Roland Dürre
Wednesday February 24th, 2016

Jubilee – A Hundred Videos Downloaded to Youtube!

I have now had a Youtube-Channel for a few years. As with almost all my internet activities, I call myself rolandduerre or Roland Dürre. I just noticed that I published my hundredth video on January, 13th, 2016. It makes me quite happy to celebrate this jubilee. Consequently, I will now write a short post about it.

Among other things, I publish the IF Forum presentations on my YouTube channel. But you can also find considerable parts of Rupert Lay’s works on the channel. I was there for many of his presentations, especially on the Ronneburg with Bernd Sielaff  behind the video camera. There are also some of my own presentations about current topics around InterFace and IT. And more often than not, my friend Friedrich Lehn (fhlcinema) was the man behind the video camera and the mixing console.

The jubilee video is a short report on the barcamp for Active Mobility in everyday life #AktMobCmp of earlier this year:

The uncrowned champion is: Klaus-Jürgen Grün. He tops all other recordings with his presentation of “The Art of Negative Thinking”.

Personally, I consider the presentations by Rupert Lay extremely important in our times. He established his philosophical heritage in two presentations. Here is part 1, where he demands a New Enlightenment.

Very much a current topic – even though already recorded a few years back: Wilfried Bommert:

My favourite video recordings are, for example, those with Eberhard Huber or Roger Dannenhauer  …

But there are many more great orators on the channel. I do not want to name them all. So why don’t you just visit and browse through my Youtube-Channel?
Incidentally, I also find this presentation of mine rather nice.

(Translated by EG)

On Tuesday, February, 16th, 2016, Dr. Martin Held and my friend Jörg Schindler will give an exciting presentation on:

Cheap Oil – Motor for the Economy or Obstacle on the Way to Transformation?

at the orange bar.

Admission from 18:30 hours | starting at 19:00 hours | finale at 20:30 hours in the
orange bar, Green City Energy, Zirkus-Krone-Straße 10, (6. OG), Munich

Admission: free.

Jörg Schindler im IF-Forum der InterFace AG

Jörg Schindler at the InterFace AG IF Forum

Are you a car driver, property owner or entrepreneur? Everybody is happy about the low oil prices and the resulting cheaper energy.

It saves money and, in the short run, has the effect of a great global economic stimulus plan. For the economy, they also expect positive impulses.

Except – the central traffic sector will remain extremely dependent on oil. This is a problem that cannot be solved by simply pulling the lever, following the motto “no more oil, electricity instead” (keeping everything else as before).

Instead of triggering the transition to post-fossil mobility, the oil production is now extended to arctic seas and ever lower oceanic altitudes at a high ecological risk. The low prices are misinterpreted and seen as fortuitous boom boosters, providing an extra motivation to again do some serious “upgrading”.

What are the reasons for the oil prices falling so drastically? What price will our society have to pay for this prolonged fossil resource consumption? Will this make a halfway tolerable transition towards a post-fossil, sustainable development (Great Transformation) even harder to achieve?

The speakers Dr. Martin Held and Jörg Schindler say that the most important factor for a successful Great Transformation is in danger: the adaptation time. What are the alternatives? Who could start working on said alternatives? What is the role of the civil society when it comes to the future transformation process?

For registration, please send an E-Mail to or call 089/890668319.
The speakers are:

Dr. Martin Held (discussion group: Die Transformateure – Akteure der Großen Transformation, board member at ASPO Deutschland e.V. and long-time head of studies at Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Tutzing) 
Jörg Schindler (discussion group Die Transformateure – Akteure der Großen Transformation, board member at ASPO Deutschland e.V. and long-time managing director of Ludwig-Bölkow foundation, Neubiberg)


(Translated by EG)
If you cannot come to the presentation but still wish to invite the speakers at another time, I will gladly connect you. Just send me an E-Mail .

Now I returned home from Dornbirn and it is the weekend. It was a truly strong week. First, I spent two nights in Nuremberg with a long day on the #DOAG2015 and then, between Thursday and Saturday, I enjoyed a very intense PM-Camp in Dornbirn #PMCampDOR. Incidentally, the two hashtags will link you to the tweets for the two events. It is well worth taking a look.

