Roland Dürre
Saturday September 15th, 2018

Manifesto of Life

Currently, you get manifests like mushrooms sprouting from the soil, for example the Manifesto of New Work (Manifest zur neuen Arbeit) as a Microsoft (!) denomination on #newwork.

Inspired by #PMCampBER and beautiful discussions in the last few days, I now came up with a manifesto of life. Naturally, the agile manifesto (this time you get the link to the English version), stood in as a model.
Here is how my proposal for a manifesto of life:

 


 

Manifesto for Life

We are looking for values that make it possible to live in joy and with courage
and we try to live said values in our own lives and when in contact with others.
Looking for these attitude of mind, we learned to appreciate:

  • Self-responsibility and self-organisation beat being controlled by others and immaturity!
  • Values and positions beat morals and dogmata!
  • Love and peace beat hatred and war!
  • Freedom and abstinence beat suppression and extravagance!
  • Trust and transparency beat distrust and secrecy!

Signed by


Now all we need is a few equally minded people who wish to sign!?
(recommendations for improvements welcome)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
A short time ago, Dr. Marcus Raitner came up with 10 google theses for “good leadership” (10 Thesen von Google für “Gute Führung). They might be a good basis for a “leadership manifesto”.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday September 12th, 2018

Culture Engineering. Terminology. Methods, Tools

Wearing my new Hanseatic hat after my return from #PMCampBER in the Grosshesselohe forest restaurant.

Let me give you a short report on the PM Camp Berlin session on Culture Engineering before I will write about the “contradictions” in social systems. It was one of many exciting sessions I participated in at the anti-conference #PMCampBER.

The topic was “Culture Engineering” – as a method and tool that helps to influence, change and control the culture in a social system that has an economic goal, i.e., in an enterprise.

The person who had initiated the session himself had felt suspicious about the term “Culture Engineering”. His “feeling uncomfortable” was due to his scepticism about question if a culture can actually be actively influenced with an “engineering-approach“. He feared that such a concept could or would easily end in manipulation with negative or at least unpredictable results.

One session participant said that there is a successful “Culture Engineering“ stream of studies in Leipzig and that the graduates of this school are actually quite sought after by the human resources departments of companies, especially huge companies. I find this rather exciting, which means that we are in the middle of the world of culture engineering and human resource (HR).

As far as titles are concerned, I constantly get visiting cards with job titles such as engineer, officer, manager or president on them. And I must admit that, of all these titles, the one I like best is the engineer who, for instance, is in charge of a project. But “German-English“ is modern, so I am getting into it. Now we have the CEO, CTO and CIO  and, more and more often, also the CHRO (HR as an abbreviation for human resources). That is where you will find the innovation manager and the culture engineer. In general, I am quite suspicious of officers and managers, and the same is true for presidents and vice presidents.

In our session, the first thing we approached was terminology. Someone proposed that maybe we could say “culture gardening”, instead of “culture engineering”. I found this rather appealing. But then I thought that, in analogy to “garden cultivation”, the task could be called “cultural cultivation”.

Then we discussed the definition of entrepreneurial culture. We found the answer (from entrepreneurial theory):

Entrepreneurial culture is the memory of an enterprise.

😉 Honi soit qui mal y pense, but, for me, this is immediately associated with “memory manipulation”.


When I looked up the term in Wikipedia, I discovered a Wikipedia call on copyright.

I support this call with all my heart and consequently I publish it here.
However, I am not sure that it will suffice if you contact your representative in the European Parliament. You will probably have to do more than that.

Yet this is a good example for controlled change in values and rules. And the motives are very capitalist.


Back to Culture Engineering. As with many buzzwords, I find the term a little ridiculous. The same is true for a culture engineer or innovation manager at HR.

I certainly believe that you should be aware of and actively live the culture of an enterprise, just like that of all other social systems. And it is also quite legitimate to use modern technology and methods. But it is a something that must happen between the leaders and all the others. Leadership as defined in Google (see the article article by Dr. Marcus Raitner).

However, culture cultivation will only be a success if as many people as possible participate in the cultivation process – and I mean with a lot of attention and actively.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday September 10th, 2018

PMCamp Berlin – Experiences, Adventures, Contemplation.


The first day #PMCampBER 7/9/2018

Between September, 6, and September, 8, the sixth PM-Camp Berlin took place (PM-Camp Berlin). As always, it was an exceptional event. One of the reasons why it was excellent is the extraordinary quality of the organizational team and Ralf Eicher, another reason, naturally, are the more than 100 great people who took part.

As we all know, the train trip from Munich to Berlin is a mere “jump“ these days, which means it was no problem for me to go there. Since I am one of the PM Camp founders, I went to Berlin for more than just nostalgic reasons. I also wanted to retrieve my knowledge and learn new things. And, above all, I wanted to exchange ideas with nice people and simply share my experiences. As always, it was a total success. The two days were particularly nice because I met so many old friends.

