly no longer know whom to give my vote to. So the only remaining option for me is to join the majority of non-voters.

Because I definitely do not wish to give my vote somewhere between mechanical function and measure catalogues and dogmatic statements of belief. Both are cunningly served in a camouflage packet. I call them camouflage programs, because – as we now again see with the Pirate Party – the really hard-core topics have to be excluded, anyway. Otherwise, a compromise is not possible. A social consensus cannot be made out, just like there is not the slightest hint of a social outline.

This is not about demanding that “everybody must unconditionally be provided with the means to survive“ or “that all nuclear power plants be closed down in three years”.  Neither is it about parental money or educational money. Or “A Free Ride For Free Citizens“, depending on what you believe in either for car drivers or those who go by train.

Not to mention meaningless declarations that you intend to solve conflicts without using violence. And whenever it gets difficult, you want the masses to decide. Without before having generated the necessary transparency.

No, this is about having a reasonable concept in management and still make more good decisions than bad ones. And in that respect, programs will not be any help. This seems pretty clear, because change comes at such enormous speed. How can I decide today what I will do in two years’ time if by then the facts will be totally altered? I am fed up with seeing people speculating about an unpredictable future, also in politics.

Consequently, what I want when I vote is a decision in favor of values. And I would like to trust that my representatives and the politicians want to and can and will act according to their values.

Mind you, I, too, am not in the possession of absolute truth. Still: I believe these ideas are worth being discussed. On the other hand, let me say:

Dear Pirates!

Maybe that is why you get these poor results in the current polls? Because you are now turning into a “normal party“. And we certainly have enough of those already. I do not think we need yet another one. Consequently, the word might soon be: easy come, easy go.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday November 24th, 2012

brand eins in December

On Friday, it was already sitting in my letter box. And at first sight, it actually looked like a folder with spiral binging. We at InterFace have a few brochures of this kind. One of them is called flatland.

It tells you what sort of entrepreneurial culture we would wish to practice. Well, it is a little utopian. But I believe in it. It is very exciting. The new bran

eins reminded me of “flatland“. But I will write about “flatland“ some other time.
As always, the first thing I do is let the outside appearance of the new brand eins sink in. A friendly gentleman looks at me from the cover page. He is probably older than I.

That is something I enjoy, because it means that, after all, I might still have a chance of some day landing on the cover page of a magazine. The gentleman emanates piece and dignity. Well, that is good news, isn’t it?

Then I see the heading: 
Not For Cowards 
Olla! What might be the meaning of this?

I still do not know if I am a coward. Or am I (what)? What is the opposite of a coward?

A courageous person? A fear-free person? At the moment, I am too lazy to look it up. I will do so tonight. Incidentally, being lazy is an important virtue. It brings a lot of happiness. All you have to do is dare to be lazy. In a way, being lazy is not for cowards.

I read on and get to the focal thesis The Good Life. Again, something comes to mind. Do I have a good life? My spontaneous answer is – doubtless, I do! But then I also read the small print on page one: 
“Today, I have the nice feeling of having decided in favour of the right priorities” Gerd Knop, 70.
Well, once in a while, it pays to read the small print. It is the solution to the riddle. The gentleman looking at me in this content way is Herr Knop and he is 70 years old.

So I plunge into the magazine – as always, the first thing I read is the editorial by Frau Fischer. It says “Not a Matter of Luck” and I think to myself: “it is probably not a matter of luck whether or not you set the right priorities“? Well, this is nowhere near as easy as it looks. I do not know. But it is certainly exciting.

To me, it seems like the magazine is quite bulky. It has 170 pages. Well, that is a lot, isn’t it? Again, the first thing I have to do is hold it up and give it a shake so that a lot of adverts can fall out. I am sure you remember me writing about this the last time around. So I get the wastepaper basket and dump all the adverts in it. I feel like Mother Hulda. You can expect it to snow soon on our planet. And the result is – the magazine is now a lot less bulky.

So am I now the kind or the unkind girl? Basically, I know: I must be the kind girl. After all, I did a lot of shaking out material. And I also have the nice feeling of having my priorities just right. And I enjoy life as long as I can still learn and experience new things.

