Roland Dürre
Friday November 30th, 2012

The Change in Management (Presentation)

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

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

Change will come – if we want it or not.

My two presentations were about

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

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

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

Processes of communication, decision and responsibility change.

Who knows the terms:

Barcamp, Jam Session, OpenSpace, Fishbowl?

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

Today, the following is important:

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

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

What was it like in former times?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

So I tried to give a future-oriented presentation.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday December 21st, 2010

Wikipedia #15 – The Workflow!

Wikipedia is many things. It is an encyclopaedia containing enormous knowledge from really all areas. Well, we all know that, don’t we? However, Wikipedia also realizes a social system in which many people cooperate on a world-wide scale. That is something most people will not so easily think of when hearing the word.

Most users are not aware of the fantastical workflow realized in Wikipedia.

Take, for example, the votes on the relevance criteria or the mentoring program. It is all realized on a de-centralized basis through simple modules. They simply work on lists controlled by watchdogs.
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Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 2nd, 2010

Wikipedia #14 – Wikipedia and Philosophy

During our philosophy seminar under Klaus-Jürgen Grün this last weekend, we also consulted Wikipedia on our way towards trying to find a consensus. We were discussing unanswered questions about Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist and his short story about theErdbeben in Chili (Earthquake in Chili).

I took advantage of the opportunity and asked the many philosophers present (students, doctoral candidates and one professor) about their opinions on the quality of philosophical articles in the German Wikipedia version.

They were surprisingly agreed in their answers:

As a general rule, the articles are excellent, highly competent and very balanced. Consequently, most of the faculties of Philosophy now accept Wikipedia as a reference source!

Regardless of my personal enthusiasm about Wikipedia, it came as a bit of a surprise. After all, there are quite a few articles on scientific and historical themes in the field of informatics in Wikipedia which, although not wrong in principle, are far from perfect. And I still keep finding more than just trifles that would benefit from improvement!

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Roland Dürre
Friday October 1st, 2010

Wikipedia #13 – Wikipedia- Congress

On the weekend of September, 24th to September, 26th, Leipzig hosted the Wikipedia Congress. The admission was free. For details about the program and venue, click  HYPERLINK “” \o “Wikipedia Kongreß-Seite” \t “_blank” here.

Frau Eva Prase of the Freie Presse wrote an article about the opening of the congress titled: “The first internet world wonder”. I helped to inspire her.

Click here to read the Artikel (945). I find it worth reading.

In the article, you will also find my assessment that, due to its “powerful presence on the market” Wikipedia is more than just a “passive” documentation. Instead, it also “actively” influences our assessment of things and persons. It happens involuntarily, yet is unavoidable.

Because technologies and terms not or poorly described in Wikipedia will be forgotten or devaluated. The same is true for persons. For instance, a management trainer with a good presence in Wikipedia is “worth more” than one who cannot be found there.

🙂 Or to put it in simple terms: an animal not described in Wikipedia does not exist.

(Translated by EG)

And with all this fuss, I forgot to mention that the InterFace AG is, of course, not located in Munich, but in  Unterhaching near Munich.

Roland Dürre
Saturday August 7th, 2010

Wikipedia #12 – “Ageing!” or “A German Problem?”

In my last presentation, standing in front of quite an audience, I again asked the question: Who in this room uses Wikipedia? Every finger went up in the air – there was not a single person in the room who does not use it! Wikipedia has grown to be a very important factor. The world can no longer be imagined without Wikipedia.

In Wikipedia, so you would believe, you will find everything. After all, the number of words available in Wikipedia is several times higher than that found in any other encyclopaedia.  Of course, even Wikipedia cannot contain everything. Once in a while, you discover relevant cultural assets that cannot be found in Wikipedia. Basically, it would be our duty as citizens to support the creation of the missing articles.

Wikipedia changes the world. Techniques and terms you cannot find or will only find poorly described will get less and less important. If some innovative concept has not been described in Wikipedia, it will hardly stand a chance of developing into something significant.

Thanks to the democratic structure of Wikipedia, this phenomenon is mostly self-regulative. There is a functioning democratic control mechanism. And, of course, the representatives of all areas of expertise know that their knowledge had better get into Wikipedia if they want to remain relevant. Because technologies and cultures described in Wikipedia, as well as persons and social systems, gain new meaning.

But Wikipedia faces a massive threat!

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Roland Dürre
Friday June 25th, 2010

Wikipedia #11 – “Ars Construendi Vexilla”

Dr. Klaus-Jürgen Grün (Philosopher, IF blog author and good friend) has experience with dialectical seminars. As a special highlight in his seminars, he offers knowledge gain on pre-defined problems by creating a “vexilla”.

I practiced the “ars construendi vexilla” a lot with my mentor Rupert Lay and appreciate the method very much. And I always gladly recommended it to others. But what is a modern manager supposed to do if he does not know the meaning of a word?

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Roland Dürre
Saturday April 17th, 2010

An Interdisciplinary Retrospective of RE

Here is my report about what I presented at TUM.

On April, 13th, 2010, I gave a presentation at “Hot Spots of Software Development 2010” on:

Requirements Engineering (RE) in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

The event was organized by TU Munich in cooperation with BICC-NET and VSEK.

When I prepared for the speech, our experts for requirement engineering, Michael Greulich and Johannes Naumann were a huge help. Many thanks to Michael for his precious advice and Johannes for the beautiful slides for the presentation RE (Folien zum Vortrag RE (926)).

The general motto of my talk was:

Talking about problems inflates the problems.

Talking about solutions improves the solutions.

I first read this “great sigh” on twitter. It was written by a suffering human being belonging to my business sector.

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Roland Dürre
Wednesday March 24th, 2010

Green IT 2

Some of the feedback I received suggests to me that my article Green IT probably contained a little too much technological gibberish, after all.

So let me try to tell you the same again in very simple terms. Today, IT can be exemplified and explained in a simple architecture using four levels:

  • Storage
    When talking about storage, we mean powerful NAS or SAN systems used by the servers in the computer centres. By now, huge computer centres have storage room with the capacity of terabytes, some people even talk of petabytes.
  • Server
    Nowadays, we use the term “server farms”. In these farms, any number of computers performs in a gigantic calculating and processing dimension. In such a physically large system, you mostly simulate many virtual servers later used for all imaginable ends.
  • Network
    The internet is based on a gigantic network. Mostly, the feeders of the internet are separate connected networks.
  • Client
    Clients are the personal PCs, Laptops, SmartPhones and whatever else we have. They are connected to the internet either through networks (VPNs, LAN, WLAN …) or through providers (FIBRE, UMTS …).

Now what I postulate is that a gigantic wastage takes place on every one of these levels.

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🙂 Let me try writing it as a syllogism

All professors are important.
All important people are in Wikipedia.
All professors are in Wikipedia.

It is the simplest form, a so-called a-a-a syllogism, you can use the mnemonic trick Barbara.

Well, I wish it were that simple. I am sure that most professors can be found in wikipedia. However, like other groups of persons, their representation is rather diverse. Unfortunately, this is also true for professors of computer science (even those of the computer science institute at TUM) who by rights should have a little more of an affinity towards wikipedia.

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Sorry, this entry is only available in German.