Roland Dürre
Wednesday August 10th, 2016

Bavarian Constitution, Common-Good Economy…

… Eye-Level, Intrinsify.me, Democratic Enterprise in Management, Holocracy – and Buddhism in Management .. These are all Things I Like. 
- but, please, no CSR!

Vajrasattva (Tibet)

Vajrasattva (Tibet)

Most of us want the same thing: an economy that serves humans. As opposed to humans serving the economy.

That is why I love the Bavarian Constitution (Bayerische Verfassung), where one article explicitly states that it is a huge privilege granted in Bavaria to do business in a community – and how this right is an obligation for the enterprises and entrepreneurs, making it a must for the goods and services they provide to first and foremost be useful for the people.

And in another article of this wonderful constitution, the entire thing is repeated and emphasized again for the finance sector! However, said finance sector could not care less, instead mostly doing things that would be unconstitutional – at least in Bavaria.

I am talking about Articles 151: business is linked to the common good; principle of contract freedom and 157: amassing capital; money and credit. But those are far from the only articles truly worth reading; there are quite a few more of them in the Bavarian Constitution…

I equally appreciate the Common Good Economy around its protagonist Christian Felber. They came up with a common good matrix that makes it possible to check what contribution the enterprise you work in or even perhaps “manage/own” makes for the social life. And it is worth the effort of informing yourself about it.

The project eye-level, along with the film is something I admired because it showed that there are actually enterprises practicing eye.-level successfully.

The brave ideas of the people at intrinsify.me, too, are very close to my heart, as are the clear concepts introduced by Andreas Zeuch who was the inspiration for entrepreneur democrats (Unternehmens-Demokraten). They show that democratic enterprises work better. And they also came up with the wonderful slogan:
ALL POWER TO NOBODY! 

Even the friends of holocracy make a huge impression on me, even though I see the danger of a tiring democracy that might easily lead to “holocrazy”.

A short time ago, however, I met a young entrepreneur. His name is Julian Sametinger and he wrote a Bachelor Thesis  (Bachelor-Arbeit, click here to read it, it is really very much worth reading) on “Buddhism in Management“. It is a wonderful piece of work and more exciting than some criminal stories. And, basically, it covers all you need to know. It is also the reason why I write this post.

I have a huge amount of respect for all these ideas. Their very existence makes me enormously grateful.

But, please, to not offer me CSR (Corporate Social Responsity). It is hypocritical, produced by university ethics-talkers and rehearsed with ethics commissions appointed by the state. I mostly find it pompous gibberish as we know it from politicians and lobbyists. Except that it has been graphically beautified with federally financed high-gloss transparencies and posters of the important associations.

If you want names, I will gladly provide the details about some evil and not quite so evil professors, along with their often absurd concepts and more or less ridiculous activities. Since, however, this blog is supposed to be more about the positive ideas than the negative, I will end this article here.

Thank you for reading it and goodnight to you all!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday March 24th, 2016

Entrepreneur’s Diary #115 – A Personal Interview.

A short time ago, someone asked me to answer a few questions in writing as a preparation for an event. Here are my answers (in cursive letters):

Beim IF-Forum "Jean Paul" (2013)

During the IF Forum “Jean Paul“ (2013)(2013)

We would be interested in who you are and what exactly is your interest when talking the conflict between leadership and cooperation?

I see myself as an entrepreneur, activist, impulse giver and inspiring counsellor.

For us, your motivation is particularly important: where do you get the energy for what you do?
From all the people I meet on a daily basis and from the cooperation with many other persons.

What are your current projects/initiatives?
I coach and support enterprises (including the ones I am myself part of), help start-ups and mentees, am involved in (almost) anything that pertains to “digital transformation” – it used to be called information and communication technology – and I try to promote social topics such as “active mobility in everyday life” (as our future mobility) and “peace” (as my life’s goal).

What are the topics you would wish to discuss and exchange opinions on?
How to make enterprises more successful and humans happier.

What are the topics you can tell us something about from your own personal experience?

In fact, many things come to mind.

What would your statement on leadership and cooperation be?

Leading is an enterprise, an enterprise means inspiration, giving impulses and making it possible that everyone can be part of the team – and that this is what actually happens. Courage and enjoying what you do will guarantee your success.

As you see it, what should be the formative factors in leadership and cooperation today?

Humility in the face of the task and respecting the people.

Can you give a personal story or an example from your practical experience?

One of the nicest stories in my professional life (for me) was the foundation of InterFace Connection GmbH with the development of the product Hit/Clou.