Last Wednesday, on the DOAG 2015, I was again permitted to speak. I talked about:

“Creative Room – Healthy Room!“

Here are the picture by Christian I used and the short outline of my presentation.

"created by Christian Botta"

“created by Christian Botta“

Today: More often than not, the work situation in enterprises seems to be insufferable. There are (many) employees who mentally already have given notice. The salary is considered compensation for personal suffering. But then, they have neither the courage nor the strength to say: “Love it, change it, or leave it“.
Useless meetings, feeling powerless and the burnout syndrome are the consequences. Now they want to do something about it, see also: BGM (company health management).
Consequently, we find change all around us. Conferences are replaced by anti-conferences. I prefer attending barcamps…

And I will now present the story of my presentation. I had to hand in a short version. Then the documents for the presentation. Also the transparencies. But I had none. Because I always speak without.

Christian Botta of VisualBraindump made a picture protocol of my presentation. Thanks a lot!

Today, I give my presentation. Perhaps I will call it “Complexity, Innovation and Burnout in Enterprises”. In fact, that would have been a better title than the one in the proceedings. Or perhaps “How to Keep Humans Species-Appropriate”. Because, basically, I was talking about the same principle as the “key speaker” Gunter Dueck.

I started with the impressions for the presentation from early this year. That was when Dietmar Neugebauer (President of the DOAG) asked me if I would again like to speak in November on his conference. I certainly gladly accepted. Then there were the thought-provoking impulses. One of them was OpenInnovation at InterFace AG , realized with the Nuremberg FAU, chair of Prof. Möslein. During the final event of this project, there was a presentation by Dora on “creative rooms”. After this, it became pretty clear to me how rooms (and organisations) should “look” if you want them to provide innovative inspiration – both physically and virtually.

Apparently, they have something to do with participation, respect, eye-level, culture, breaking patterns, joy and happiness.

A few weeks ago, I heard an interview with Dr. Marius Poersch. Marius is a psychologist, head doctor in a hospital with many patents who have suffered from burnout. He wants to be more than just a “repair shop”, so he also does some scientific research on what humans and organisations can do in order to minimize the burnout risks. After his presentation, I have a good idea what a “burnout-free” room should look like.

Surprisingly, but basically also logically, the result is: the rooms are exactly the same. The “room” as described by Dora for promoting innovation looks exactly like the one presented by Marius for keeping us healthy.

So what are the reasons for all this frustration we suffer from? We assume it is the complexity that gives us fear and the bureaucracy that is generated in our society as its consequence, trying to give us some dubious sense of security.


As an example: my own frustration as an entrepreneur (because at oracle in Nuremberg), the story of DocuMaker and the Federal Agency for Employment.

Failure due to stupid rules, the Oracle middleware product manager does not know the product, prediction about the future of Oracle by Larry Ellision … lots of frustration, immense loss for all. Thank God no Distress for us, because the success would have been Oystress.

A complex world with quick change gives us problems. And then there are the processes, rules, protocols, processes that are supposed to help with the complexity but all they do is make life harder for us.

About the Berlin PM Camp (complex versus complicated).

There were also many abstract discussions about the difference between complex and complicated. According to Niels Pflaeging, it is quite simple: as long as it is just complicated, the classic methods of project management and problem solving can help us. But this is no longer true when it gets complex.
I think it is not as easy as that. I did a session with Maik Pfingsten (Blogger, PoD-Cast) and rather enjoyed Maik’s definition of complexity (from the perspective of the system engineer)
x – axis: degree of complicatedness; 
y – axis: speed of change;
The more you get of both, the more “complex” it is;
I extended this to also include the 
z – axis: “human factor” degree in the project.
This means: the more complicated and dynamic and the more of a human factor you have, the more complex it is …

Seneca said: Philosophy does not mean talking, it means acting.

What can we do? Whenever it gets more and more complicated, when matters change ever faster and when the human factor becomes more and more apparent?

