Roland Dürre
Wednesday September 30th, 2015

#Breaking with Patterns II – Communication

In preparation of the Dornbirn PM Camp on November, 20th and 21st, we installed a blog parade on #breaking with patterns: here is my second article on this topic:

Fernschreiber (Siemens T100) - eingeführt im Jahre 1958 - moderner Nachfolger des T50

Teletype Machine (Siemens T100) – introduced in 1958. It was the modern successor of the T50.

So far, it looked to me like I was a #de-cruster. Perhaps I am also a #pattern breaker. After all, I no longer go places by car, using the bike instead. And, especially in winter, this is unbelievable for many of the persons I meet.

And whenever I do not have enough coat hangers, I throw away some of my clothes, instead of buying new coat hangers. Those and many more are the kinds of things I do.

But then, perhaps I am not breaking patterns at all, instead being trendy like everybody else? For instance when it comes to using the telephone. Because I have now come to that stage where I have completely reduced calling people. In fact, I find it impolite to inconvenience other people by calling them. And, of course, it is also because I, myself do not wish to be interrupted all the time by receiving a call.

Here is my personal “telephone history“:

I used to be a true “multi telephone person”. When InterFace connection was still very young, I spent a lot of my time with customers. Consequently, I always spent an hour in the middle of the day calling the company. And since I never use a customer’s telephone for my own purposes, I always had to go downstairs and use the public phone booth.

In those days, I also discovered the C network. However, it was expensive, you needed an extensive installation process and the network itself was as limited in its availability as its quality was poor. Besides, I always wanted to be able to totally focus on the person at the other end when having a telephone conversation. Consequently, I never used a car telephone; later, too, calling someone from the car was only the absolute ”ultima ratio“.

In the times of public phone booths, I always had a sack of change on me. Later, I always had a number of telephone cards in my briefcase. And, as soon as the D network came, I immediately had a cell phone. My fees were extremely high.

Now, I find it harder and harder to come up with good reasons and situations where I absolutely have to use a telephone. For instance after having made an appointment with someone to meet at the central train station and already having found a nice place to sit for me and my travelling companion. Then I will call him. But only if he has no Whats up, BBM or other messenger. When all is said and done, the only time when you actually need it is for the emergency call – when the murderer approaches.…

Consequently, I no longer call people. Because if there is something really important I wish to discuss with someone, then I want to do it in a leisurely fashion. Once in a while, I also want to have five minutes to prepare for a conversation. I want to see his face. If this is even possible across continents, then why should I not make use of the opportunity.

Consequently, I make an appointment with my business partner. As soon as possible and preferably through social media. If no other way is possible, then with an email dialogue. Then I will enter “video conference” in my calendar and all will – at least if it is a hangout – be initiated automatically. If the person at the opposite end does not like google, I take Skype (Microsoft) or FaceTime (Apple). If my partner likes neither Microsoft nor Apple (which is something I can easily identify with), then there are enough other alternatives.

The entire conversation will also be much pleasanter. I comfortably sit on my sofa, my chrome book is lying on my lap and my conversation partner’s friendly and smiling face can be seen on my screen. I need no headphones (and also need not press a telephone against my ear), can simultaneously formulate something with him on shared documents (perhaps for resulting notes – also called minutes), we can look at and process tables together and we can look for and show each other an image, and much more.

🙂 No – teletype machines, fax machines, telephones – those are devices we no longer need…

Doesn’t this also have something to do with “breaking with patterns”?

(Translated by EG)

The pictures shows a teletype machine by Siemens. It is a model T100, the table version. As far as I know there was also the model T100o – but that was it.

This mechanical teletype machine had a modular structure, which means it could be added to. On the left side, you see a tape perforator for generating perforated tape. Underneath, the transparent container for the cut-out material. On the right, you can see the optional perforated tape reader, which made it possible to send pre-written messages with maximum speed. On the basic device, you can see a red note about the update to 75 Baud above the active-hours counter.

After a certain running time, the teletype machines used and rented by the Deutsche Bundespost were completely disassembled at the FZZA Elmshorn and then newly reassembled. The blank key has the switch between letters and digits on the left and right sides, which is necessary because of the Baudot-Code with only five Bit (CCITT5). The paper is an endless roll, perhaps a self-copying paper with a copy since there is a slightly crooked grey intermediate layer.