And I returned with many new considerations and various insights. I also learned about tools and methods that had been unknown to me before. Let me share some of it here.

Again, I was part of LSP (Lego serios play). Julian Kea (known as @kiLearning in Twittter) showed us that, in a team with modern methods, you can actually do such as thing as Story making. Besides, I heard about tools such as the Mentimeter. With this tool, you can represent the mentality found in a creative community (that is ”the cultural standard of a social system or community“, also known as mind set) as a tag cloud in no time. This is really quite convenient.

The sessions on the following topics gave me a huge number of impulses:

  • “culture engineering“ as a science that strives towards finding methods that can change the entrepreneurial culture.
  • What exactly is meant with “coaching“ and “agile coaching, and the question
  • whether or not it makes sense for a medium-sized enterprise to position itself “against  right-wing populism”.

My experiences were so fundamental that I want to – and probably will – relate them in the IF blog.
Generally speaking, I once again realized to what a huge extent we are all responsible for our own actions. How it is important that we do not allow our rationality to suppress everything else. And during peer2peer conversations and rounds of different sizes, I also saw how many people, also as a community, can have a wonderful “mindset“ – which makes me look forward to the future.

However, I also noticed that most people have a basic conviction that I need to contradict. They assume that, in many dimensions of our life, we have a speed-up process and an increase in complexity that forces us to be prepared to accept change and innovation at all times. And the hope is that we will be better equipped to do this if we increase the agility in our lives.

Here is how that sounds:

“We have to become more agile in order to be better equipped to deal with complexity and acceleration and develop more resiliency and anti-fragility.“

Mind you, there is no doubt at all in my mind that some (or better: many) things both in our private and business lives will improve. But I am not at all sure that in our private and professional lives everything will really become more complex in the future. My experience (analysis) does not support such a statement, but my analysis should definitely be just as much under scrutiny as the following sentence:

“There is a lot of nonsense in all kinds of social systems – often bordering on mania!“

I will write a few articles on “the contradiction between processes and common sense” and “the contradiction between trust and secrecy” to illustrate this.

And I truly believe that an agile mindset – combined with a few shared values – can help considerably. The agile manifesto describes four huge contradictions and proposes positions that should be given priority (it is always the arguments on the left side that should have priority over those on the right side). I discussed this with many people and the majority of them saw it as I see it. Here is my link to the German version of the agile manifesto although I like the English version better.

Back to #PMCampBER. Yes, it was great. Many thanks to all the participants, and, of course, especially to the orga team.

I am inspired and look forward to writing about “contradictions” as a fundamental problem of the culture in social systems. I also believe this might be a good topic for a future PM Camp session – wherever it takes place.

RMD
((Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday June 25th, 2017

#AktMobCmp – July, 13, 2017

I propose a #AktMobCmp meeting for the evening of July, 13th, 2017.

Here are some ideas in preparation!

POSSIBLE TOPICS

For me, the following topics/theses are of interest.


Why do people still drive cars? Does it offer any advantages? Or is it just a huge case of self-delusion? Because we are being manipulated and fall victim to lobbyism?

A few days ago, I rode my bike around the lake Starnberger See. It took me a few hours. First, I went from Neubiberg to Starnberg by S-Bahn train. Then we rode our bikes around the lake and took the S-Bahn train back from Starnberg. It was a wonderful summer day, everything just beautiful. But near the lake, all the cars were hell. All the parking spaces were taken, nothing could be done about it. And there was no end of stress – among the car drivers.

I am fairly mobile. Especially in Munich. But also in Germany, Europe and occasionally even in this world. And I can always manage without using a car. Doing without a car as a mobility tool has only advantages. When all is said and done, you feel a lot better without a car!

Here is one question that might be worth answering:
What requirements must be met for a car journey to make sense, i.e. for it to offer considerable advantages over alternative mobility?


Why do people still dare to go places by car? In the process, they accept horrendous collateral damage, either without thinking or because they are arrogantly egomaniacal, not only in the social sector, both inflicted on third parties and on themselves?

Or:
Would the following metaphor fit? Driving a car is on the same level as smoking in public buildings, and not only if it happens in the city? Whenever I ride my bike, all those cars pollute my lungs, just like the smokers used to when they sat at the dinner table across from me.

When sitting behind the wheel of a car, we consciously take the risk that we might probably injure or kill other people. It still happens far too often.
When we drive a car, we produce pollutants that harm other people. People who do not want any involvement with cars at all.
Cars are noisy, which significantly reduces the quality of life where we live, both in cities and villages.

Cars give those sitting in it and especially the driver a whole lot of distress.
Going by car robs the people the opportunity to exercise and thus makes them obese.
Here is a tweet I read that is probably not all that hilarious: perhaps you should, before getting rid of them outside, first transmit the exhaust fumes of a car into the car.