There are no cooking recipes or Best Practice, neither are there any methods or technologies. All I can offer are a few ideas to think about.

As an engineer, software person and technologist.
Let me refer you to the: Agile Manifesto (2001)As an entrepreneur, manager and leader:
Hans Ulrich – Eight Theses on Change in Management (1982)Insertion:
Here are his “Eight Theses on Change in Management” in a nutshell with a few additional notes:

  1. Accept not knowing and not being able to predict the future as a normal state of affairs!
    Well, you simply cannot predict the future …
  2. Broader horizons for your thinking!
    Oppose “You cannot do this” or “This is how we always did it”. Do not suppress the freedom of ideas. Share knowledge.
  3. Move in the category “both”, instead of “either-or”!
    Black-and-white is out, colourful is in.
  4. Think multi-dimensionally! 
Your balancing of values must be ethically responsible. Basically, humans can only deal with three ideas at one time.
  5. Use self-organization and self- control as your basic formative model for your enterprise!
    Responsibility, subsidiarity
  6. Consider management as a function that gives and promotes meaning!
New management image.
  7. Focus on what is really important!
    Work economy.
  8. Make use of group dynamics!
    Cultures, symbols, rites, rituals …

As a human being:
John Izzo – five things you should consider before you die!
I strongly recommend the Review  of the book.

Or the experiences made by Bonnie Ware:
Here are the five things he found out people wanted:

  1. “I wish I had had the courage to live my own life“
  2. “I wish I had not worked so much”
  3. “I wish I had had the courage to show my emotions“
  4. “I wish I had remained in contact with my friends“
  5. “I wish I had permitted myself more happiness“

Those are the five insights Bonnie Ware collected when he accompanied dying persons. As I see it, there is a lot to be learned for life from these statements …

Yet none of all these things will help you if you are not prepared to actually live. Something is still missing.


One of my mentees works for Osram: They are already in a permanent crisis, anyway. Additionally, their move from near the 1860 stadium to Garching looked a little stupid to me. My mentee lives in Unterhaching. His daily way to work is now four times as long as it used to be. He feels how his mood gets worse and worse. .
He arrives at work in a bad mood and returns home in a bad mood. Dialogue: How is your boss? – He is in a good mood! – What is he doing differently from you? – He rides his bike every morning from Trudering to Garching! – So why don’t you, too ride your bike! – Cannot! – Cannot is not defined! 
He then bought an e-bike and went to work riding it every day. And ever since then, he arrives at the office in a good mood, and the same is true for when he arrives at home. And he feels so much better …

In simple terms:
Our body needs exercise and fresh air. And time with nature. And you can have it so easily – with active mobility in everyday life. See also AktMobCmp.

Seneca, too, taught us: 
Follow the laws of nature.
(Seneca was a teacher who wanted to make his students successful and happy. Unfortunately, this has never been the first goal of my teachers).

How is anybody supposed to come to terms with his own life if he cannot even come to terms with his own mobility? And driving a car is definitely not something that makes you free, nor will it bring you fulfilment in life … (Even if that is what a seemingly overpowering industry tells us in a gigantic brainwashing process).

So: what we need is nice and regular exercise!

But not the kind of exercise I experienced after the Eldorado cinema in the Sonnenstrasse. I had tears in my eyes when I exited after having watched the great “Die Kinder der Mme Ann“. And just imagine, right across the street, there is a fitness studio on the first floor. It has huge windows … And you can see in the light of the windows how the persons do their “work-out”. According to the motto Work Hard, Play Hard, WORK OUT …

For me, this is a horror vision. Planning fitness like an entire life. So why not change your life! You will see it can be done. Because, as Seneca said:

The reason why we do not start doing something is not that it is hard. Instead: Things are hard because we do not do them.

(Translated by EG)

During my presentation, I made two more insertions: about terrorism and about the asylum seeker situation. And I gave a short summary of what caused both. But most importantly, I described why I am not at all happy with how we react to both problems. However, I will write two separate articles about how I feel about these issues in the near future.