Source: Wikipedia – you can find the image under the GNU licence for free documentation ,Version 1.2 or a later version. Published by the Free Software Foundation,

Roland Dürre
Sunday September 27th, 2015

“Breaking with Patterns” at Dornbirn PM Camp #PMCampDOR

pmcamp-logo-dornbirnNow there are less than two months to go until the DornbirnPM-Camp on November, 20th and 21st. I already look forward to the meeting on the eve of the camp and the Camp itself.

This is already the
5th PM Camp in Dornbirn, PM-Camp celebrates an anniversary!

How fast time goes by! With Dornbirn, we close a great PM Camp year 2015. This year, we had wonderful PM camps – in Stuttgart, Zürich, Bad Homburg, München, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Barcelona and Vienna. I hope I did not forget any.

Again, the Dornbirn organizational team wants to host a very special PM Camp. In fact, the standards are extremely high this year. As a metaphor for Dornbirn, we chose “BREAKING WITH PATTERNS”. Since, to me, it seems a very good idea to change and rethink, I voted in favour of this motto.

During the last few days, I had to learn that “BREAKING WITH PATTERNS” has become accepted. In fact, it has even become hype. I found it in the program of workshops of Bavarian school directors, came upon it on story-telling exercises and it winds its way through the media like a hurricane. There is a nice Blog-Parade  on the PM Camp with an anchor to the beautiful blog Experiencing Leadership (Führung-Erfahren) by Marcus.

Consequently, I now already heard and read a lot of wise things about it. Yet I am still not able to form my own opinion. Because in order to break with patterns, you probably will first have to see them. Also, it is quite possible that collectively valid patterns will generate individual habits. And it is always hard to change what you have come to love. More often than not, you hear and read: “We always did it in this way”. Well, after all, this is how we always did it, isn’t it? And now someone expects us to do it differently? That is hard.

But perhaps it is quite easy. Perhaps what you should do first and foremost is “turn things upside down”?

Here is an example:

There is an unwritten law in our “free-economy-society” that something gets less expensive the more of it is bought. This is even true for material that will become scarce in the foreseeable future and will eventually no longer be available, such as crude oil. The same is true for electricity or food. If you buy ten cars (or bicycles), you will get a better price than if you only buy one. It is called quantity discount, quantity rabat or quantity bonus.

Now let us look at the connection between the “climate” and “flying”. There is no doubt that air traffic generates an immense amount of greenhouse gas. Even in higher altitudes – where their detrimental effect is even higher than on the ground – huge amounts are ejected.

It is the goal of the airline industry to bring as many persons as possible into the plane by offering low prices. On the other hand, the models and calculations of various scientific disciplines agree in that they say global warming with the resulting change in living conditions for all of us will hugely depend on how we behave (in terms of burning fossil energy).

Consequently, it is clear for everybody – at least all those who do not believe in superstition – that, among other things, we have to fly less if we wish to cushion the downfall into the (climate) catastrophe at least a little bit. We have a discrepancy. We want to fly more because we need growth (which would actually be a second pattern to break with). Everywhere. And we should fly less. For our future.

So how to solve this dilemma?

A common and total ban of flying cannot be realized. In fact, for persons in special situations, it would actually not be just and reasonable. 
But then, the question is if the consequences of the climate catastrophe will be just and reasonable, isn’t it?

A common increase in flight prices would perhaps be asocial. Here is what a simple solution could look like: 
We turn the law of quantity rabat around and introduce a new law: the quantity malus. That would mean all citizens can fly a few thousand miles each year at prices similar to those we are now used to. As soon as the “flight buyer” has reached this limit, every extra mile will be more expensive. Maybe even geometrically more expensive. This would enable us to, on the one hand, maintain a realistic mobility, yet put the lid on at least the worst excess. And the extra money could be invested in reasonable progress.

The same pattern would, for instance, also make sense with electrical energy. Why should a company producing aluminium tins for beer and using up astronomically high amounts of electrical energy get it for a much lower price than the small one-family household that uses up almost no electric energy?

It would be better if this industrial waste were more expensive than the little used up in a household, wouldn’t it? This would not only lower the consumption cost pressure, but also cause human creativity to tackle (possible) solutions to such central problems. More often than not, better technology is already available, except that it is not used because the raw material is so much less expensive.

Why don’t we start by “putting things upside down”? I can imagine that “breaking with patterns” means a lot more than this, too. We are lucky to still have a bit of time to think about it until the PM Camp starts.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday September 24th, 2015

Visit the Arcis-Vocalisten! Dates.