It only takes a few pages for me to see that, again, there is a lot of precious stuff I can learn from this magazine. With other high-gloss magazines, this never happens. Not even with “Playboy”. Neither with business weeklies or manager magazines or periodical journals with the same words on their cover pages (just like there are many parties with words such as “Christian” or “Social” in their name). No matter how I turn them upside down, nothing useful for me will ever fall out.

So here it is in a nutshell: again, they wrote a beautiful magazine with a great title. I will let a few other people read it and then take it with me on my travels. And here is what I say: if you read brand eins, you will not become the unkind girl.

So here are the kind girl’s best wishes for your weekend.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday November 22nd, 2012

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #142

Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

121129 Drunk is for jump – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121130 Sinning drunk means paying the price when sober – a warning for twitterers and bloggers. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121201 Wise when drunk, a fool when sober – also something that happens when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121202 Happy when drunk, sad when sober – something that also often happens when blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121203 Drunken mouth is truthful mouth – is that also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121204 Work slowly with a smile and you will win everything you desire – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

121205 If I don’t do it, someone else will – is that also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See and “follow” RolandDuerre!

Translated by EG)

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Today, I had another discussion with friends who feel desperate about the stability of our currency. One function of money is to transport values into the future – and by now, the future is “Greek”.

Wise people discovered this a long time ago and therefore came up with their own Solar Riester concept. In this case, the winner is the German Michael directly, instead of around the detour of political distribution. We are talking twenty years of secure retirement money for the capital you invested and no government can abolish its debt with just a stroke of the pen – as the Greeks already show us.

Mind you, I believe you should calculate with no more than ten years of uninhibited money flow and also with some cuts in contracts already valid. The social pressure will increase, which is in accordance with the concept of an Augsburg enterprise: “I cannot make money with my roof and let the people living under it pay the price, can I?”

Of course, you should buy realty without using the Riester legislation, because otherwise they are truly immobile and cannot even be exchanged for the flat you will need when you enter the third phase of your life, because it is more suitable for senior citizens.

But the true winner is the marriage Riester concept. “Investments” into your shared future with children, hiking tours, evenings to play, shared visits to the cinema, taking responsibility for others and also letting others take responsibility for you – ethics, no gold in the safe because you were scared, no cat gold on the raw material market.

Time for your partner, time to ponder on your own development and to think about what others discovered about you.

I wrote a small book on meditation: “How to lengthen time“. I think this is the true meaning of the Riester legislation: to fill the time you have anyway with the sort of careful life that makes sense.

(Translated by EG)


Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 20th, 2012

Data Security and Industrial Espionage …

When discussing data protection and security, you often hear the term “industrial espionage”. Federal agencies or our oh-so-important business associations keep warning us:

Over the last few years, industrial espionage increased dramatically!

And, of course, the focus of said espionage is on German enterprises and their know-how.

The same sentences can also be read in a survey done by “CORPORATE TRUST – Business Risk & Crisis Management GmbH”.

You can access it through the following link . It is rather worth reading, especially with respect to how you can make people fearful?

You will find the warning that “cyber war has become reality a long time ago” and that it “has arrived in the middle of our society”. Neither can the “computer worm Stuxnet“ be ignored. After all, it was “probably developed especially in order to sabotage the control mechanism Simatic S7 – which controlled the frequency converter of the motors in Iranian nuclear programs.”

(Note the word “probably”).

To be sure, the exact goals of the customers were unknown, but the complexity of the attack shows that we went from an era of script kiddies and crackers towards a new dimension of danger – etc.

Mind you, these are all original sentences taken from the study. The very choice of words in its martial character already makes me sceptical.

Regardless of this, I take the subject of data theft a lot more seriously than, for example, the fear of personal data being abused. I also believe that “stolen” data will help you to reach your goal faster than having to develop “something new”.

I have a vivid memory of a project we did a little less than 30 years ago. We were asked to develop something totally new. Except that we did not have the slightest idea how the “new” could be done. In those days, studying the sources the competition used was quite helpful. And to this day, I do not know if we made use of said sources legally or, maybe, in a certain shady area.