Where do you see the future of work-life?

Giving up working against each other and instead working together.

What is your dream/vision when it comes to innovative working models?
Networks and participation, instead of hierarchy.

What is necessary in order to achieve this?

It is important that an enterprise is agile, open (transparent) and lean, both in concept and actual realization.

What do we already have that makes you enthusiastic?
Especially in “young” and medium-sized enterprises, you will more and more often find “dialogue at eye-level”. But in big enterprises, you constantly get (successful) biotopes that live just as well.

Where do you see the special challenge for an enterprise if they want “dialogue at eye-level”?
The ability to listen and the willingness to accept that other persons are different should be a self-evident part of the entrepreneurial culture.

If you imagine an enterprise where cooperation happens at eye-level, what emotions does that stir inside you?

The feeling of shared responsibility, trust into the future, enjoying my work. I am very happy that, in my professional life, I mostly enjoyed this kind of atmosphere.

Can you define: dialogue?

Listening is more important than talking.

What is “at eye-level”?
Appreciating each other and actively respecting each other.

What challenges do big concerns face?
That all employees should identify with the system they are part of in a “healthy” way and that they can all be part of the decisions in a “meaningful’” way. This should happen voluntarily and without indoctrination and centrally controlled manipulation.

What questions arise in connection with this issue?
I wonder if this is even possible after a company has reached a certain size. Are mega-concerns at all capable of realizing such a concept? Can growth actually be the absolute standard? But then: can an enterprise be successful at all if it does not grow? I am not sure if it is possible to do the balancing act between growth being necessary and growth being potentially detrimental in a sustainable way!

Have you already found answers or are you still looking for them?
Sometimes I believe that enterprises should have an upper limit to the number of employees. And as soon as they reach this number, they should split into smaller units wherever this can reasonably be done.

What are your successful concepts for the future?
It might make sense to consider enterprises more like “living organisms” with very individual values and their own individual culture, rather than “machine-like” systems you can control by “pulling a lever”.

What are the ideas/methods you are trying to find?
Here is what I could imagine:

  • In general: realize even (mega) big tasks and projects through networks comprised of small systems.
  • Less and – above all – shorter meetings in the organizations.
  • A lot of peer2peer work (truth begins with two).
  • Anti-conferences will generate more results than, for instance, strategic kick-off meetings or workshops.
  • Barcamps and OpenSpace are strong regular formats for sharing knowledge/experience and gaining insight.
  • Using more haptic (serious play) and visualization techniques (one picture will tell more than a thousand words).
  • And much more …

For me, a barcamp was a success if…

… all participants go home with a sense of achievement because a new common denominator, along with added insight, was created through trust and sharing.

What is special about a barcamp?
As opposed to a classical conference, a barcamp is self-organized and has no hierarchies. There are no presentations that have been prepared beforehand and all participants are responsible for the topics. This is how the discussions can be kept up-to-date and very dynamic.

Why have you registered?

Because I received such a nice invitation.

Is this the first time for you to attend a barcamp, or are you returning?

I first experienced anti-conferences, such as barcamps, a long time ago and then I founded my own barcamp movements (for instance PM-Camp for entrepreneurship and project management or AktMobCmp for “active mobility in everyday life“. But at InterFace AG, too, we organized barcamps and OpenSpace with all the colleagues at frequent intervals. And they were always rather a success, both for the enterprise and the employees.

What do you like about barcamps (in general)?
The fact that it is based on democratic ideas and the usually quick development of a great openness and familiarity between all the participants.

What topics are you concerned with?

Entrepreneurship, leadership, project management, the future of mobility, peace.

If you are asked such nice questions, it is really a pleasure answering them!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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

Roland Dürre
Friday February 12th, 2016

Three Phrases that can Destroy all Joy and Courage.

And I mean both for yourself and for others.

So klein ist der Mensch. Am linken Rand Muhamed, Führer und Freund.

We are back home! Humans are such small creatures. On the left, you can see Muhamed, our guide and friend.

Last week was the first time I saw the tombs and temples of the Pharaos. I learned many new things and had time to ponder.
I became aware of three phrases that can make life harder. The first one is

Yes, BUT …“
Early in life, I learned that it is probably not a good idea to say “yes, but” too often. It happened while I underwent management coaching.

In entrepreneurial everyday-life, I sometimes suffered under the “yes, but” attitude of the people around me. It probably never gained us very much.