Logo ArcisVocalistenI already advertised a few of the Arcis-Vocalisten concerts. Evelyn, who always helps me so much, sings in this choir with great enthusiasm. And she keeps telling me about all those nice concerts. And when I myself heard them sing, I was also truly impressed!

This is also why, here in the IF Blog, I so readily advertise this great choir under Professor Thomas Gropper, without whom the group definitely would neither exist nor continue to exist. And since this kind of enthusiasm is exactly what makes life worth living, I would like to take this opportunity and thank both the conductor and all singers of the Arcis-Vocalisten for everything they do just because they so much enjoy singing.

Here is a list of the next concerts this remarkable ensemble will sing:


The new season will start with Giuseppe Verdi’s dramatic Requiem. Other highlights of the season are the Christmas Oratorio by Bach and St. John’s Passion by the same composer, both in the Munich Herkulessaal. Next spring, they will, again under the direction of Dieter Reuscher show a scenic performance Belshazzar by Händel. Besides, the choir will give concerts with an a-cappella program in Stuttgart and Tübingen, before traditionally closing the season with a Brunnenhof Munich concert: this time you can hear Haydn’s “Creation”.

The Concerts:

G. Verdi

Messa da Requiem
Thomas Gropper, director.
Sunday, November, 15th, 2015, 19:00 hours, Herkulessaal der Münchner Residenz
(Organizer: Bell’Arte Konzertdirektion GmbH)

J. S. Bach
Christmas Oratorio I-III, VI
Baroque Orchestra L’Arpa Festante
Thomas Gropper, director.
Tuesday, December, 22nd,  2015, 20:00 hours,  Herkulessaal der Münchner Residenz
(Organizer: Bell’Arte Konzertdirektion GmbH)

H. Schütz, St. John’s Passion
J. Bahms, Warum ist das Licht gegeben den Mühseligen
Thomas Gropper, director
Sunday, March, 6th, 2016, 19:00 hours, Wallfahrtskirche St. Rasso, Grafrath
(Organizer: Kulturverein St. Rasso e.V.)

J. S. Bach

St. John’s Passion
Baroque Orchestra L’Arpa Festante
Thomas Gropper, director
Good Friday, March, 25th, 2016, 18:00 hours, Herkulessaal der Münchner Residenz
(Organizer: Bell’Arte Konzertdirektion GmbH)

G. F. Händel
Belshazzar (scenic performance)
Baroque Orchestra L’Arpa Festante
Thomas Gropper, director
Dieter Reuscher, stage director
Saturday, May, 7th, 2016, Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling
Sunday, May, 8th, 2016, Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling

J. G. Rheinberger, Missa in F-Major, op. 117
J. Brahms, Motets op.74
M. Fritz, De tranquillitate animi (June, 24th, 2016., debut performance)
Thomas Gropper, director
Friday, June, 17th, 2016, 19:00 hours, “Stunde der Kirchenmusik“, Stiftskirche Stuttgart
(Organizer: Stiftsmusik Stuttgart)
Saturday, June, 18th, 2016, 20:00 hours, ”Tübinger Motette“, Stiftskirche Tübingen
(Organizer: Stiftskirche Tübingen)
Friday, June, 24th, 2016, 20:00 hours, Himmelfahrtskirche München-Sendling

J. Haydn

The Creation
Baroque Orchestra L`Arpa Festante
Thomas Gropper, director
Saturday, August, 6th, 2016, 20:00 hours, Brunnenhof der Residenz, München
(Organizer: Bell’Arte Konzertdirektion GmbH)

What a remarkable program! I am sure there is something in here for everybody. So why don’t you mark a few dates in your calendar?


For the concert data, see also the Arcis-Vocalisten website.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday September 23rd, 2015


20150923_120134_resizedThe mountain was in labour and brought to life a new word: DIESELGATE!

The German stock plummets, a managing director who was considered sacrosanct fell. In all magazines and media, you can read about it. You get the impression that something really bad must have happened to the German economy.

As I see it, this is true. Except that, so far, I read nowhere about the aspect I mean. Consequently, I will write about Diesel-Gate, because it seems to me that, again, a barrier was pulled down.