At this point, I do not have a “moralizing” discussion in mind. Instead, I want a very basic and constructive judgement of values.


Pedelecs (e-bikes) are a stroke of genius!

The combination of body and machine
For rational and efficient mobility and logistics, e-machines are perfect.
Especially with lower speeds and for slim mobility, electric vehicles offer an excellent alternative.

Maybe we could make 90% of our intra-city individual and logistically necessary mobility a lot better, cheaper, healthier, nicer and more efficient by using e-bikes and other suitable electric vehicles (scooters, trucks, large taxis as part of public transportation,… )?

(I am well aware of the fact that electric mobility – e.g. the e-car – is not a solution individually. The very damage done to the environment and CO2 output that the production of a single huge battery – such as for a Tesla or even for an e-UP – creates shows that this will not be a solution for fast and long-range communication).

Is it possible that our massive switch from riding a bicycle to driving a car in post-war Germany was caused by all those many and strenuous inclines? And that, since the invention of the e-bike, the bad weather is the last remaining argument against riding bikes? And that it is actually quite easy to solve this problem (since it is part of being human)?

And is “high-power mobility” – being able to quickly cover medium and long distances – basically not about “shared economy” but about “shared mobility”? And has shared mobility not been invented a long time ago, although there is definitely room for improvement?


Here are the format and the method I suggest for our next meeting:
How about a practical exercise in building vexillae? All these topics can be discussed and processed using the technology of building vexillae. The ars construendi vexilla is a dialectic method for coming to reasonable agreements (rational consensus) in groups. And that is something you can – or better: must – realize in an agile way and at eye-level!

How do you feel about it? What would you prefer? Which topic, which method. Do you have better ideas and/or additional recommendations? Should I organize the planned meeting and invite people?

If so, I would organize a room for July, 13th in the Munich area, write a program and publish the time and program in Meet-Up and on the AktMobCmp-homepage .

Or should we just leave it be, because it does not make sense, anyway? And because there is not the slightest chance for a better life without air pollution and noise? Because the car lobby governs the world?

Then I would cancel the meeting and perhaps also terminate AktMobCmp.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Donated by Visual BrainDump (Christian Botta & Daniel Reinold). Click on the picture to enlarge.

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 5th, 2017

Additional Note on AGILE

AGILE on the MS EUROPA 🙂

I already gave you a long IF-Blog report about my presentation at the FAV (Forum agile Verwaltung) at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart on February, 10th.

In this presentation, I tried to point out how “agile” has always been normal if considered a “life-ruling value” that – due to the industrial revolution and technological progress – has only been pushed to the background during the last two centuries. But now, it returns in full force.

I left the military complex out of my presentation. It seemed to me that in the military world the dogma of precise planning and strict hierarchies is particularly dominant. But that, too, is not the case. Especially those involved in the military do and have to think in an agile way. One of the instances where this became obvious were the military successes of “agile and networking teams” (for instance the Vietcong) against the forces of super powers that were far superior technologically and in numbers.

But let me first cite Graf von Moltke (about strategy 1871):


»… No operational plan will ever look further than the first meeting with the enemy with any amount of certainty. Only the layman thinks he sees an idea that has been thought through in all its details until its well-predicted end in advance when looking at an entire campaign. You have to think ahead, but you cannot plan ahead.«


Colonel general Kurt von  Hammerstein-Equord, also a famous military strategist, recommends when addressing his officers:


“Liberate yourself from working on the particulars. You will want a few not so wise persons to do that. But take a lot of time to think things through 
and to get a very clear picture in your own mind. See to it that all your ideas are realized. That is the only chance for you to really lead.“


And he continues by saying:


“I distinguish between four types of officers: prudent, industrious, stupid and lazy. Mostly, these characteristics come in pairs: One sort is prudent and industrious, They must become General Staff. 
The others are stupid and lazy; they are 90% in all armies And best used for routine tasks. Someone who is prudent and lazy will qualify for the highest 
leadership positions, because he has both the clarity and nerves for difficult decisions. You want to avoid those who are stupid and industrious, 
you cannot give them responsibility, because they will always do enormous damage.“


That, too, sounds like absolutely agile leadership to me!

In general, you can say about the military sector:

Decisions and work should always happen on the lowest possible hierarchical level

In other words:
Delegate! Let others decide and work!

Formerly, they called this the Subsidiarity Principle (Subsidiaritäts-Prinzip) in management. It was extremely important, but it seems to have been forgotten by now.

Note:
After this digression into the military world, I wish to point out yet again that, more than ever, I am convinced that war is nonsense and peace is an absolute necessity. In the last fifty years – perhaps with the exception of a few small blue-helmet UNO activities – there was not a single armed conflict that improved matters in the least. As a rule, the situation was worse after the war than before.