When we decided
Hurrah, we will go on our first ever cultural Nile river trip!
the phrase re-surfaced.
I often heard it – sometimes I even heard myself saying it.

Yes, but what about our carbon dioxide footprint …
(a problem I take rather seriously) 
Yes, but aren’t cultural trips always so tedious …
(a temple a day, and sometimes two…)
Yes, but what about the long travel until we get there …
(it took almost 13 hours, first the train to Nuremberg, then the flight to Hurghada on the Red Sea and from there the bus to Luxor – another 380 km).
Yes, but we cannot do it because of the terrorist threat …
(while two trains collided in Munich)
and so on, and so forth …
And how stupid we would have been had we abstained from this trip!
The second phrase I mean is
Being opposed to something!

How often do I catch myself opposing something?
I oppose the gigantic subsidies of business cars. I oppose fascism. I oppose the stupidity of politicians. I oppose the coal harbour on the Barrier Reef in Australia. I oppose waste of food. I oppose bureaucracy. And so on, and so forth …

Just a few years ago, my friend Jolly Kunjappu declared that “being opposed to something” is a negative concept that will push you down. Why don’t we, instead, focus on what is nice, what we like and what we appreciate? This concept will give us courage and joy.

The third phrase is one that I was made aware of by Moslam last week. Moslam was our guide during our Nile river trip. We became friends. He regularly travels to Germany. Consequently, we also talked about his experiences in my home country and he told me how it always moves him when his German friends keep saying:
“We must …“

I know very well from my own experience what he means. I must go and buy some milk. After that, I must write an IF Blog article and evaluate business plans. And then I must meet Barbara for lunch at the Artemis (the Greek restaurant just around the corner). And in the afternoon, I must meet friends from the university at the Forschungsbrauerei for the brown ale initiation. And tomorrow, I must go and attend the F.re.e

But then, isn’t it wonderful that I can go and buy milk. After all, it is not at all a matter of course that, just around the corner, you can buy good milk in the brown bottle with 3.8 % fat. It actually still tastes like milk! And I always enjoy dining at the Artemis, because there the food tastes excellent and the Greek landlord and landlady are always so friendly. The Forschungsbrauerei, too, is always worth visiting and at the F.re.e , there are so many impulses waiting to tell me what I can do – thanks to the diversity of cultures and regions on our great planet.

These are all things I enjoy doing, because they are just wonderful – so why would I have to do them?

In a nutshell, I would say:
It pays to think and write in a “positive” way. If that is what you decide to do, you will feel and think more and more like it!

Pure luxury between Luxor and Assuan. Isn’t life just great?

Luxus pur von Luxor nach Assuan. Das Leben ist schön!

Luxus pur von Luxor nach Assuan. Das Leben ist schön!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday January 21st, 2016

Bernd Fiedler – K-Working

I am sitting in the ICE 1682 from München to Berlin, on my way to the PM-Camp-Orgateam meeting. Again, the WLAN does not work in the train (no IP) and I do a little “tethering”. The Deutsche Bundesbahn will not repair the WLAN before tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. (according to a @DB-Bahn tweet in reply to my complaining through twitter), although a simple “reset” would probably do the job.

But, luckily, I have the new book by Bernd Fiedler on me. Bernd is a good friend of mine. I like coming along when he goes on presentation tours, or else I meet him playing cards. He is one of those persons who never create new problems. Instead, he always talks of things and the future in positive terms. Consequently, meeting him is always a delight.

K-Working-FiedlerNow he wrote a small book. And thanks to DB, I have time to read it. Like its author, the book is constructive. The title is: K-Working. It describes how brain-workers might and should cooperate in a “new world”. Reading it really gives you courage and delight.

Yet it is also a book full of critical remarks, containing surprising and often very precise theses. For some persons, Bernd produces a merciless mirror to hold in front of them. And more often than not, some of the actual (bitter) situations are exactly what I, too, experienced in the past, which is why I find myself sharing the analysis in in the book.

From the outside, the book looks small and unpretentious. But somehow or other, all you need to know about brain workers and leadership can be found in it. And he says it all in a very simple and commonly comprehensible language. It is exciting and an easy read.

That is because it does not want to be a missionary advertising highly elaborated and complicated theories. Instead, it remains rational, focussing on what is really important.

Even the font is nice and large – basically, my reading is almost exclusively digitally these days and reading my old pocketbooks is often a hug effort for me. K-Working, on the other hand, can easily be read in the half-light of an early January morning and the (very much appreciated) diffuse ICE illumination.