Mind you, it is not like I would not have put it beyond the automobile sector that they are capable of this kind of fraud. In fact, I no longer trust any sector. We know what banks do. In the pharmaceutical industry, you constantly get medicine that, at the time it is officially permitted onto the market, is certified to have a great healing effect and no side-effects to speak of. And later you find out that the exact opposite is true.

It is well-known that oil enterprises have very dirty hands. We also know that the food industry is no better. And even I know that my own sector, the IT, is not clean, either. Just remember with how much love spams and viruses are protected, just in order to sell servers and other hardware that is used for total nonsense.

No, the fact that the industry in general not only controls and misuses politics through lobbyism, that it manipulates through advertising and that it also is fraudulent once in a while is something everyone knows. For me, that would not be a reason to write this article.

However, as I see this case of “manipulation” with the software, a threshold was crossed in this case. I put the term “manipulation” between quotes because it actually was no manipulation. Instead, it was a very goal-oriented development – I am sure it was specified in the to-do-list and they also determined test methods for the “V-Model” or similiar.

No. What we are talking here is fraud functions voluntarily implemented into the professional control software. With the goal of deceiving another technology in order to fake something that is technologically not possible at this time.

Some way or other, I used to believe that there is a digital extension of analogous honesty. I trusted that control software of mechatronic (analogous-digital) systems will not be used for fraud. Now this trust has been categorically abused.

Consequently, the new dishonesty has now reached a dimension I had so far not registered, even in the software industry. And now my – perhaps naïve – trust in technologic-digital technology is gone.

(Translated by EG)

Incidentally, this event is also an additional reason why one should massively demand the laying-open of all software.

Ganz einfach aber sehr lecker - die Verpflegung beim

Very simple, but extremely delicious – the food at “Stories-Meal”.

Katrin Frische and Sacha Storz had invited us to a “Stories-Meal“ (Erzähl-Mahl) in the offices of TechDivision. I like both, so I gladly went.

Another reason to go was that the TechDivision is well-known for regularly nice events happening in their offices – sometimes the background of these events is more on the technological side, sometimes more on the social side. The last time I was there was during a “Munich Web-Week” on an agile topic.

A “stories-meal” is a little like an ancient Greek symposium where everybody is busy “comfortably and socially drinking”. Even the ancient Greeks enjoyed mental pleasures of discourse and debate, and perhaps even a little more of the good wine, both during and after the meal. In other words: at a symposium, you were eating and drinking well and enjoying life. And at the same time, you were being philosophical and seeking wisdom.

Sacha - unser Gastgeber im schönen Gebäude an der Balan-Straße von TechDivision.

Sacha – our host in the beautiful TechDivision house on the Balan Strasse.

The “Stories-Meal” is a lot more sedate than a symposium and promotes an ancient culture of communication that goes as far back as the times of hunters and gatherers. Like in those ancient days around the camp-fire, the people tell each other stories. And according to our moderator Katrin, it is actually not about debating and discussing things. Instead, it is about listening and relating.

Our “stories-meal”, too, was only full of nice things. The delicious food prepared by Katrin was supplemented by a huge variety of soft drinks and a number of beer brands from the TechDivision refrigerator. It was like paradise.

We were only seven, because three of the guests who had already registered could not flee from their everyday-stress, after all, and had to cancel. If only they knew what they missed! For the remaining participants, it was so much the nicer and more exciting.

Katrin, die Veranstalterin hört moderiert und macht mit.

On the right, you can see Katrin listening, moderating and actively participating.

Katrin had prepared six wise questions on three sheets of paper. You could almost say she composed them. Two questions per sheet constituted a couple, so you got a triangle of topics. There were three to six catchwords with hyphens for each question, all of which was to make us thoughtful.

Let me tell you one of the pairs of questions – questions three and four, along with the catchwords:

Question #3:
Think about:
Question #4
Think about:

I will not tell you more than this. After all, we want to keep up a little of the suspense. But it can be concluded:

Auch mein Nachbar hört mir aufmerksam zu.

Carsten, my neighbour, too, is listening attentively.

It was a very successful evening. Inside me, it moved a lot. I would like to thank all the participants who, during this evening, gave me so much with their stories.

For me, the “Stories-Meal” turned into a “Think-Meal”. Because the many stimulating reports told from a different perspective really made me thoughtful. Consequently, I also told a lot about myself – and learned to understand more about myself in the process.

It was a very private evening. It was dominated by a huge amount of sympathy and – I would almost say a special development of empathy.