The only case I know (which I actually witnessed) where bloodshed was prevented was probably the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia. That was a lucky case that can be seen more like an exception from the rule. And it caused the disintegration of Yugoslavia, which certainly nobody had initially declared their political goal.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Parts of the ideas and cited sentences in this article are thanks to the inspiration the presentation of Frank Rebers on the Westerland Bike Management Camp in Westerland (Sylt) in February 2017 gave me.

Roland Dürre
Friday March 3rd, 2017

Work Space. Fun Space.

On Ash Wednesday, Nils Hilze and yours truly were invited to a business lunch at Munich LinkedIn in the Sendlinger Str. 12. Nils is , I am (in Twitter).

We had a “blind date” with @LinkedInDACH (gh). Here is how it happened: I had told Nils about a meeting at LinkedIn. He found it exciting and twittered that he, too, would like to make the LinkeIn experience – and lo and behold – we were invited. We did not need too much persuasion, we came quite willingly.

View from LinkedIn down to the interior courtyard of the former SZ publishing house on Sendlinger Str. 12. We are on the white level.

Our visit started with a tour through the LinkedIn offices. They are beautifully situated in the heart of Munich. We were able to both inspect and try out the facilities. Nils tested the hammock and I was allowed to play with stones.

We were totally fascinated. There are many quiet areas in the beautiful and big offices, even the attention given to details of the furnishing makes it very attractive, and yet everything was also totally practice-oriented. The truly lavish choice of things for the employees to do and explore create a sense of style and class.

I started thinking: around thirty years ago, I was also in these offices. In those days, the offices still held the rotation printing machines of the then so powerful SZ. It is a historic place that makes you aware of the change of time. Technologies disappear and are replaced by others. Innovation is really creative destruction.

Nils enjoys life at LinkedIn to the brim.

Our hostess told us that all LinkedIn offices around the world are uniquely equipped (and yet they give you a huge sense of belonging together). They try to consider the local and historical specialties of the place when designing the offices at all locations.

Consequently, I could now relate many great details about the LinkedIn office. But the nice atmosphere I felt everywhere is a lot more important. Whenever entering a new company building, I always try to simply stand still and let the environment have its effect on me. And this is how I get a first impression that mostly is not too much off the mark

And in this particular building, I got the impression that all the employees were really rather happy. Thinking back to my own start into work-life, I would really have appreciated being able to start in such an enterprise. But mind you, I am not really in a position to complain – it was not at all bad at Siemens Koppstrasse. It was a lot better than in many offices I saw since then.

I noticed an interesting similarity. Due to my activities, I also occasionally stay at simple “coworking spaces“ such as ImpactHub at Gotzinger Platz. There, too, the start-ups have lots of fun when they work. And, of course, there is a huge difference between the LinkedIn offices and those at ImpactHub. Where in one firm you see upper-class furniture and electronically height-controlled desks, you have beer-garden tables and benches that will be folded up whenever more space is needed in the other. One company offers elaborately designed reclining cabins, the other simple wooden plank compartments.

And I always enjoy playing with the rocks from the Bavarian Alps.

But in both offices, the principle is the same: they want their employees to enjoy their work and be well looked after. Both are huge offices with lots of room, also for moving around. Occasionally, you will even see an employee rolling around on his scooter.

And the smell is the same in both office buildings: #newwork. The division of the office space takes different work situations into account. You have space for solitude and space for communication, small and big team offices, everything is a part of the whole. Food and soft drinks are offered as a standard service, everybody can help himself.

At ImpactHub, you get the coffee in a simple thermos and the shortcake or the cheese sandwich along with it for little money; at LinkedIn, they have the huge espresso machine that delivers excellent coffee. And you do not only get shortcakes but also excellent and very diverse food. And if it is fairly priced at ImpactHub, it is, naturally, free at LinkedIn.

Incidentally, I did find a downside (both at LinkedIn and ImpactHub). Due to the great location in the middle of the city, those who come by bicycle have a problem at LinkedIn: where to park their bike? But, knowing that LinkedIn is a modern enterprise, I am sure they will soon solve this problem, too.

At ImpactHub, due to the location, you basically assume you cannot have this problem. But no! They have an evil neighbour living on the opposite side of the street. Along his totally derelict property wall, he fights – totally irrationally – against parked bicycles. Even my bike was already in danger of being towed away.

However, modern persons like being mobile with their bikes … and they want to know that their means of mobility is safe while they work.

There is one thing I know – I already look forward to my next date at LinkedIn. And I also always enjoy visiting the ImpactHub.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday February 24th, 2017

APHORISMS: CEO or COORDINATOR, MANAGER or COACH …

 

Many thanks to Christian&Daniel (© Visual-Braindump)

I love the agile manifesto. It always says that A has priority over B.
Here is an example:
“Individuals and interactions have priority over processes and tools“
In other words:
Perhaps the values on the right side (B) are useful, but those on the left side (A) are more important.