All that is important can be found in the book. It is concise and has no endless repetitions as you often find them in US management literature. In those, you often know after the first fifty pages what will follow. And on the remaining 300 pages, you get it all again and again several times. Well, K-Working is not like that!

The book was published as a pocketbook by the epubli publishing house, the language is German. It has 140 pages and the ISBN is 9783737566599. And for 14.99 €, you can already buy the second edition (!), also at epubli.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 16th, 2015

Five Weeks to Go until #PMCampDOR

pmcamp-logo-dornbirnLate in 2010, a small group of entrepreneurs, nearly all of whom incidentally were also bloggers, met. They shared an idea and wanted to try organizing a project management barcamp. They called it PM-Camp (PM short for project management). The persons involved were: Kornelia, Eberhard, Jens, Marcus, Stefan and yours truly.

It was our intention to host a free meeting of persons, entrepreneurs, leaders and all kinds of “managers” in order to exchange experience and knowledge beyond conferences and workshops. Totally democratic and at eye-level. With a good mixture of female and male, young and old. In 2011, also in November, we had the first PM Camp world-wide in Dornbirn.

Time went by in a hurry. In exactly five weeks, the fifth Dornbirn PM-Camp will start. That means we celebrate a jubilee! In fact, we are a little proud of it. We are also proud about a movement having sprung from the first PM Camp. It is now thriving in many European places with local PM Camps.

For all of you, it is now about time to order tickets. Otherwise you might end up empty-handed. Because PMCampDOR is definitely something like the mother of all PM Camps – where many wish to attend.

This time around, we chose the metaphor “breaking with patterns” as our impulse. Consequently, the hashtags are #PMCampDOR and #musterbrechen.

🙂 Maybe will become and will turn into … Because you never know what is going to happen on a PM Camp.

Naturally, the Dornbirn organizational team wants to celebrate the jubilee with a particularly nice and successful PM Camp. Consequently, we want to make it especially easy for our “newbies”, meaning those guests attending their first PM Camp or even their first barcamp to really get under way. So I now point out to you a series of articles I wrote as early as 2013/2014 – but it is certainly still up-to-date. In these articles, I am telling you what happens during a PM Camp.

Here are the links for the five articles:

My continuing education story – personality promotion, seminars, workshops barcamps

(how I first was introduced to the barcamp idea.)

barcamps und PM-Camp (2) – why they are such a success.
(because they are great fun and all participants are happy when they go home.)

barcamps und PM-Camp (3) – typology and sessionsbarcamps and PM-Camp (3) –

(what kinds of sessions are there?)

barcamps and PM-Camp (4) – Twittering is part of it .

(why PM Camps and social media complement each other so well.)

barcamps und PM-Camp (5) – rules

(on a barcmp, you can have freedom, because people behave socially responsible.)

Another article is a general one:

The Story of and guideline for a PM Camp

(and barcamps in general)

And for all of you – not just for the newbies – I would once again wish to point out our values as we summarized them in our guidelines.  You will also find them in document.

I am sure it will be useful for you to take a second look at these materials. And perhaps you have a few recommendations for change, modification, improvement? The #PMCampDOR will definitely be the right stage to discuss all those things.

And here is a short Video on PM-Camp.

RMD 
- also in the name of the Dornbirn organizational team
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday September 14th, 2015

PM-Camp Berlin (Report)

pmcampberlogoLast week, on Friday and Saturday, Berlin hosted its already third PM Camp. If you wish to find it ion twitter:  the hashtag is #PMCampBER.

Weeks before the event, the Camp was sold out. Everything was fine. This time, the “anti-conference” took place at the Alexander von Humboldt University, where the impressive halls gave the PM Camp a wonderful glamour and beautiful patina. I was there and, again, it was just great.

This time, I was a little less active than usual, only in charge of two sessions. The first of them was early on Friday afternoon. I called it “PM Vintage” (project management vintage). Having prepared four stories about projects in my life between 1973 and 1985, I presented them to the audience. It was “story telling” with a little background information. I started with a small project I had been put in charge of all by myself when I was a student worker, then came more complex ones…

Here is an overview of my four projects:

  • We need high Mersenne Prime Numbers for developing a random generator on HW basis (winter semester 1973 – WS at Siemens)!
    This is where I learned the importance of decisions. Even at a time when there was no internet, etc. And that you can achieve nothing without courage.
  • Responsibility for a language in one of the teams that – in cooperation with many other teams – achieved great things (APS, Transdata, PDN – 1977 – 1978 – employee at Siemens).
    This is where I made the experience how fast creativity and success can go down the drain if there is an excess of processes and Taylorism.
  • Technological responsibility for a huge project at Siemens for the Bavarian Police (DISPOL – 1979 – 1982 – originally as a Siemens employee, later as a Softlab employee)
    This was the first time in my life I came to know a “true” project manager. He had to appease the overhead, which was not a very nice job. However, he could not contribute to the project success.
  • Foundation of a company and generation of our own product, the HIT/CLOU (starting 1984 – at InterFace Connection GmbH – today InterFace AG).
    This was where my partner Wolf Geldmacher and yours truly were lucky in that there were many things we did right. Consequently, we had a really great team.

As soon as the opportunity arises, I will write down the story of those four projects and publish them here on the blog (including the links).

The second session was a spontaneous one on Friday evening during the great PM Camp Party at the Microsoft “Digital Eatery“ not far from the university. I met Maik Pfingsten during one of those many “after-the-pm-camp-conversations” of the evening event. And we decided to initiate a session together on the very next day.

We truly got into complexity. The title of the session was “Living/Loving Complexity”. I was going to recommend that all those confusing discussions about complexity and complicatedness should simply be forgotten or ignored. Because you always get all those complicated (complex?) mind games. And consequently, I was going to recommend that you should not spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not a project is complicated or even complex. Instead of talking, I was going to recommend you should act. And in preparation, I formulated some simple, behavioural theses which will make us successful and happy – regardless of the world being complicated or complex.

I guess Maik and I succeeded – and I was truly happy with the positive feedback I received after our presentation. The next thing I will do is write the article about this session “Living/Loving Complexity”. I hope to finish it by the day after tomorrow. Then you can read it in the IF blog. Of course, there will be a link.

It was a great PM Camp in Berlin and, for me, those were two happy days in Berlin. Consequently, I would like to thank the fantastic organizational team: Ralf Eicher, Christian Vogel, Fabian Fier and last not least Heiko Bartlog!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
After the event, they gave me a book because I had been the first to register. So here is what you want to do: register extremely early for the then fourth Berlin PM Camp. It is well worth the effort.

I am glad to announce that now the video recording of the great presentation by Bruno Gantenbein at the St. Gallen IF Forum of July, 23rd, 2015, is available on youtube and can be watched by all of you:

The presentation ”Learning in Innovation“ held by Bruno Gantenbein at the IF Forum left me deeply impressed. Many of the audience felt the same. But some who also were very impressed by Bruno’s theses came back with the important reply that what he spoke about was not something “normal people” can live in a “normal life” in the “real world”. Because your normal Jim and Jack cannot really manage it. And it simply cannot be done. Once in a while, it sounded really like people were despairing.

To me, it seems the reason is that
“most people cannot really imagine living in another world than the one we are living in“
and that
“we are no longer capable of distinguishing between what is important and what is not important. Consequently, what is unimportant is dominant in our lives.“

To me, this seems to be the major problem both for us and our society. A degree of external control through marketing and lobbyism as we never had it manipulates us in a totally new way. It is totally different from, but certainly no less dangerous than, for instance, religious indoctrination of persons in the Middle Ages or, if we are unlucky, the manipulation as practiced by the Nazis.

The formatting of our lives through a super-powerful but not tangible system took away our autonomy. Now we get nervous and start talking change. Yet we lack all desire to start another life outside our comfort zone. In fact, more often than not, we are not even capable of imagining such a life. For instance, the strength to develop utopias for the future seems to have left us. Looking for values and visions no longer plays a role in our society. In fact, if we do look for visions, it is actually something others are belittling us for. The attempt to re-create a new “social consensus” is smothered in the very first stages. Consequently, we assume that the status quo is true and there is no alternative.

We no longer have the courage for change. We accept our dependence and are happy to be “enslaved”. Be it by technology or as our social concepts of life (our lies of life) determine it. We believe you cannot live without a car, a TV set and electricity all over the place. We believe in the omnipotence of medicine. That the federal administration must and has to guarantee our security and safety. And that the planet will certainly find a way to survive it all.

Except that so many of the things we take for granted can be easily disproved. There is no absolute security. We experience it all the time. The sudden death of an important partner or a surprise illness totally throw us off balance. We can easily fall victim to some mishap.