Und I am quite sure that this will not have been the last time I attended a “Story-Meal” at Katrin’s.

(Translated by EG9

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday September 22nd, 2015

Is ‘Social Justice‘ just a Misunderstanding?

Yes – if we continue to hold onto what we have been considering the definition so far! /1/

According to this definition, everybody, strangely, thinks him- or herself socially just yet at the same time laments about the growing injustice in this world.

It seems that this discrepancy is insurmountable.

ApfelpflückerWe are simply too much in love with our unclear terminologies. In fact, we actually wallow in the concept that ‘social justice‘ has to be some kind of ‘moral, egg-laying wool-milk-sow‘, rather than just a minimum standard for human behaviour consisting just a few rules even evil persons have to stick by!

If, however, we accept this definition, we soon find out that ‘social justice‘ tends to have little in common with ‘romantic equality‘. Instead, it has a lot to do with not-so romantic ‘voluntariness‘. And that this is why politics in general have an inherent structural problem when it comes to generating ‘social justice‘, even if it very industriously tries to find and remove ‘legal loopholes‘. It is easy to show this in three steps. All you have to point out is:

   A)  the common principle of ‘exchange justice‘,

   B)  the principle of ‘equal treatment and equality of results‘ and

   C)  the particularly apparent ‘distribution justice‘.

Let us take a closer look at all three of them:

   A)  After all, we basically have a very special form of ‘exchange justice’ when, in the name of ‘social justice‘, people demand fair prices and fair incomes!

For instance when it comes to: here the aromatic Alp Butter, there the ridiculous one-euro-eighty; or here the super manuscript and there the low fee. If we were to demand ‘equality of values‘, then we would need the general ‘principle of exchange justice‘! But how to objectively determine this ‘equality of values‘ for every individual exchange process?

For instance: would one ounce of gold be too much for a bucket of water in the Sahara if it means the difference between life and death? And are 50 cents too much for two litres of milk if someone has a lactose incompatibility? Or what is the adequate fee for a manuscript which, later, will only be pushed underneath the one too short table leg?

Doesn’t this mean that the ‘evaluation‘ of an exchange object is by nature a very subjective thing and that this value has nothing to do with equality? Especially since said exchange only takes place because all the parties concerned see the object of exchange differently, which is why each considers his own deal profitable.

Naturally, this ‘exchange profit‘ is just as unprovable as the ‘exchange value‘; but it is also clear that any profit can only exist and be proved if the exchange has been voluntary! Which means that an exchange is always ‘socially just‘ if none of the parties concerned has been forced to accept it!

Of course, this voluntariness in an ‘exchange‘ does not guarantee that both parties can get what they hoped to achieve. Neither is it a protection against erroneous decisions, such as for instance the imprudent purchase of low-price milk regardless of lactose incompatibility. But this is not necessary, either. Because the evaluation of the ‘exchange profit‘ is subjective, which means that it cannot later be forced into a wrong equality measurement just because someone had erroneously and intuitively assumed that this ‘equality‘ in an ‘exchange profit‘ is closely related to ‘social justice‘!

Consequently, we can conclude that prices and incomes are always socially just when they can be accepted without one of the parties having been forced to accept!

    B)  Now let us discuss the allegedly socially just ‘equal treatment and equality of results‘!

Again, our equality mania brings us into a similar logical one-way road, as can be easily shown with a simple example: If, under the aspect of equality, you ask a retired lady, a sportsman and a six-year old boy to pluck apples from a four metre high apple tree with a ladder standing at its trunk, you will get considerably different results; the help you will have to give will, indeed, be rather diverse, before all three candidates will have plucked the same amount of apples – which means they have equal results.

Since, however, there are no two identical individuals on this earth, you will never get equal results if you treat them equally, and vice versa!

And regardless of this fact being absolutely obvious, we keep demanding equality along with social justice. But if equality were really socially just, then the state of affairs where all persons are poorly off would, according to justice theory, be the best that could happen, wouldn’t it?

Luckily, nobody believes this! But still we insist that the logical consequence cannot be to stop seeing equality as a manifestation of social justice.

    C)  The tendency towards equalization is particularly apparent when it comes to discussions about ‘fair distribution’!

To distribute something means to hand out from a supply. Fair distribution demands that this has to done following certain rules. However, the fairness is most obvious when the owner does the distributing him- or herself, because then it is his or her will alone that counts. To be sure, it might be reasonable to consider the expectations of third parties, but that is not demanded by social justice! Social justice is served by the protection of ownership rights.