Roland Dürre
Thursday October 8th, 2015

Vintage Project Management #1 – My First Project

Das war erst viel später und da war es schon vorbei. Das erste Projekt war noch in Koppstr. (Nahe Hofmannstr.)

What you see on this picture did not yet exist – it only came when my project was over. My first project was realized in the Koppstr. (Hofmannstr.)

During the Berlin PM Camp, I told the stories of four projects from vintage times that were very important for me. And I also announced here that I was going to publish all four of them in the IF Blog.

So here I am now, beginning with the first small project:

Project #1

The first project of my life was but a small one. It was scheduled to last six weeks and it was my first professional activity in data processing.

In those days, I was a student of informatics starting for the second time. The first time had been in 1969, when I started studying mathematics and minored in informatics at Technische Hochschule München (THM). The only alternatives for the minor subject would have been physics – which I did not like – and business. However, I was a little sceptical, because I had been attending and graduating from the Jacob Fugger “Business Grammar School” in Augsburg. And at that school, accounting, which I was quite good at, had been an A-level subject. On the other hand, the knowledge taught in business and economics seemed a little questionable to me – which, incidentally, is even more true today. Consequently, the only thing to minor in left was informatics – and that sounded really exciting, too. Professor F.L. Bauer actually succeeded in whetting my appetite in the fall of 1969.

And then, on April, 1st, 1970, dark powers and a mixture of ill luck and ill advice forced me to serve in the Federal Army. That was not at all an April’s Fool Jest, which meant that I had to spend 18 months in rather questionable surroundings as a conscript.

And when, late in September 1971, I regained my freedom, I just started anew. Again in the first semester, again with the same combination of subjects, and again at the same college, which suddenly was called TUM (Technische Universität München).
But there was nothing new except the name. And I knew almost everything because in 1969 I had still been a rather diligent student who had listened attentively and learned with enthusiasm. Consequently, I was doing well and the Olympic Games of 1972 came along. Besides studying, I had a great job with good money at the German Railway (at the time still called Deutsche Bundesbahn) as a customer service person for guests from all over the world. And in some way or other, the entire world was mine for the asking …

In 1974, I finished my intermediate diploma successfully and again needed a little more money than I made as a TUM tutor (teaching Linear Algebra I and II and a programming course). I narrowly missed being eligible for BaföG and my parents – also working at the German Railway – said I could easily continue living at home in my room and commute to Munich like my father always did. But that was not what I wanted. Consequently, I was looking for a summer job – and, naturally, the favourite prospective employer was one of the leading high-tech and computer companies.

In those days, that was what Siemens was! Seen in retrospective, it is hard to believe what immense know-how was present in this company in a huge number of areas. They took me in at Siemens and so I was in the middle of the real high-tech world, first for six weeks in the summer of 1974 and then for the entire duration of my university education. I had direct access to computers, operating systems and programming languages – and I mean I was filled up with them to the brim, which was totally different from what they offered, for instance, at the so-called TUM.

And I got my first project at Siemens on my very first day! My (department) boss was Mr. Bieck. He was a hardware person and later became development head at one of the upcoming German computer manufacturers: Kienzle.

Kienzle was only one of the smaller Siemens competitors – but it was certainly remarkable to see what these enterprises – just like much larger enterprises, such as Nixdorf, or many smaller ones managed to accomplish in those days.

During my six weeks as a summer intern, I had total freedom – provided the actual task I had been assigned got finished. And they also told me that the problem I had been given might not be solvable at all. But that it would indeed be very much appreciated if I managed to solve it. It was actually the same I heard over the last few years from people about google: you give yourself unachievable goals, yet you get a nice tolerance for possible failure, which means you will be truly happy when eventually you actually manage to solve the problem.

The task was easy to formulate: 
The department wanted the highest possible Mersenne prime numbers. For a hardware prototype.

For non-mathematicians:
A number is a Mersenne prime number if it is a prime number derived from a power of two minus 1. In other words if (2 power n) – 1 or (2 power m) – 1, is a prime number.
That is my spontaneous definition.