But then, there are also harmless examples. The stamp collection we inherited
from our grandfather that was so precious, but for which now not even the wastepaper trader is prepared to pay, shows us how difficult it is with security. Many things that used to cost a lot are totally valueless today. I made the same experience when pay day came for my direct insurance. What a discrepancy between the money I received from what I had expected when, decades ago, I first signed the insurance contract. Instead of the imagined free-hold apartment, the only thing I got for it was a medium-size car…

Regardless of all this, the (alleged) security of our modern financial world suggest for some that we actually are in total control of the risk of our material life through retirement money and savings. Except where will the Euro be ten years from now? Will we be able to solve future problems with it? What will money be worth? Have we not learned a long time ago that “you cannot eat” money? Especially if it is just virtual money and perhaps out of the blue will have to be shortened by the occasional digit.

To make up for it, we capitulate for fear of terrorism. And we are prepared to sacrifice our present freedom for these kinds of mind games. Sacrificing freedom for what we believe is an investment in increased future safety! And we are even prepared to start a modern (crusade) war for it.

This is how we follow the stupid and brazen battle cries of politicians and economic leaders who, more often than not, are no longer sane. We swallow pointless laws they serve us with, regardless of the fact that we know those will do more harm than good. And we surrender before the stupidity of our “representatives”. In fact, I actually yearn for a German or European Spring. But I do not mean one triggered by hunger or poverty like the one in Northern Africa – which inevitably dooms it.

Why do we believe them when our politicians tell us that “without the Euro, there would be no Europe” and that the so-called “Grexit” would ruin us all? Why do the politicians tell us such fairy tales? We know as well as the politicians that the Euro is good for those who stand in the light. And it is detrimental for those standing in the shadow. Just as we all know that the exploitation structures, both globally and within Europe and Germany, must fail or cause conflicts, either in the near or not-so-near future.

But we get the impression that we cannot do anything about it and perhaps that is really what happens. Also, we no longer have the courage to oppose the structures of the administrative and economical systems that rule over us. And we no longer stand up against this, even though we know that human beings – which is we! –, and not system interests that have de-personalized and de-humanized themselves, should be the centre of the society, politics and economics. First and foremost, the economy and the state must serve the interests of the people. Just like it is written in the Bavarian Constitution.

The system of the oligarchy of the parties (Oligarchie der Parteien ) – see Jaspers -rules over us and the morals of mercantile metric in economy sharpens the boundary conditions of our behaviour. Thus, the systemic mills will continue to grind, making the restrictive nets of bondage tighter and tighter. It happens in small portions, which means that we often do not even notice it and almost consider it normal.

Consequently, here is what we need to do:

Let us also get back to remembering that we, as “natural beings” are also part of the “natural world”. To be sure, the “cultural world” we created makes some things easier for us, but it also took a lot from us. It made us lazy. And we forgot that the price we are paying is rather high.

As I see it, we should return – and radically so – to thinking about whether, perhaps, we could also live in other worlds and probably even be happier living in other worlds. As you all know, my favourite example is the “away from the car” and turning towards active freedom through “active mobility”. Yet it is just as important to take a close look at the working and living conditions we subjugate ourselves under, be it in social systems such as families or otherwise. We need to question all that seems self-evident and draw conclusions from the answers. Formerly, one would have said: Destroy what destroys you.

Part of this is also to live a “life in harmony with nature” as Seneca formulated it. And he meant more than just the biological nutrition process and the preservation of the environment. He also meant we need to listen to our inner voice.

After all, Seneca was a great teacher who wanted to help his pupils on their way to become successful and happy persons. So let me finish this article with another sentence by Seneca that might perhaps make it a little easier for us to start travelling towards other worlds:

“It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult”.

Yet – there is hope. What is currently happening on the internet is actually something I rather delight in.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday July 23rd, 2015

Ada Lovelace and Unschooling?

Here is my introduction to the presentation “Learning in Innovation” by Bruno Gantenbein  “Learning in Innovation” as I would like to see it tonight. What I am going to say is meant to connect the person ADA LOVELACE both with the term “unschooling” and with “project management”.

Ada Lovelace 1836, Gemälde von Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1793–1872)

Ada Lovelace 1836,
Painting by Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1793–1872)

ADA LOVELACE was a very controversial lady. As I see it, she must have had a very exciting – both successful and desperate – life. Even reading about her in Wikipedia gave me the following ideas.

If we want to become masters of our profession, we have to exercise the “best practice” of great masters and make use of humanity’s experiences condensed in “design patterns”. Until we reach a dead end – where we have to say good-bye to what we learned. Now you have to rebel and question “things” like “but that is how we always did it”.