I will now apply this diction to my “favourite terms” and formulate the opposite (as a trigger for discussion).

  • Co-ordinate the decentralized things beats central execution
    (–> The CEO – Central Executive Officer becomes company coordinator)
  • Coaching beats Managing
    (–> Abolish hierarchies, replace managers by coaches)
  • Agile beats inflexible
    (–> follow common sense, instead of a plan)
  • Competence beats power
    (–> the future is no longer determined by a hierarchy)
  • Lean beats waste
    (–> less bureaucracy, administration and departments)
  • Common good economy beats Shareholder Value
    (–> Customers and employees are stakeholders and more important than shareholders)
  • Self-organization beats command structures
    (–> Teams, rather than the manager caste, determine how to do the job),
  • Open beats secret
    (–> free communication instead of systemic)
  • “Entrepreneurial Clarity“ beats “strategic ideologies“
    (–> traceability)
  • Social beats asocial
    (–> an end to privatizing profit and socializing loss)
  • Digital & electric beats mechanical & analogue
    (–> new work concept)
  • Informal communication beats systemic reports
    (–> knowledge is liberated and shared)
  • “Shared economy“ beats “individual property “
    (–> #newlife, “property is a burden“)
  • “Business must serve the people” beats “humans serve business“
    (–> #newwork)
  • ….

At school, I learned that everything that ends with “ism” should be handled with care. Consequently, I am glad that I never came across the word agilism. Yet I can easily imagine that some enterprises I know behave in a way that might be correctly described by the term.

I would simply say “change is the goal”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Entrepreneur’s Diary #119 – Your Personnel Records

Ard Leferink for buurtzorg in Stuttgart at #fav17 (agile)..

Last week, on the Forum Agile Administration #fav17 in Stuttgart, Ard Leferink of buurtzorg was the Key Note speaker.

On the evening before, he had told me that buurtzorg has no HR-Department (human resource), just like they have no marketing department, no sales department, and, naturally, also no CRM System (Customer Relationship Management).

Well, I actually know a few companies that have no human resource department. As a general rule, however, those are small enterprises with a number of employees that does not exceed the two-digit scope. In the Netherlands alone, more than 10,000 people work for buurtzorg. Well, I guess that can be considered a little bigger, can’t it?

Yesterday, I discussed this with an entrepreneur I am good friends with. He immediately replied by asking: “So what do they do with their personnel records?“  To which my reply was the question: “What do you need personnel records for?“

I actually believed – and have believed for some time – that in an enterprise that is agile and based on trust, personnel records are as unnecessary as a personnel department, not so speak of a “director personnel”. For the administrative processes (paying the salaries, …), a list of employees with very little information would absolutely suffice. Everything else is unnecessary “overhead”.

But before I give you reasons for my opinion, I will describe for you all the things a personnel record consists of.

  • As a general rule, the personnel record is started when an employee is hired. That is old knowledge as it has been handed down over the centuries.
  • When a new employee is hired, a master data list is made. It contains all the data about the employee necessary for realizing the working procedure, such as his/her birthday, sex, social security and retirement number, religious belief, etc. The work contract is added and sometimes the (successful) application letter with the CV and diverse diploma (school, education, academic grade). And, of course, the protocols of one or more job interviews is filed here as well.
  • Then the personnel record is updated all the time by adding:
    • All extensions of the work contract;
    • All goal-oriented agreements;
    • Organisational changes,
    • Gratifications and social support (costs  for child-care);
    • All documentation pertaining continuing education;    
(the many “private educational measures” that, for instance, a software developer is doing all the time are not part of this);
    • Documentation of sickness and health insurance;    
In Germany, all employees who have been sick for more than three work-days have to bring a doctor’s testimony. To me, this looks like a method for creating work and money for doctors – I never knew a doctor who did not write such a testimony when asked by the patient,
    • Special events (change of marital status…) and activities (presentation, …) will also be written down.
    • Protocols of yearly evaluation interviews and all other relevant discussions;
    • Interim job references;
    • All “disciplinary” things such as misbehaviour and/or written warnings;
    • In former times, positive letters were also kept in the personnel record. For instance if a colleague received a special tax-free payment because of a jubilee (company employee) or the birth of a child. However, now that these are no longer tax-free, there is less motivation for the employers to pay any special gratifications.
    • Today, less agreeable data are also part of the personnel record. They suggest a strange concept of humanity. Because humans, too, are now considered a measured object. For instance, we find the results of strange tests (Score-Cards as results, for example, of the Reiss-Methode), as well as “psychological” reports about the employee’s personality and numbers that indicate his performance for the enterprise. I do not know if this is legal, but I know it is done.

(In some companies, they have agreements that state what may be added to the personnel records and what may not be therein. And the works committee controls in regular intervals).