Still, I do not think industrial espionage is quite as menacing as it is projected – and not only in the internet. One of the reasons I give for this is that these fear-inspiring studies originate with firms which want to sell special counter-espionage services and products. And, of course, federal agencies and business associations are quite ready to chase the pig through the village. After all, there is nothing else they are busy with. What a nice idea to employ James Bond! Isn’t it a beautiful shiver you feel whenever you hear how evil the world is and how you yourself are absolutely powerless?

But let us remember what it used to be like!

When I worked for Siemens, we were absolutely prohibited to take any secret documents with us when we left the building complex. And almost everything was secret. Consequently, there was a random generator at the portal. Occasionally, it lit up. When it did so, you had to open your briefcase and show what was inside. It went without saying that taking pictures on the factory premises was not allowed.

Those were also the times when we used those blue “Micro-Fiche-Films”, along with the reading devices that went with them. Micro-Fiche, or rather microform is the first technology I know which you could use for storing many data on little material. For us, it was usually sources of complete operating systems that were stored on a small square of film so we could carry it around with us in our briefcases.

Of course, it was not realistic that the secret papers were never leaving the factory premises. For one thing, our firm was quite distributed. Some data were needed when you went to see a customer. And once in a while, you also wanted to do some work at home. Consequently, we had permission papers. If you had this paper, you were permitted to take any secret paper you needed. The higher echelons – I do not remember up from which AB or GB level you qualified – were also permitted to take secret documents without the permission paper. I also do not remember if AB truly was short for “departmentally authorized“ and GB for “generally authorized“.

But then what a strange (and totally stupid) kind of firewall was that? It was certainly no more secure than the modern firewalls offered by IT?

Incidentally, the first two colleagues from the former GDR we employed directly after the re-unification confirmed this opinion. They came directly from Robotron Dresden. And they told us that, naturally, at Robotron, they always had the latest plans of the Siemens chip developers on their desks the moment they were made. Except they were not able to put them to any use. The necessary raw material (purest Silicium) could not be obtained in the GDR. Neither did they have the necessary tools to even produce the prototypes.

To be sure, I do not know if our ex-GDR engineers were just after spinning us a good yarn, but I can easily imagine that this is actually how it happened. Basically, I believe data will always end up where they should not be. But mostly it makes not the slightest difference, even if, perhaps, you get quite annoyed, and justly so.

But I also believe the methods changed. And the new methods are a lot more efficient, even though they have nothing at all to do with IT. Let us take a look a China, where, allegedly, the enterprises want to spy on Western firms. Do they really need to do that? Or are there, perhaps, far easier methods?

Here is what you can read in “invest in Bavaria” at “China in Bayern”

Currently, more than 130 Chinese enterprises, for instance Huawei Technologies, Pearl River Piano, ZTE, Yingli Solar, ET Solar and a little under 11,000 Chinese citizens reside in Bavaria. About a third of them live around Munich. Approximately 3,000 Chinese students at Bavarian universities further attest to how attractive the Bavarian universities are.

I also know that there are Chinese branches in the “regions with weak infra-structure“ in Bavaria that have such lovely scenery. Those Chinese branches specialize on R&D (research and development). Actually, these enterprises are quite heavily subsidized by the Bavarian authorities – and accordingly, their moving here is celebrated quite bombastically. Because, as a general rule, F&E is a clean sector. It does not damage the environment and attracts intelligent engineers.

And what is the first thing a Chinese F&E enterprise will do? No question! They lure away the German engineers formerly employed by their German competition. And the best ones at that! Those with exactly the kind of know-how most urgently needed in China. And the German engineers are happy to come. They are quite attracted to live cheaply in a nice place, do some F&E in a modern laboratory and mostly even be paid better than before. This is how the Chinese can choose from the best persons with the right knowledge. Now isn’t that a lot more efficient than having to crack networks and servers?

Neither can I find any fault with it. After all, we live in a globalized world and I rather like the Chinese with their friendliness and tasty cuisine… And I seem to remember “knowledge is the only raw material that grows as you share it“!

After all these ideas, I read the aforementioned “study” with totally different eyes. “Installing fear“, is, after all, a very successful marketing strategy…


(Translated by EG)


I took the pictures from the central media archive Wikimedia Commons. They were taken by Nichtich and Tomasz Sienicki [user: tsca, mail: tomasz.sienicki at]

In November, I will be talking to various groups about the “Change in Management“. The following text grew as I prepared the material for my presentations.  It is a description of the environment and is supposed to help the audience as an introduction – or maybe as an accompanying “reader“.