Well – and my boss wanted as many n-s and m-s as possible. He was not interested in being shown how I did it – as long as I did it at all.

The background:
In those days, a lot of people were really active doing “research and development”. It was truly great. But it was not some R&D totally remote from practice. No: in almost all cases, your work would serve to promote actual applications and projects. That made it truly cool.

Practically applied R&D needs theoretical background. Business got that from the universities (in those days, there was still something you could get from them). And, naturally, Siemens AG also looked across the borders – particularly across the inter-state borders. Because the GDR universities were not so bad at all. And they gave us lots of great results.

For instance, there was a scientific work sitting on my desk – I think it had been written in Leipzig – in which someone had given the theoretical proof that it is possible to build an accidental generator from a ring connection with n binary switches.

And if you short-circuited the structure at the right place, the system would generate a maximum period of random numbers.

It would happen if and only if the number of used switches n is a Mersenne prime number. And if the short-circle is after the m-th switch – and if m is a Mersenne prime number. 
(please forgive my clumsy description, I was never much of a hardware person).

I never understood this work. Also those six weeks would probably be far too short. But then, this was totally irrelevant for my job. All I was supposed to do was deliver very high prime numbers of the type 2 power n -1. Even the prime numbers were unimportant. All that mattered were the m and the n.

For my software friends:
In the early 1970ies, it was totally utopian to build such a thing as random generator software. After all, the device was supposed to create the bit patterns rather quickly, because they were supposed to test the maximum flat modules for large-capacity computers. And those were rather fast gadgets, considering the times.

Also, Herr Bieck could not have cared less how I solved the problem – that meant it was up to me if I programmed something for the calculation or if I found the big Mersenne prime numbers somewhere else in the world. All options were open.

Consequently, I spent the next few days in various libraries (Siemens, StaBi, Unis – you have to remember that, in those days, the internet did not exist). And I quickly realized that there was no chance for me finding Mersenne prime numbers in this way, even if someone on this planet had already calculated them.

This is why I forced myself to come to a quick decision. I was going to forget the world around me and try it by myself – by just programming. I still had more than five weeks to go.

This was the first thing I learned about “project management”: 
Decide quickly, especially if it is a really hard decision and you basically know no way out.

Then I tried to do some traditional programming. I thought in terms of the decimal system, looking into integer and arithmetic calculation systems. And after two weeks, I noticed that I was never ever going to succeed with this strategy.

And this was the second thing I learned for future projects and for life: 
Whenever you do not know how to continue, you have to try new ways! Kiss old concepts and patterns good-bye, and do not hesitate!

So I decided to no longer look for huge numbers. Instead, I just saw a number as a field of bits. And all of a sudden, all those big numbers became small numbers. For instance, 2-to-the-power-of-256 was now a binary field with the length of 32 bytes. And you can calculate rather elegantly with bit fields each of which has the length of 32 bytes. All you have to do is some shifting. And suddenly, the huge number had lost all its scariness …

I told you this story for two reasons.

Firstly, because all of a sudden it became clear to me that, on top of deciding quickly and courageously, you also have to leave old mental concepts if you want to achieve something special. And I often suffered under this and under the typical “But this is how we always did it …”, because it blocked the way.

And because I am living proof that, more than 40 years ago, Siemens actually worked in the same way as they sometimes say Google does today. And that in those days they achieved really great things and that there was not much competition world-wide, perhaps IBM and Xerox or Hitachi. All the others were just in their initial phases.

In a short time, you will read my next Berlin #PMCampBER story on vintage project management. It is from a time when I had a contract as an employee – at the Siemens laboratory. That was in the late 1970ies. I will relate how Siemens did everything, and I mean really everything, to destroy its greatness.

It happened because they kissed their old virtues good-bye and introduced division of labour (Taylorism) in the creative areas such as product planning (Requirement Management) and quality management, specialized DV/IT teachers in their D-schools, manual copy editors and many more such roles.

And, above all, whenever there were things to decide, the questions they asked were: “What is the profit of this?” and “What is our advantage?”, instead of the question: “Why do we do this?” – as in former times.