If someone has been an employee for many years, then this report folder can become quite extensive. It might weigh a few kilograms. If you have a hundred employees, you need quite a bit of storage space. That is why you have to have a digital HR application. And, incidentally, you will also get quite some problems with “privacy protection“.

Because, by definition, IT systems are not secure. To be sure, the drawers with the personnel files in locked rooms were not very secure, either. I actually remember some creative employees who managed to get the keys. And I also remember a personnel file lying around on the desk of a “boss” overnight. But in those days that was not a problem.
In IT, you have to introduce processes that define who can read what under what conditions. It has to be documented. And again, you have one of those coffin nails that will do damage to an agile and slim enterprise and give you yet a little more bureaucracy and administration.

In other words – everything you do not really need is something you better avoid!

Incidentally, the dialogue with my friend continued. His reply to my question why you need personnel records was (after some hesitation):
“For writing references?“
Indeed. As we all know, in Germany the employer has to write a reference for an employee when he leaves (or whenever he wishes one). That reminded me of when and how I used to write letters of reference. Here is what I did:
First and foremost, I asked the employee to write down everything he did for the company and mark which of those things were important to him. Then I took this input and added my own knowledge and estimation, before finishing with one of those famous phrases taken from a book that lists all the relevant phraseology.

But I only ever took a look at the personnel folder when I needed a birthday for wishing someone many happy returns.

RMD
P.S.
For more articles of my entrepreneurial diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 12th, 2017

The Unavoidable Unpredictability of the Future!

Many thanks to Jan Fischbach, master of agility and my photographer.

On February, 10th, I gave a presentation for the FAV (Forum agile administration) at the Stuttgart Hochschule der Medien. The audience was terrific and I would like to take this opportunity to express my special gratitude. The twitter tag was #fav17 – it is a convenient way to find more information about the workshop.

My presentation was about the “unavoidable unpredictability of the future”. The title is not originally from me – and the same is true for the following sub-title. Nonetheless, I tried to stick to the pre-defined ideas:

Agile methods are especially useful if the uncertainty about the desired goal is huge. In private businesses, uncertainties increase. Is that also true for public administration? Do agile methods really make sense in this sector?

As a service for those who watched and those who were not there: a summary of my presentation. It is a little shortened and sometimes just in catch-phrases.

I started the presentation with an outlook and by explaining terms that seemed important to me. So the first thing I did was pin a cross with five words to the white-board: in its centre stood “agile“, flanked by  “digital“, “social“, “newwork“ and “network/community“. I defined the terms and explained how, in my understanding, they belong together.


Note:
When I give a presentation, I am always a little nervous initially. In Stuttgart, I forgot the important terms lean and open. The next time I talk about “agile“ I will start with the central “smart“ cube “agile“, “digital“, “lean“  and “open“. And I will add “social“ to build a pentagram.


For instance, in #newwork I collect all the efforts we make towards giving work a more humane appearance that help us “not to suffer from burnout” even in our modern working world. It is all about consideration, cooperation, appreciation and participation. These are all values that movements such as “Augenhöhe“ (the Film), common good economy, intrinsify.me, “democratic enterprise”, “EnjoyWork“ and others demand. For me, “smart” includes the combination of “digital“ and “social“, with digital being the basis for “network/community“ and “agility“ doubtless only having been re-invented in the “digital world“.

However, the digital change (digital) is only the logic continuation of the Industrial Revolution and consequently the ever more accelerating technological progress. The acceleration of the development is no surprise, because thanks to digitalization, we have more and more powerful tools; what follows is that digitalization is the basic cause for the very fast drastic social change.

I supplemented this image by adding the two terms “courage“ and “joy“ – as a prerequisite for a successful (work) life –, along with the two terms “give impulse“ and “inspire“ as the two central agile means of leading (see below). And then I evened it all out by adding “trust“ (left) and “change“ (right). Finally, I wrote “happiness“ and “success“. After all, it is my goal to make other people – be it audience or mentees – at least a little happier and more successful

After that, my presentation had six steps. Here is a description in catch-words.

  • AGILITY
    I introduced the “Agile Manifesto” as it has been written by software developers and talked about the influence of IT on technology and our society. It was important that it became very clear how agility is not just a method, but a “philosophy” or “way of living”.
    There is no ideological discourse about, for instance, whether “scrum” or “the waterfall method” (V model) are better. Agility is such a natural, basic and so very human concept that both methods can be useful, depending on the individual task.