But it gets truly difficult when you cannot clearly define ownership, as it is the case with all political systems because the spheres of interests of the distributors and the recipients will often be identical. Conflicts are unavoidable and the ‘just solution‘ of said conflicts are not just a theoretical challenge, but mostly no more than a noble goal!

Compared to this, private persons and enterprises have a rather easy life, don’t’ they? All they have to do is not cheat, not steal, not use violence and not break contracts – and already they are just. They need not abide by more rules than that!

When all is said and done, this consideration not only generates a theory of justice, but also a surprising solution for economic and social politics: why not move as many decisions as possible to the private sector – since this is where you have clear and, according to what has been stated above, ‘socially just‘ circumstances?

Well, I assume this will remain wishful thinking, because many will still refuse to abandon the inacceptable ‘equality saturated‘ definition of justice! And they will be even less willing to forego the potential increase in power derived from this ‘usurpatory definition of equality‘!


/1/ Dagmar Schulze Heuling; „Was Gerechtigkeit nicht ist“; Nomos – Verlag Baden – Baden


Now About:

All Power to Nobody! LIVE!

andreaszeuchAll Power to Nobody – that is the motto proclaimed by Dr. Andreas Zeuch. In his new book, which was published on September, 8th of this year, he discusses “entrepreneurial democracy” at great length. And it certainly is not a theoretical pamphlet, but an exciting report full of life. I would call it a courageous and provocative work that is the exodus of quite a few prejudices.

I personally met Andreas at the 2014 Berlin PM Camp. He gave the impulse on the morning of the first day. His topic was “how much intuition can an enterprise stomach?”. This presentation was such an inspiration for me that I spent the entire morning with Andreas. Consequently, I missed all the first sessions of the PM Camp morning.

Here is some of what you can read in the preview:

Entrepreneurial democracy – is that the future of work-life, or the punchline of the week? Can enterprises be a democratic event at all, or will shared decision processes not disable the enterprise and cause bankruptcy? After all, we do not exclusively need captains, but also privates, don’t we?

What happens when a CEO is elected? If a bank abolishes all its hierarchical levels, if employees choose their own tasks or if the cleaning personnel gets a vote when innovations are discussed? Will chaos be the consequence, or will the inner motivation of all start blossoming?

Andreas Zeuch went on a journey and found enterprises that show that entrepreneurial democracy is a living and economically successful alternative of the centralized top-down system.

InterFace-Logo As always, you can register for the IF Forum by sending an E-Mail. Again, I will be permitted to moderate and I already look forward to exciting discussions and nice conversations!

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday September 20th, 2015

I almost forgot: Karlsruhe PM Camp on September, 25th and 26th!

pmcamp-logo_karlsruhe_153x70I am angry with myself. I almost forgot the Karlsruhe PM Camp. And it would not have been advertised. This is not tolerable!

Dear organizational team in Karlsruhe: please accept my apologies. I feel truly contrite. And I promise to do better in the future.

In Karlsruhe, the motto will be:

Projects with enthusiasm – where does the magic come from?

Unfortunately, I cannot attend next Friday and Saturday. Which I find a true pity. Because the Karlsruhe organizational team did a fabulous job. And they would certainly have deserved a few more participants.

So here is my appeal to you: if you live near Karlsruhe and are at leisure this Friday and Saturday – and if you are at all interested in project management, management in general, leadership, entrepreneurship and such, you should definitely attend the PM camp at the Karlsruhe Hochschule für Technik.

As always, the program is exciting. It will be well worth the trip and, as always, all PM Camp participants will return home content, wiser and happier.

And, in absentia, I will follow the timeline of the tag #PMCampKA and be happy about many, many twitters from the camp by the participants!

And here is a special request by me:

If, to give Karlsruhe extra advertisement, you twitter this article more often than usual, you would also make me very happy!

(Translated by EG)

Why I no longer like conferences, yet love barcamps?
All the things that can happen during a barcamp!

Gute Laune in Dornbirn auf einem PM-Camp.

Enjoying ourselves at the Dornbirn PM Campp

I no longer like to attend conferences. Consequently, I only agree to be a speaker on such events in exceptional cases. For instance in the near future at the NurembergDOAG-Konferenz.
🙂 Or else if they pay me really well.