Consequently, learning means familiarizing yourself with patterns and sticking by them.

Learning in innovation, however, calls for breaking with patterns. Breaking old patterns and developing new patterns will lead to creative destruction. Thus, living in a social community means you have to not only accept but even use the compromise between your individual needs and the collective rules for your own unfolding.

We love the formatted life, because it is secure and comfortable. We are prepared to subjugate ourselves under morals, because we want to be good.

On the other hand, we crave for freedom and novelty. Because we know that a moralising society will take away our freedom and confine us, at the same time making us look small.

This is the case both in private life and in our work life (if the distinction is still permitted at all). In the social communities of our private lives, we permanently manoeuvre between often paradox positions. And the same is true for our professional lives.

Because the enterprise where we work is also a social system, albeit with an economic purpose. Leadership is communication and communication is, again, a balancing act – between listening and speaking.

I do not know many biographies more laden with the conflict between autonomous self-determination and external control than those of the great mathematicians and Mrs. Ada Lovelace. Spontaneously, the only other person who comes to mind is Nietzsche, who was born a little less than 30 years after ADA LOVELACE.

I think we can only be “good” project leaders, managers and leading personalities if our important projects are a success. To me, it seems like the most important project for all persons are their own lives. If we want to meddle in other people’s lives, the first thing we have to do is make our own life a success.

However, our own life can only be a success if we focus on the really important things and if we change habits detrimental to life. Consequently, I have to be prepared to unfold my own life autonomously and bring order into it. In my personal life, I chose my mobility. I try to avoid unhealthy mobility as far as possible. It is very simple, isn’t it? –

How am I supposed to live a self-determined life if, for example, I cannot even manage to do it with respect to my own mobility? Consequently, I have to change and practice. Instead of letting myself be externally controlled.

Well, this is what I associate with the disrupted life of ADA LOVELACE.

During the presentation by Bruno Gantenbein, I would recommend that you look for parallels with your own life.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 1st, 2015

Bruno Gantenberg of Zurich PM Camp at InterFace AG!

A little late, but so much the more motivated, we at Interface AG open the year 2015 under the Ada Lovelace symbol, starting our much loved lecture series “IF-Forum” with a high profile speaker and a topic as controversial as it is exciting.

I would like to personally invite all my friends, in particular those from the PM Camp environment, to come and watch this presentation. You will not regret it. At the Zurich PM Camp, the speaker – Bruno Gantenberg – moved his audience in the truest sense of the word. As far as I am concerned, I already very much look forward to speaking the introductory words for the presentation.

Here is the original text taken from the InterFace AG corporate blog.

Bruno GantenbeinOn July, 23rd, Bruno Gantenbein, who is a senior counsellor and project leader at CSP AG, will speak about “learning, too, is evolution”. The Swiss unschooling pioneer will allow us a glimpse into the practice of this new way of learning, at the same time building a philosophical bridge towards project management. Taking his own family and the circumstances of same as an example, Bruno Gantenbein will describe the unschooling approach. He will also introduce the “Spirit-Hand-Heart-Head” Model, he himself developed, which the Gantenbein family has now been practicing successfully for ten years. Applying the results won in this context to project management shows a relevant technological connection with IT and the InterFace AG.

What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is a way of learning controlled by children in their normal everyday environment. It includes the cooperation of their parents or other nearest persons of contact without trying to imitate traditional schools or their curricula. Consequently, there is no planned teaching or certain times of the day when special school-like activities are obligatory. Topics are discussed whenever the child is interested. The parents – or other persons living in close proximity to the child – are less teachers than supporters or comrades-in-learning.

In his provocative book: “Drive, What Really Motivates You”, the best-selling author Daniel H. Pink writes about intrinsic motivation, giving the interesting advice: “Let un-schoolers teach you one lesson!”

Well, Mr. Gantenbein, that is exactly what we are going to do with great pleasure.

The presentation will be on Thursday, July, 23rd, 2015 at 18:30 hours in the InterFace AG offices at Unterhaching (Leipzigerstrasse 16). We welcome our guests from 18:00 h.

As always, you can easily register for this IF Forum via E-Mail. We already look forward to exciting discussions and an inspirational exchange of opinions!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 22nd, 2015

At Eye-Level – A Film about Work-Life in the 21st Century.

workhard117A team of five started an exciting project – and eventually it turned into a film: “At Eye-Level “ (Augenhöhe).