At the time of my first project, there were no such things as project managers. The first project manager you will find in the world as I perceived it will come with my third project management vintage story. That was in the early 1980ies.



Now About:

All Power to Nobody! LIVE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Translated by EG)

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

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

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

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

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

During the event, the following questions will be answered:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday September 18th, 2015

”Living/Loving Complexity” – Session at #PMCampBER

Here is my report on the session I triggered off with Maik (Maik Pfingsten) on Saturday, the second day – which was practically the end – of the Berlin PM Camp #PPMCampBER.

It had been our intention to relate and discuss a few ideas to show how, even in a complex environment, you can manage to live content and successfully, both in your private and professional (business) life.

In order to show this, we developed a few theses:


As we see it, there is no absolute truth. To be sure, there are more “correct” and more “incorrect” ideas. But you should not use correct and incorrect as terms. Instead, you should see them metaphorical, meaning “goal-oriented”. Other than that, it seems to us that people often discuss certainties and totally forget that much they believe in is just a construct of their brains.

Complicated versus complex

I used to believe that all that is determined is also complicated. And that complexity starts where “determinedness” ends. Whenever the end was not predictable or describable as an algorithm, I used the term complexity. Others used the metaphors “dead” for the “complicated” and “alive” for “complex”. This means that organic chemistry can only always be complicated, whereas inorganic chemistry might well become complex.

Maik provided us with a very nice description of “complex” – from the viewpoint of a system engineer. He draws an axis of coordinates. The x-axis represents the complicatedness, the y-axis the change and dynamics. And the system will change more and more from complicated to complex as complicatedness and dynamics increase.

I find it quite easy to come to terms with this pragmatic definition. Here, too, the decision whether something is complex or complicated is in the eye of the beholder. Incidentally, this is something Nico Banz gave a very nice session about at the #MCampBER – just before us and in the same lecture hall. Using an example, he showed us that judging whether something is complex or complicated is, indeed, a very subjective process.

By now, I have come to believe that the academic discussion about complex versus complicated is not very useful. What actually counts is right decisions and projects.


The definition of the term “decision” is based on two requirements: it has to happen under uncertainty and it must have relevant consequences. Otherwise, it is not really a decision.

In the context of decisions, it is also exciting that neural science keeps proving that decisions only seem to be made by ratio (cerebral cortex). The truth is that they are made by our subconscious, which means involuntarily.

Incidentally, they found out at St. Gallen college that the huge majority of management decisions are wrong decisions.

Mind you, the distinction between “right and wrong” decisions is not at all easy. In fact, it gets even harder: if you analyse an enterprise or a project in retrospective, it often becomes “story telling”. Even if there is no doubt that the stories might be useful, precise scientific research (studying the protocols, etc.) will show that it is not at all easy to judge “à posterio“ what decision caused which event.

I always wanted to be a “good” manager and entrepreneur. And I wanted to make the right decisions. And today, I ask myself how any manager can decide correctly “à priori“ if, even in retrospect, he cannot say with certainty how the causality was.


As I see it, it is not a good idea for us to distinguish between our professional and private lives. Living a life is more joy if you live it integrated. That means I have to act in the same way in my private life as I would act in my professional life. There is no difference.

I like asking third parties the question: what do you think is my most important project? They are often surprised by my reply – but for me, it is absolutely clear: my life.

There is no doubt that my life is a project. It has a beginning and an end. I have a multi-dimensional budget – which consists of time, talent, knowledge, experience and much more. The goal of my life project is my path of life. Part of it is my death. I would like to have made my peace with everybody I ever met when I die.

My life consists of many projects. Some are mostly private, others mostly business. Consequently, I need to act in the right way.

Acting Right

So this is the central question: how to learn to act right?
After all, I know that there is no absolute truth. Also, I know that the future cannot be predicted.  I also know that I live inside the constructs of my subconscious and that the competence to act according to reason and ratio is a mere chimera!

As I see it, the only thing that will help us is finding behaviour-oriented values and live according to them.


