Roland Dürre
Thursday November 22nd, 2018

At the DOAG

IOnce more, I was the speaker.

For many years (that felt more like decades), my friend Dietmar (Neugebauer) was president of the DOAG. DOAG is an acronym for Deutsche Oracle Anwender Gruppe. Every year in November, the DOAG has its big and legendary yearly conference and exhibition in Nuremberg.

Thanks to Dietmar, I was there many times and gave presentations. Last year, I wanted to create something different and, together with Christian and Knud, showed everybody how modern communication could work (there is also a video recording: Video).

With the 2017 success, I was going to terminate my DOAG career (after all, you should end when you feel at the top). But then, Dietmar kept pestering me. Consequently, we did something together in 2018 (on November, 21st) – this time it was about “functional communication”. And we invited people to join “our fishbowl”. And, again, it was really nice.

A fishbowl is organized as follows:

Choice of Topic

If you communicate “functionally“, it might help if you have a topic. But how to find a topic? Our first idea was to establish a topic finding commission for coming up with something. But that is nonsense.

The rules and the intention of our fishbowl were described shortly before the event in my  communication article. We simply checked the newspapers and listened to the radio in the morning to see and hear what were the most important events of the day. After all, the paywall – sorry, the media – are assigned the task of providing the news that concern us every day. Which means they should be a good source. Then Dietmar and yours truly, along with Dr. Marius Poersch and Wolfgang Taschner, took a close look at those topics and selected four of them.

Selection of Topics

Here are the four topics we found in the radio and press of November 21st:

  • How does #newwork fit into our lives
    (work-life-balance, motivation, experiences, how does it actually work)
  • #diesel ban control
    (protection of the environment, data protection, total control, human dignity)
  • The youth is #scared of the internet
    (mobbing, addiction, data and the ownership of your own data getting out of control)
  • Copyright
    (upload filter due to new EU legislation, access to youtube as commonly experienced reality, reaction of the youtube management because they feel threatened.)

Selection of a Topic by Vote

We had prepared four flipcharts and added an important idea to the four topics before announcing the vote. Dietmar gave a short explanation on what the topics were about – and then everybody voted.

Everyone in the room had a round red sticker that he/she could attach to one of the posters. Since my topic was “copyright protection”, that is where I put my red sticker. In the end, unfortunately, (for me), there were only a few red stickers on my topic, while the #newwork poster was overflowing with round red stickers.

Consequently, now we had a topic – a topic which the absolute majority of the people gathered at this place was in favour of on this day. That is a good start for a fishbowl. It was done in no time and totally self-organized.

The Fishbowl

To begin with, the four “experts“ (Dietmar, Marius – who actually was the only real expert – Roland und Wolfgang) took their seats on one of the six chairs (we had spontaneously decided to add a chair because so many people had come). Everybody made his/her statement and then we left things to flow.

And there was a nice flow. In 45 minutes, including preparation time, many wise things were said. We had great results, the participants stuck to the rules (be concise, let everyone else also finish with what they want to say and take up the idea of the person who spoke before you).

The exchange went very well in both directions and the coordination was excellent. My personal conclusion as a “normal participant” was that I rarely had been at the receiving end of so many ideas, impulses and food for thought as during this fishbowl.

Feedback Round

The feedback round confirmed that most of the other participants felt like I felt. Dietmar wrote to me saying that he had received plenty of praise throughout the entire evening (when I had already left).

At an Aside

Directly after us, there is always the central keynote. Yesterday, Lars Vollmer was scheduled as the next DOAG conference speaker. I had never met Lars before and only knew him from his publications. In his presentation, he described the business theatre that you often get today. And I mentally filtered quite a few ideas of his that actually blended quite well with the ideas we had generated during our fishbowl.

And that made me wonder: Why don’t enterprises more frequently organize a fishbowl with their employees in order to get an awareness of what stupid nonsense they sometimes talk?

RMD
Translated by EG


I learned much from Rupert – also how to build syllogisms and vexilla (I took the picture before 2010).

My first introduction to building vexilla was through my teacher and friend Rupert Lay. He closely accompanied my learning and my development for far more than ten years.

Through him, I made the acquaintance of quite a number of the important managers and entrepreneurs who were active in the German economy in the 1970s and 1980s. I also learned to appreciate them and they taught me a lot.

It was also where I learned how many fundamentally important things were achieved in his seminars. In these seminars, you practice the ancient Greek dialectics based on the construction and analysis of syllogisms (Syllogismen) and on the dialectic technology of building vexilla (Fahnenbildung).