Over the last few years, modifications, in modern German called “change” gained in speed in geometric dimensions. The internet changes the world in a way never experienced since the “industrialization”. Post-modern times are at an end, we are quickly entering the “information times” (if that is what they are going to call it a hundred years from now).

A large part of said change is about business. The way we work undergoes change. Young enterprises – offering totally new business models, entrepreneurial cultures and unheard-of products and services – rise and dominate the world in the shortest possible time. Just think of Apple, Dell, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and many, many more. And all that remains for Siemens & Co is to look on with growing envy.

Neither is this the end. Highly qualified persons no longer wish to work under a binding employee contract. Some of them merge and work on an honorary basis, sharing their special expertise and knowledge for common goals. For instance, experts from a totally new field, the software industry, first started getting together and building small associations in the USA with ”free“ and ”open“ products in the GNU time. And this is how huge movements grew. Today, the world is unimaginable without them.

Initially, it was typically “simple“ software tools, such as the (GNU) compilers of the 1980ies. But soon enough, the show really started to get under way. The famous “lamp” software was generated: Linux, Apache, MySql and Php. Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg. Today, we have a huge “Open Source” movement consisting of many small and big communities. And this is where the most wonderful things are developed on an unbelievable scale. And all of a sudden, products that were generated in someone’s leisure time and on an honorary basis actually displace the commercial ones. Now these products are the accepted standard all around the world.

Naturally, less complicated technological parts, too, can be linked as huge software systems, such as automobiles. They can be developed openly in an “engineering” way and assembled locally. And it will only be a question of time before the first open e-mobile will cruise the streets in huge quantities.

This development is supplemented by non-IT open source movements. The most famous one is probably Wikipedia. But Wikipedia, too, is just the tip of the iceberg. You can hear the battle-cry everywhere:

“Knowledge is the only commodity that grows as you share it!”

Simultaneously, many NGOs (Non Government Organizations) are started. Among many peoples, they already enjoy a better reputation than the local government. New catchwords are: community, belonging, collaboration. The prefix “co” in particular, as found in co-operation, has become a favoured part of words. Terms such as co-creation, co-working, co-programming start having lives of their own.

New strategies such as “crowd sourcing” develop, trying to make use of the ”intelligence of the masses“. In doing so, they create a true mega trend. The internet dominates the world. Pads, smartphones and laptops are “in”. The market for apps is exploding.

A short time ago, I read that more Germans can imagine life without a car than without Facebook. Even the “Golden Calf ” (Goldene Kalb) of the last century, the car, seems to be on its last leg.

The same happens in business. Enterprises with a totally different philosophy suddenly push the traditional ones to the side. In private life, functions, career, ties, status and titles get less and less important. To make up for it, the need to live your own life as you yourself want it grows. Using the words of Old Frederik: the people want to “be happy in their own façon”, kissing late capitalism and marketing economy good-bye. As I see it, this is a very nice understanding of freedom.

But how could this have happened?

Very simple – we are living an evolution. And said evolution will not leave persons and their forms of living and group-forming out of the equation. Some people have many antennae and therefore witness quite much of the social development. Using their special training and knowledge, they think about and write down the developments of “yesterday, today and tomorrow”. As a general rule, we are talking philosophers and people trained in similar sciences doing their jobs as “observers of evolution“.

Philosophers also formulate contemporary thinking and describe the predominating values of the last thousand years. And those have changed considerably as the centuries went by.

In Medieval Times they said:

“Whatever God wants is good!”

Basically this is a rather simple rule, except you have to know what “is God’s wish”. Then came Utilarism with Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) stating

“Whatever is good for humans is good!”

Well, basically, this does not sound bad, does it? Especially if you are a human. But then, Kant did not like it. He felt it was not as easy as this. What you need is something like moral standards. So he came up with a very categorical formulation:

The Categorical Imperative (Kategorischen Imperativ):

“All finite and rationally gifted creatures, and therefore all humans, should judge their actions according to the question if said actions can at all times and without any exception follow a prevailing maxim, thereby respecting the rights of all parties concerned,  also if only as an end in itself!”