Because how do they choose speakers on conferences? Potential speakers must submit their articles at least six months before the conference, more often even earlier than that. Including a topic, a summary and an abstract. Mostly with a pre-defined number of words and following some stupid kind of word template.

But how am I supposed to know in January what will move me late in the year? How to know the development of affairs during the months until the actual presentation takes place?

After the deadline, the conference committee will meet. They are supposed to select the suitable articles. The jurors in the committee have to consider the event sponsors, countless representatives of interests and industry, diverse amigos, political influence and much more. They will not personally be acquainted with most of the persons who sent articles, which is why they cannot know about the competence of them as speakers. More often than not, they do not even have technological competence.

Young speakers who actually might have something important to contribute have no chance – and this is apparent if you look at the conference program.

Those who were lucky enough to have been selected must submit a manuscript. Again, it has to have a certain length, the word-template is usually even worse than before. The manuscript, too, has to be submitted quite a long time before the actual conference takes place. After all, the proceedings have to be printed.

Well, this is when I think: Why should I present something all the persons in the room have before them in writing? I always talk freely, without power-point or the like. Whenever I speak in a big lecture hall, I ask my graphics expert to design a few slides to emotionally underline what I am going to say. That is it. After all, the exact content of what I am going to say will only be determined on the day of the event – and it will even change during the presentations, because I follow the feedback I receive from my audience.

And then the great day will come. Mostly, a conference will start with a huge introductory affair, including welcoming all and sundry. The ability to remain awake and sitting on your bottom is put to a severe test among the audience. And then, the intense “one-way” noise machines will be turned on.

The speakers will dutifully read their manuscripts as typed in the proceedings. Some will do better, others worse. Interruptions are mostly not encouraged, so there is never a discourse. Someone up front will say something that has been previously prepared and the audience down below are supposed to consume it.

A short time ago, I attended an academic meeting with a dear friend of mine (no less than a rather highly respected professor). It was more or less the same as always. When I told her that the contributions had been surprisingly low-standard, she consoled me with the information that the presentations were actually just of minor importance. The important thing, so she said, is that you meet and exchange ideas with people. And that the evening event, in particular, is the true value of the meeting.

And it is basically true – if we wish to advance ourselves, we have to share our knowledge and communicate amongst each other. But then, why should I listen to presentations all day long if nobody is interested in those? Perhaps it is only so we can tell the tax office something official took place and that we had a legitimate reason to travel and talk over food and wine in the evening…

PM-Camp Berlin 2015, Thema Komplexität by VisualBrainDump

Berlin PMCamp 2015 about: Complexity by VisualBrainDump.

At a barcamp, it is totally different. And as I see it, it is better!

So, what is a barcamp? Of course, you will find an excellent description in Wikipedia. Let me try and approach the definition under a totally different light.

Imagine between fifty and a hundred persons meeting. For instance bloggers, entrepreneurs or experts. Or persons who are prepared to take a special social responsibility, or simply persons who share an interest in something.

Ideally, we are talking persons who enjoy sharing their experience, their competence and also their problems. Persons who communicate at eye-level and who want to participate when it comes to discussing important topics. Persons who want autonomous enlightenment, who dream of honest discourse as professor Habermas used to define it (perhaps persons who are not even aware of him having defined it), all of them thou-ing and thee-ing each other and never interrupting others while they speak. Even if all these factors are true, you still – so is the current state of the art – have to organize this kind of event.

With barcamps, it is very simple. You provide enough lecture halls for the sessions to be held in. A lecture hall has to be big enough for all participants. Inside those lecture halls, you develop the sessions together. Consequently, you have a big board in the middle of the lecture hall. It contains a matrix with the lines marking the time scheduled for the sessions (for instance one line for each hour). The columns mark the lecture halls A, B, C …

Beispiel für eine Sessionplanung bei einem PM-Camp

Example for a session planning at a PM Camp.

And whoever has a problem he feels desperate about will march to the board, pin a card with his topic to the board and makes a room and time reservation for his or her session. Then he introduces himself and gives a short description of what and in which form he wishes to propose the session. And as soon as there are enough cards on the board or when the board is full, you start.

If, on top of this, you also have a nice coffee lounge where food and drinks are always available, success is almost a foregone conclusion. Because there is another rule:

Everybody is free during a barcamp.

Like a bee gathering honey, you can attend as many sessions as possible. On the other hand, you can also float through the rooms like a butterfly (bees and butterflies are the classic metaphors for barcamp behaviour) and remain wherever you feel most comfortable.