In the Projektmagazin – which, incidentally, I find quite a stroke of genius – there is also an article (one of them by Elisabeth Wagner) that is very much worth reading. It describes how, through building vexilla, you can develop ideas and solve problems in a very baffling way and very efficiently.

Basically, building vexilla is just a dialectic philosophical method and has been used in this discipline for thousands of years. As we know, philosophy tries to analyse, understand and give meaning to the world  and the human existence . In a nutshell, I would say it tries to answer the questions: why, for what reason, to what end, how? And that will also help you when you are looking for new ideas and solutions.

The combination of “agile” and “classic dialectics” is a stroke of genius – in almost all cases, it will render excellent results. This is how you can actually achieve “empowering of the people“.

Again and again, that was my experience when moderating start-ups. Especially for an agile team where the individuals work at eye-level, building vexilla is a fantastic tool for gaining new insights in a creative way. Once on a while, you will even mange to get rid of wrong (and often deeply rooted) prejudices.

Here is how you want to proceed in eight steps if you build a vexillum. I like applying them.

  • Formulate the desired theory and define the central terms of the theory.
  • Collect requirements that need to be met at first sight if you want agreement with a certain and exactly defined event or project. You want a list that is as finite as possible.
  • Definition of the terms you used and common agreement.
  • Evaluation of the requirements following the criteria: useful, necessary, sufficient.
  • In case of different opinions with respect to the quality or applicability of requirements, you need to look for alternatives until all the requirements get a consensus. It is permitted to delete requirements that turn out to be unnecessary.
  • Test if all requirements belong to one language game and determine the end function. 
Example for an enterprise: 
regulative – keep the common good out of danger; 
ethically – realize biophily, 
economical – improve the results
  • Test if all the requirements are met or if they can be met with acceptable cost. 
You want to keep in mind that only the actual realization of a project will show if your assumptions have been correct. Consequently, the vexillum can also contain requirements that make a later correction or omission of an earlier decision necessary.
  • In the ideal case, you will find a sufficient requirement as the result of building a vexillum. You will not always manage that. But the sum of necessary requirements that, taken together, will qualify as “sufficient” is also a satisfactory result.

If you wish to try the technology of building vexilla and need assistance, I will gladly help you.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Hans Bonfigt
Monday May 15th, 2017

Kick it Out …

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Monday January 9th, 2017

PEACE

PEACE must not become a religion, because then we will quickly become un-peaceful.

That is also the reason why there must be no project PEACE.

Seems to be a powerful symbol für peace. May be to powerful.

As you all know, I was going to start a project PEACE. Well, more than ever, I am in favour of PEACE. But no longer as a project.

In the last few months, I have had many dialogues with wise and peaceful persons. Like me, they are convinced that peace is the most precious commodity for us humans. And I learned a lot from them and thought a lot about what I can do for PEACE.

Here is what the current state of affairs regarding my ideas is:

I no longer believe that peace can be brought about by organizations and projects.

A short time ago, a strong lady came to me and said:

“Roland, I am now retired, I have lots of time and I would like to support you in your project PEACE”.

I had to tell her that, according to my understanding of PEACE, there cannot be a successful PEACE project:

The only possible project is to live for PEACE yourself.

Very individually and initially only in private. So I asked her to start her own “project” and simply live for (and work towards) her own und all our PEACE. Consequently, I believe there have to be many small peace projects. Everyone first and foremost works on them for himself or herself and individually.

And that you have to deliberately refrain from coordination and mutual agreements. That would be dangerous and quickly cause manipulation and ideology. And it would probably do more harm than good.

So it is my idea that we all should not organize anything. Instead, we should open our sensors wide and be considerate and free – perhaps as a swarm with others who want PEACE. That sounds religious. I do not like religious patterns.

But perhaps PEACE can work if peaceful persons live their beliefs exclusively for themselves and if the convictions they have are based on their own ethically responsible judgement and on the values of humanity (such as the Golden Rule, the Biophilie principle, human dignity being unalienable  …).

I think even “peace-loving” people must NOT actively try to convince others towards being PEACEFUL or act as missionaries. All humans have to come to their own conclusion about PEACE being the requirement for everything else. Otherwise it will not work.

And, above all, nobody should be willing and able to sacrifice themselves for what they believe and thus become martyrs! Because this is not how PEACE can work. Consequently, no organization and no project for PEACE can be a success and actually bring PEACE. In fact, perhaps even the symbol for PEACE I chose and inserted at the beginning of this article is questionable and might be criticized.

It is not easy for me to formulate my complex ideas. If I succeeded in making a little clearer what moves me, then that will make me happy.
And I will continue to strive towards my own PEACE..
RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Perhaps this is a process – can we call it evolution?