With his evolutionary theory, Darwin provoked the precise Victorian data and Nietzsche was in a hurry about enlightenment (Aufklärung). And we already knew that humans are just ordinary creatures that developed from ape-like ancestors and that they should ideally strive to abolish all uncertainties, answer questions and correct errors through knowledge acquisition.

During the postmodern era, enlightenment became a radical concept and now it can probably no longer be neglected. But the process continued.

After the war, for instance, came Habermas. He said something about the dominance-free (ethical) discourse (Diskurs) as a basis for communication and knowledge acquisition and came up with the following fantastical rules:

  • No outward constraint must ever hinder a discussion.
  • The best argument will prevail.
  • Every participant gets the same chance to take part in the discussion.
  • Every participant must be capable of  “self-presentation without affront“ and make himself transparent for the others.
  • Every participant must verbalize the basic decisions of his or her life and be prepared to accept criticism. (There is a highly sophisticated system of thesis and anti-thesis, the duty to give reasons for all statements, etc).
  • Nobody enjoys privileges because of his or her age, experience, authority, etc.
  • Every participant must be willing to exchange behavioral expectations with all others. Every participant must be prepared to switch roles with all others.
  • The discussion will continue until a consensus is reached. As soon as the new truth has been accepted, it will dominate the life and behavior of all participants.

As I see it, the most important issue for our current development is the term “dominance-free discourse“. It probably originated with Habermas. To be sure, the primary literature is a little clumsy, but still nice reading. If you want to read more, I recommend this small speech (Rede). It contains a few nice suggestions.

And then, there was also an Adorno. Here is a citation:

“If the opponent will not give in, he is disqualified and accused of not possessing exactly those characteristics that were stated as the basic requirements for the discussion. These requirements will be twisted in such a clever way that the other party cannot help but be persuaded; thus, the discussion turns into a farce. Behind this tactics, there is an authoritarian principle: the dissenting person must accept the general opinion of the group. Untouchables project their own untouchability to the one who does not want to let himself be terrorized. Using all these methods, actionism becomes part of the trend it believes and professes to oppose: bourgeois instrumentalism that fetishes the means, because its practical ways cannot bear the reflection on the ends.“ (pp. 180-181).

The citation was taken from the essay: „Marginalien zu Theorie und Praxis“ (1969) and was published by Suhrkamp in the small book: “Kritische Modell 2″ by Adorno. Other than that, you will find plenty of material if you read “Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit” by Habermas, written in 1962.

In my opinion, Adorno and Habermas described quite well what happens today. And today, web 2.0 also helps a lot. And interactive bloggers and twitter, as well as social media like facebook and persons linked in the net are just a logical consequence. But this is only the beginning.

In economics, Hans Ulrich, “devisor of the St. Gallen Management Model“, described the coming change particularly well. I find his eight theses on “new ways of thinking in management” particularly worth reading (you will find them in: Hans Ulrich “Management – Aufsätze 2. Teil von 1981 – 1998″) :

  • Accept uncertainty and the unpredictability of the future as a normal state of affairs!
  • Extend the borders of your mental horizon!
  • Use the categories “both”, instead of “either-or”!
  • Think multi-dimensional!
  • Use self-organization and self-control as future models for enterprises!
  • Consider managing as a meaningful function!
  • Focus on what is really important!
  • Make use of group dynamics!

Today, it is all about producing more knowledge in order to shape a common future. Consequently, in order to find the right questions, we need and have new communication formats. That is our first creative responsibility, because only after we actually know our problems, we can start looking for solutions.

There was a time when requirements like the “dominance-free discourse” were considered utopian and unsatisfiable. Today, they have become reality and are lived in the internet, as well as in the non-inter-world. New formats, such as jam session, barcamp, open space, fish bowl, Pecha Kucha, Ignite and many more spread all over the place at high speed. They replace many meetings, conferences and in the end even institutions, thereby leading towards a hybrid culture that combines real and virtual life.

These were a few ideas as a pre-view for my presentation (Vortrag) to be held, among other places, at Munich University of the Armed Forces this Thursdays.

(Translated by EG)