I no longer believe in best practice, methods and complex tools. I do not like tips (tipping me on the shoulder is beating me on the shoulder). These days, all I believe in is simplicity and reducing life to the essentials. And I believe in craftsmanship. Practice. On my way towards mastering things, I need support by a master. In my life, mentors and wise persons helped me a lot both interactively and as an ideal.

Consequently, I gave a short description of what Hans Ulrich and John Izzo recommend during our Berlin session.

Hans Ulrich

Hans Ulrich died several years ago. He was the father of the St. Gallen Management Model and wrote a wonderful and short essay about change in management in 1982. I read this article on December, 8th, 2011, sitting in the train and preparing for a workshop in St. Gallen. And I was totally electrified by it. I regretted not having read it earlier.

Here is the concise form of the “8 theses on the change in management” by Hans Ulrich, along with short comments:

  1. Accept the uncertainty and unpredictability of the future as the normal state of affairs!
    Well, the future simply cannot be predicted.…
  2. Set a broader horizon for your limits of thinking!
    Against the “but”… and for freedom of ideas. Share knowledge.
  3. Apply the categories “both”, instead of “either-or”!
    Black-and-white is out, colourful is in.
  4. Think multi-dimensional!
    Ethically responsible balance of values. Basically, humans can only deal with three ideas simultaneously.
  5. Use self-organization and self-control as formative models for all your enterprises!
    Responsibility, principle of subsidiarity.
  6. Consider managing things a meaningful and important function!
    New management image.
  7. Focus on what is really important!
    Work economy.
  8. Make use of group dynamic!
    Cultures, symbols, rites, rituals …

Of course, the theses developed by Hans Ulrich were intended primarily for modern management. Yet they are also very useful for your private life.

For more information on leadership and Hans Ulrich, see the IF Blog underWandel im Management and under another Session Report, as well as, of course, my “Enterpreneur’s Diary“.

John Izzo

The second wise counsellor I mentioned is John Izzo. He did some research on values shared by elderly persons conceived as successful, happy and prudent. And he discovered a common characteristic among those people, which he summarized as the “five secrets”

First Secret 
Remain true to yourself! 
This is about “destina”, a term originally from South America. Mind you, it does not mean destiny or even kismet, but your own call and vocation in life.

Second Secret

Live in such a way that you will have nothing to regret later!
Also try new things! Have courage to start something that, at first sight, seems rather unusual. This might actually help you when you have to make a decision.

Third Secret
Love yourself and enjoy it!
First and foremost, you must learn to love yourself! Because only those who love themselves can also love others. Ban enmity from your life. Choose humanity as your life’s principle. Make persons you are surrounded by bigger, instead of smaller.

Fourth Secret
Carpe Diem!

Enjoy, instead of thinking too much. Remove “yes, but” from your active vocabulary. Replace them by “yes, and”. Do not capitulate before “that is not what you want to do!“

Fifth Secret
Give more than you take!
Those who give get a lot more in return. Give trust. Open yourself up and show others something of yourself.

I discussed the book by John Izzo at great length in a separate article. I think it is well worth reading and you should certainly think about those recommendations for life. And perhaps you would like to adapt them for your own life.

If these recommendations do not reach far enough for you, then why don’t you read the Agile Manifesto?  Or maybe you want to become theALO-man (see also my article leadership-values-principles) who is only agile, lean and open? And when you come to “lean”, you want to remember the importance of the “Why?“-question in Kanban.

If you do this, you will find the path through the world even easier, regardless of it being complicated or complex. And it will not matter if you are talking your private or your business life, either.

(Translated by EG)

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.

(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.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday March 28th, 2015

Leadership Wisdom …

Gelegentlich bin ich auch als Speaker unterwegs - hier auf IF-Weihnachtsfeier 2014

Once in a while, I also give presentations – here at the IF 2014 Christmas Party.

During quite a few years of my life, I liked listening to the famous and successful “Motivation Speakers”. I was fascinated with how they can describe and explain the world in such easy terms. And, above all, how convincingly they show their audience the way towards success.