Here is the story: During a session of the 12th  intrinsify!me “wevent” in Berlin about the work-life value of the 21st century, the idea grew that you should not only describe everything in words at all times. Instead, you should show it to people – in a film.

Five session attendants remained together and got active. They made the film “At Eye-Level”. I first heard of this project on the Berlin 2015 PM Camp during a great impulse presentation by Ulf Brandes. Later, I saw parts of the film during the Munich 2014 PM Camp. Two of the protagonists playing in “At Eye-Level” are personal acquaintances of mine through PM-Camps.

Thanks to enormously well-used “social media”, the project quickly earned great acclaim, even beyond the internet. The successful crowdfunding for its financing, too, had enjoyed a huge amount of public awareness and was accordingly very successful. The opening night on January, 30th, in Hamburg, too, had a huge audience. More than 400 (!) persons came to watch the film at the Hamburg Museum der Arbeit.

The film is about good topics. Perhaps its professional quality cannot hold a torch to documentaries with similar topics, such as by Geyrhalter, Wagenhofer (among other things the trilogy We Feed the World, Let’s Make Money and Alphabet) or Carmen Losmann (Work Hard – Play Hard). But neither does it need to – it is more a refreshing production on the level of TV reports by the ARD or ZDF, for instance about shipping electric waste to Africa.

The film is about persons acting different roles in their work-lives: entrepreneurs, managers, founders. But above all, it shows employees happy to be working for “good” employers. Because they can, for example, due to innovative working hours models, dispose of their own free time more freely than is common and therefore organize their own lives as they wish.

Unfortunately, though, the highly praised project “At Eye-Level” is also one where not all is gold that glitters. Shortly before the film was finished, two articles about Adidas and Unilever were added to it.

Adidas

Suddenly, you see Christian Kuhna in the film. I first met him at the open-up Camp in Nuremburg. His job with the sports giant is about social media, Moocs and the like and he has a small but very efficient team at his disposal

I am sure that the work-life attitude in Christian’s team is good and modern. Also, I am always impressed by the competence and positive attitude of all the salespersons in Adidas shops. But I am sure this is not true for the huge majority of persons producing for the concern.

Consequently, including Adidas in the film was a source of controversy among “crowd funders”.

Unilever

At the very end of the shooting, Unilever, too, was added. Even as early as the meeting in Munich, I was surprised to find the food giant presented as a positive example. There, Sven Franke – one of the protagonists – told us that Unilever had contacted “At Eye-Level” because they had established contact during the film “WORK HARD PLAY HARD” by Carmen Losmann. In that film, they had not made a particularly good impression and consequently, they wanted to make up for it. Well, no matter what, Unilever definitely is not the best material for this kind of film.

Sven’s reasoning was as follows: they wanted to show that even a huge enterprise can have a few niches where work-life might happen at eye-level.

Well, this might be a matter of taste. To be sure, every huge enterprise also has a few “islands of blessedness”. Even if it is only the team of directors.

However, it is also possible that Adidas and Unilever were included because they are “big names”. Which might have made the producers think makes the film more attractive. This is certainly also an acceptable decision. But if so, you should also communicate it as such.

When talking “big names” and these kinds of ideas, Tomas Sattelberger, too, comes to mind. He, too – just like he also currently seems to be publicly visible all the time – appears in the film. After all, everybody wants to hear and see a repetition of the Saul-Paul story. I do not know Tomas Sattelberger personally, but only from what I read about him in the press. Consequently, I cannot give a valid estimation. But in his roles as director of famous DAX concerns, he did not look like the typical representative for “eye-level” to me.

Well, so much about the small stains on the otherwise clean slate.

Mind you, please not to misunderstand me: I find the topic “eye-level” as formulated by Sven Franke or Ulf Brandes an excellent idea. The same is true for the activity and the result. Also, the enterprises concerned are welcome to the gain in reputation they got from it and I would be happy if those who initiated the project were also reimbursed in a material sense for the huge amount of energy they put behind it.

It is a true delight to discuss the individual film scenes under the “entrepreneurial” light. Especially the founder’s enterprises shown in the film might suggest that a proper firm is only possible where you have the “good tyrant”. The question I ask is: how can the entrepreneurial culture shown in the film also be structurally included in our social system – for instance in the sense of a “democratic enterprise”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The picture is not from the film “Augenhöhe – At Eye-Level”. I took it from “WORK HARD PLAY HARD” by Carmen Losmann.