As soon as a participant realizes that he is in the wrong session, he should leave it. In a barcamp, this is not impolite. On the contrary, it is your duty if you want the system to work. Consequently, the doors to all lecture halls should be open at all times.

The rule also says: whatever happens is exactly what we wanted to happen. If only a few people attend a session then this is just as good as if all participants attend one session. In the end, there will be a balance.

A new development is that the barcamp organizers try to offer a frame where the sessions can be documented. There is a special barcamp variant, the OpenSpace, where documentation is obligatory and supported, collected and summarized by a so-called OpenSpace-Office.

Party beim PM-Camp in Dornbirn

Party time at the Dornbirn PM-Camp.

Barcamp is this easy. As a general rule, it will be two days. The party at the end of the first day is always a very good thing. During the second day, there are often extremely good spontaneous sessions.

A barcamp is considered a success if all the participants – we also call them share-holders – start their return journey home happy and withe a full heart and spirit.

Even though you should never expect results from a barcamp, surprising things often happen. I know movements and enterprises that grew from an idea during a session. Surprisingly many friendships and beautiful networks are generated. There are always lots of incitements. Barcamps have such a huge impact: they help people to start thinking, judge things differently and become more successful both in private and “professional” or “entrepreneurial” life.

I attended camps such as OpenStartUp or WorkLifeBalance. On those, as well as during five years of PM Camps, I experienced what I described above. PM Camps were about project management, leadership and entrepreneurship. By now, I know that there are more important things. For instance the way how we shape our mobility will be profoundly important for our future. That is why I gladly founded the new barcamp for “Active Motility in Everyday Life” #AktMobCmp .

We will start on January, 4th and 5th, 2016 in Unterhaching.

(Translated by EG)

Invitation to a Preliminary Event for the AktMobCmp on October, 14th, 2015 at Unterhaching

actmobcmp_100-300x86I already told you about our plans on the IF Blog. On January, 4th and 5th next year (2016), just before Epiphany, we want to start a new Barcamp.

It is the AktMobCmp, the first barcamp for “Active Mobility in Everyday Life”. With this barcamp, we want to address the topic “mobility”, which will be truly important for our future.

The preparations are finished: we have a location that is well suited, a nice website, a flyer for sponsors and a general flyer – and even some first interested sponsors.

Now we wish to get people’s attention for the event. Consequently, we invite everybody to attend preliminary events. The first of these events will be on October, 14th at the  Agenda 21-Meeting-Hall (Treff) in Unterhaching (Rathausplatz Unterhaching, Hofmarkweg 12) between 18:00 and 20:00 hours. This is the first time we want to inform everybody about our “Barcamp Active Mobility”.

During the event, the following questions will be answered:

Why is “active mobility in everyday life” so important?

What exactly is a “Barcamp and why do we organize this as a Barcamp“?

During this evening, Jörg Schindler will tell us all why mobility is such an important topic in the future and why we all need to get more concerned with the so-called remaining traffic beyond the “individual & motorized” and “public transportation” sectors.

I know Jörg as a very competent, but also a very convincing and entertaining speaker. You will also find his very exciting and valuable presentations on YouTube. Here is an example:

Afterwards, I (Roland Dürre) will give you the definition of Barcamp and also tell you why such an “anti-conference” is so much better for sharing knowledge and developing and applying new insights than the common classic formats. And I will use PM-Camp as an example to demonstrate all the things you can achieve if you share knowledge and “communicate with each other”.

After the short presentations by Jörg and yours truly, we will discuss what has been presented. Perhaps in the form of a FishBowl.

This is how we want to advertise our January 2016 AktMobCmp. All colleagues of the “Agenda-21 organizations” in the district of Munich will receive personal invitations. But we also welcome all other persons interested in “Agile Mobility in Everyday Life” and who wish to think of and act towards a future that is worth living in. That means that you, too, are invited. And it would make us especially happy if persons from the media were to find their way to our event.

Participation at the preliminary event for AktMobCmp is free of charge. All participants are welcome and we would appreciate it if you send a short E-Mail confirming that we might expect you. Because if there are not enough seats available at the meeting hall of the “Agenda 21”, we will move to another location. One which can easily be reached on foot from the meeting hall. Naturally, we will notify you in advance if such a change of location has become necessary.

(Translated by EG)