Their way of speaking and their charisma enraptured me. The top experts I am referring to are people who literally seem to be surrounded by a special aura. They elude a natural charisma that puts a spell on many persons, me included.

As the years went by, I made the personal acquaintance of some of these people. I saw how easy it is for them to formulate their vision. But I also saw that it is not always quite as easy for them to actually live up to their own standards. Once in a while, it did not look quite as glamorous behind the scenes as it had been looking on the podium. Because it is mostly easier to “teach something” well than to actually do it well yourself.

A short time ago, I met the key-note speaker Carsten Rath. Or, to be more precise: a friend pointed me in his direction. Because he had heard an interview Carsten Rath had given the Bayerischen Rundfunk. And he was so fascinated that he immediately sent it to me.

I do not know Carsten Rath personally, but the BR podcast is definitely worth listening to:

My friend believes this interview with Carsten Rath made it clear to him how a good managers differs from a poor manager. And that he only wanted to work in companies where work-life and work as such is practiced as Carsten Rath demands.

In fact, in this interview, Carsten Rath actually introduces many theses on leadership and management which no rational manager and person can seriously dispute. And his reasoning is both very competent and smooth. He also supports his theories with many small stories. In fact, it is convincing as a whole.

If I were asked to summarize what he says, it would read as follows:

  • “The customer always has to be the focus of what we think and how we act.”
  • “You cannot do a good job without being totally enthusiastic about it.”
  • “Every job is about everything, so you always have to give all your best.”

And then he cites his (created by him) “4Ms” as an abbreviation for:

  • “Man muss Menschen mögen!” (You Need to Like Humans)

The “4MS” are also something I can only approve of. The same is true for his postulating “the central virtue of a leader must be truthfulness”. That fits. Except that I call it “transparency, openness and authenticity”. But Carsten Rath also says that

  • ”consolidation lies in repetition” and “true top achievement usually means a lot of pain”..

Well, I have an easier term for the former: “Practice Makes Perfect”.

I am not quite so sure about the latter. I understand the statement because Mister Rath originated in the hotel business. Except that, for me, for instance “nursing homes for the elderly” are also some kind of hotel. And this is an area where I would think it is more important that all persons in the company consciously bear and share the responsibility for all those elderly persons. I would always wish to reduce the “pain” to what is absolutely necessary.

In order to give more weight to my ideas, I looked for another example from the circle of famous “Management Speakers”. During the Nuremberg 2013 DOAG Conference, I heard the great Peter Kreuz . Later, I made his personal acquaintance at the speaker’s table (well, I am sometimes at it myself ).

His presentation was perfect. On an inter-human level, we understood each other perfectly. “You” (women and men) were left with no alternative but to nod approval. All was great, all was right. He sounded convincing in all points. The only and very reserved criticism I heard was that, perhaps, the show was a little too perfect. Apparently, he and his wife are the perfect couple and enterprise.

These aforementioned speakers and several more can be said to play in a “different league”. Except, although I certainly would never begrudge them their high fees and the usually nice and long applause, I seem to have learned over the years that good leadership is a little more than that. And I do not even have the means to make this understood.

Well, let me try:

It is the many daily small things that might make a “leader” out of a person. There is the mostly constructive brain, an upright mind-set, practiced humanity and the ability to help towards your own and other person’s life getting a chance to flourish in many dimensions. Whenever you manage to make the people you meet look greater, instead of smaller, you might perhaps be a good “leader”. One indicator that you are a good leader might be that people you met feel better after having met you than before and they are also aware of it.

And all those beautiful theses that our top speakers brilliantly present could essentially just be the basic requirements that go without saying for a good enterprise climate. But there is no question that they, too, are terribly important.

But still, even if a “leader” has both the knowledge and competence to do all these things, even if he means ever so well in his job and does everything right, there will occasionally be instances when something goes wrong. Simply because the “leader” is also a human being like everybody else. Be it because he himself made a mistake or because once in a while strange developments make things happen that you simply could not mend – and perhaps you could not have foreseen them, either. Because we are all only human.

And that is something not even the most expensive and best management seminars and presentations will protect you from.

(Translated by EG)