    • The medieval cathedrals, as well as the Rome Colosseum were built in an “agile” way: 
Builder, master and craftsmen met (networking).
    • Not agile: Daimler Museum 
(only new computer speed made it possible to build it, otherwise the static could not have been calculated. But then fire regulations intervened).
    • How agility got lost: 
The industrial revolution changed our view of the world. After having seen the Chicago slaughterhouse, Henry Ford got the idea to produce cars, too, in the assembly line. His huge plants had a great need of workers that were not available. At the same time, many farm workers lost their jobs due to more machines in farming. However, they were “stupid”, not even familiar with the concept of “time”. Consequently, the caste of engineers had to regulate everything. This is how the “caste of engineers” developed. They had to do the mental work for their slaves in all respects. A hierarchical system, paired with extreme division of work (Taylorism) became the formative organizational structure for enterprises.
    • Example: Werner von Siemens, born 1817: he organized his enterprise (Siemens) following the model of the German Army.
    • Another factor: time is a special commodity. As soon as it is over, it is gone. Now, all of a sudden, it is measured. In units, like kilograms! 
Note: sailors knew no schedules. They were only introduced for postal coaches. Only steam ships and the railway made schedules possible. This is how people came up with requiring “shared time” in common areas.
    • Before the industrial revolution, clocks were mostly used for navigation on the ocean. Now begins the time when they dominate (rule over) life.
    • In the plants, there was a common time. To make sure the rhythm was not interfered with, you had to leave your watch at the gate. If someone retired, his farewell present was a watch. “They returned the time to the people”.
    • Before the industrial revolution, nobody had a feeling for time. As early as 1900, there were only few countries with a shared time. For planning, the parameter “time” is extremely important.
    • In an agile world, communities take the place of organizations
Example: movements such as #newwork versus unions.
    • In an agile world, the needs of the customers have priority over the contract:
Example S21 – the plebiscite was positive because the people had understood that facts had been set – simply because contractual obligations had been caused by those who had signed the commissioning.
    • Fake agility 
A good example for this is the car as master of all individualized traffic. Having a car without a driver will not make you free. What happens if all automobile drivers realize this and want to become “agile”? They say that, if that happens, the economy will collapse. However, this is nonsense, because innovation is creative destruction.
  • AGILE LIFE
    As a general rule, agile persons are less fearful. Because fear happens between your ears. Usually, agile persons know the moment when they have to stop weighing arguments and instead should start and try things. Agile persons know that all they have is certainties, rather than truths. They are prepared to first give trust (“first give, then take”).
    Agile persons enjoy their work more and are more modest and happier. Perhaps they are also more humble and grateful. There is a rule: the more fear, the less agility and vice versa. A superior serenity is the pre-requirement for agility. It grows if you live an agile life. Consequently, agile persons are usually happier and more successful.
  • FUTURE
    In the last two decades of the last century, people and managers believed you could predict the future. All you have to have is enough information and then process it in a precise way. That would make it possible to develop valid scenarios for the future, too (for instance through think-tanks).
    And then you could come up with the right solutions and decisions in a totally rational way. 
This is how they believed an enterprise (and a public office) could become a determining system that gets input and gives output – and how the management could be controlled optimally through simply adjusting the right screws.
    What an antiquated point of view! 
The future cannot be predicted. But then, how are you supposed to plan and control the future if you cannot see it?

    • In his 1982 “Theses on Change in Management”, Hans Ulrich (the founder of the St. Gallener Management Model) states in his first thesis: “The future cannot be predicted!“
    • In St. Gallen, business scientists ask themselves how managers can ever make the right decisions à priori if it is often not possible to determine à posterio if a decision was right or wrong 
(Definition of decision: its consequences are serious and it is made under uncertainty).
    • Vuca (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) 
All of a sudden these terms appear as abbreviations for the “real world”. But has the world not always been like this?
    • Futurology: 
I, too, am guilty of having believed analysts (Diebold, Gardner), especially when they confirmed my own assumptions (prejudices). Almost in all cases, the predictions were wrong: 
Here are two examples that were detrimental for me, as well: 
Bildschirmtext (BTX) and Print on Demand (PoD). In those days, the market predictions were totally wrong. Entrepreneurs who believed in them made the wrong investments.
    • There are two personal friends of mine who are worth listening to: 
Klaus Burmester (@foresight_lab) and Lars Thomsen (future-matters.com/lars-thomsen/). They are both probably among the world leaders in research about the future. Klaus is a twitter recommendation. (#FF). 
Matthias Horx (www.horx.com/) is rather famous, but I do not personally know him.
    • On Lars and predictions about electro mobility: 
Several years ago, during a bike meeting in Sylt with entrepreneurs, managers, counsellors. It was about innovation and change, also e-mobility. 
Lars fascinates us all with his presentation on e-mobility. Two years later, almost 20 % of all the participants are proud owners of a Tesla, but all his prognoses were totally wrong.
    • Incidentally, the definition of futurology, according to Lars, is the extension of trend research. Based on this, futurology becomes the search for the Tipping Point (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipping-Point) in technologies.
    • My conclusion is: futurologists are not much help when it comes to predicting the future.
    • The innovation as advertised by everybody can best be described as “creative destruction”.
    • The reform that is so often called for is nothing other than “non-violent change“.
    • And more and more buzz words are making their rounds:
      Transition, Transformation, Revolution, Disruptive Changes, Anti-Fragility, VUCA …
However, none of those are really new and agility is the only concept that can help.
  • The DIFFERENCE between ENTERPRISES and ADMINISTRATION
    Enterprises will die if they cannot cope with change. Especially in IT, there are many examples. Some enterprises “only” go bankrupt. Others leave behind them – even if for many years they privatized their profits very successfully – huge damage that will then elegantly be socialized (see EVUs – for many years they had been the DAX heroes – now they try to move the remaining problems, such as nuclear plants, to the public sector).
    Public office and administration cannot melt away either after having failed to adapt to change. After all, life in the community will continue. Consequently, the public offices – also due to their political and social mandate – have to cope with all change.
    But then, how is the survival of public administration supposed to work without an agile concept as its underlying idea? A concept that has an agile philosophy as its value orientation and that develops and lives an agile culture…
  • DRIVERS of CHANGE
    The understanding that future and change are not predictable grows. Even today, planning fails more and more often, in surprising dimensions. (many big IT projects, S21, BER). You are probably correct if you assume that change will be more frequent and more intense in the future. The trend seems to confirm it. In many areas, we see an enormous acceleration, the speed increases all the time and will continue to do so.
    Some drivers of change could be:

    • What is demanded of politics/society; 
Trump, “laws” that have to be immediately put into action …;
    • Economic Change; 
Car industry, export downfall, excise tax …;
    • Infrastructure & our habits; 
Mobility consumer behaviour, …;
    • Determining factors; 
Rising interest rates, more poverty, …;
    • Disruptive events; 
Refugees, the climate (warming and cold, water and droughts,…) epidemics, war (terror)???
    • Technology;
smart solutions, virtualization, electrification, passports as app;
    • And much more.
  • DIGITAL and CHANGE
    Digitalization as the high-speed continuation of the “technological progress” has only just begun – and the same is true for the social change caused by it. Cultural technologies, such as “being able to do calculations (by heart or on paper)” disappear. 
Machines are now “intelligent”.
    Using “intelligent machines”, we can build machines that otherwise could not be built – and they can themselves build yet more intelligent machines. Thus, the technological acceleration caused by digital progress will continue to grow. 
“Pandora’s box” is probably a nice metaphor for digital technology. The box is on the table. The table starts vibrating, the box begins to wobble. Before you know it, the lid will be askance and something crawls out of the box. Because there is plenty brewing inside the box. 
Soon, the lid will fall from the box and the box will topple over. Its content will spill all over the table. We do not yet know if all the things that spill out are caterpillars that will become beautiful butterflies. Or if they are evil worms that Medusa sent us?
    Well, my hopes are on beautiful butterflies.

That was my presentation. Since the audience seemed to like it, I will probably give the same presentation a few more times, perhaps a little modified with the focal points “agile mobility” or “agile enterprise”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday January 17th, 2017

Prognoses are Difficult, Especially if they Concern the Future.

Complexity made by Visual-Braindump.de.

This sentence is not only said to have been spoken by Karl Valentin , but also by Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Niels Bohr, Kurt Tucholsky (they all were rather intelligent persons). It clarifies a lot: prognoses are not at all easy – and the same is true for planning ahead. After all, planning is the little sister of the prognosis.

On Friday (February, 10th), I will give a presentation at high noon during the FORUM AGILE ADMINISTRATION 2017 in Stuttgart. The amusing title is:

“The inevitable unpredictability of the future“

Naturally, such a title was not something humble me came up with. Still, I find it suitable. After all, it sounds like the intellectual formulation of the simple truth that the future is not predictable. Just as they teach and write in the academic sociology and/or politics circles in their overblown way.
How am I supposed to plan for the future if I cannot even see the future? I will show you with a few examples how very seldom this will work.

I also would like to tell you how private enterprises will always make themselves scarce when matters get a little problematic. They are particularly keen on making themselves scarce if they managed to privatize good profit over many years and if then, as their life cycle nears its end, big deficits are on the horizon. Of course, deficits are something they want to burden society with, rather than face them themselves.

Whenever we are talking public agencies, this is not quite so easy. They have to survive disruptive situations, even in situations when a private enterprise would simply give up. Because life has to go on. Consequently, they need to maintain resilience, or do all they can in order to develop “anti-fragility”.

To be sure, resilience and anti-fragility are also just two additional buzzwords. They are supposed to make it clear that agile and flexible structures offer a huge advantage in times of change. And that strict processes can then easily kill a system.
I already have many ideas for my presentation. Now I am in the structuring and refining stage. I look forward to my presentation and my audience and would be delighted if I could welcome a few familiar faces in Stuttgart.

So here is all the information on the event. On the front page, you will find the program:

 

And details for the booking process can be found at the back of the page:

So I look forward to seeing you in Stuttgart.

RMD
(Translated by EG)