Roland DürreSunday April 28th, 2013
Last week, I was permitted to attend a very special conference. It was the LEADERSHIP FOR INNOVATION, supported by the Peter Pribilla Foundation. It was about VISUALIZING THE INVISIBLE. The event was in Munich, at TUM, or – to be precise -, at IAS on the Campus Garching between April, 25th and April, 26th, 2013.
Even the fact that it was a rather conventional conference did not do any harm. There were quite a few rather “innovative” sessions. Being one of the first-timers, I quickly realized that it was mainly about “meeting” – in the environment of an important network and with the right kinds of people.
Quite logically, the highlight of those two days was the evening event “Network Convention 2013″ on Friday honouring Herrn Prof. Reichswald, who had celebrated his seventieth birthday in April, 1st, 2013. And during this event at the Seehaus in the Englischer Garten, everything was “Boundless Interaction” in the truest sense of the word.
During those two days, I talked with quite a few people about highly exciting things. There were so many new ideas raining in on me that the first thing I had to do was mentally process all the input. Here are a few personal thoughts after my first round of digestion.
It seems to be one of the main problems of our species, both in professional and private life, that we always want to solve challenges with “dominant logic”. However, “real life” is always part of the evolutionary process and said evolutionary process is all but “domineering and logical”. Today, innovation is our attempt at influencing evolution to our advantage.
To me, it seems that this is one of the central tasks of entrepreneurial behaviour: to influence the evolution every enterprise will experience anyway while undergoing the evolutionary “aging process” in such a way that its negative consequences are at least balanced by the positive “innovative change”.
And that is something you cannot do with ratio or logic. You cannot explain the ineffectiveness of dominant logic by dominant logic. All you can do is explain it with experience and wisdom gained from life. Consequently, entrepreneurs will have to live in the “now” and find out what is good and bad for the enterprise, before they hopefully come up with more “right” decisions than wrong ones.
If you deduce decisions with dominant logic from common rules, you will fail. You will end up with many wrong decisions, some of them with profound negative consequences. That is what experience shows us. In order to find more correct decisions in the innovative sense, your criteria for deciding must be based on culture and values.
Examples for absolutely common (and in my understanding detrimental) business rules are: “growth is a must”, “we have to be number one world-wide in our business sector” or “increased shareholder value is the one and only goal of the enterprise”. These are platitudes with no conceptual background, but not rational sources for behavioural incentives.
Here are a few examples for useful cultural rules: “The Golden Rule“ (Die goldene Regel), “human beings are not resources”, “creativity needs fear-free areas”, “successful communication calls for meeting at eye-level”, “generating knowledge creates new knowledge”, “leadership means respect for others”, “consideration and civil courage are the most important virtues”…
The application of these and similar rules will generate more correct decisions in the sense of a sustainable and consequently innovative enterprise development that is mindful of resources. After all, an enterprise, too, is just a social system with a business purpose.
And if management truly wants a sustainable development, the enterprise will have to live by these cultural rules when making decisions. The process may (and must) well be based on ratio and common sense. Because, ethics, too, has a lot to do with ratio – otherwise it can easily cause wrong dogmata. Mind you, even if we stick by that rule, we will not be able to avoid evolution, but maybe we can influence it a little bit to our advantage by applying innovation.
Business leaders often try to learn from mistakes and transfer what they learned into the future. This is also an area where I suspect it will not work if the basis is “dominant logic”. Because dominant logic will always fail when it comes to humans and their social systems.
I am often tempted to prove these theses by using “dominant logic”. Naturally, this cannot be done. After all, what makes evolution so sensational is the fact that it cannot be rationally explained. Instead, it is free of purpose – thus having nothing to do with “dominant logic”. It is not about survival of the fittest“ and perhaps not a “huge, collaborative process”, either. Innovation will always depend on the stream of evolution. We humans alone are bold enough to try and modify evolution through ratio and logic innovatively. But in order to do so, we need “evolutionary knowledge” that can NOT be projected on spread-sheets.
Well – and then there is this other, for me central, characteristic:
We will never create evolutionary knowledge without being “OPEN”! We have to share our knowledge and our experience. With as many other persons as possible. Without any reservations and at eye-level. It is the only way to generate positive innovation as a modification of evolution in order to improve matters both in our enterprises and on this our only world. And this will never be done by one person alone. It will have to be a cooperation of many who will often play totally different roles.
Otherwise, evolution will waste no time in extinguishing us humans from this our planet. To be sure, in the cosmic dimension of things, it would not be much of a loss, but still: wouldn’t it be a pity?
To put it plainly: you cannot see what is invisible, can you? This is especially true for an individual being. But perhaps we can augur it, like in feel it?
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSunday April 7th, 2013
At winter’s end (?), I finally caught it myself: the nose started running, the neck hurt, I started coughing. To be sure, I was not totally incapacitated, but still, I felt rather handicapped. It was not a nice phase, and as of now, it is not yet quite over, either.
Of course, I tried to alleviate my ailments. On the whole, I consumed two boxes of cough sweets and a small bottle of “Spitzwegerich”.
The cough syrup came in glass bottles that held 150 ml. The glass bottle had a powerful plastic screw cap and was packed into a cardboard box. It also included a long product description and a measuring container! The measuring container had markings for 5, 10, 15 and 20 ml (millilitres).
Firstly, I tried to follow the manual and pour the appropriate amount into the plastic measuring container, before consuming it. No easy task. To be sure, the measuring container made it possible to give precisely the right amount of fluid, but it was impossible to get all of this sticky substance into my mouth in one go.
Even my otherwise rather agile tongue capitulated before the task. Afterwards, I had to carefully rinse the measuring container, which was all but easy. And then I had to put it back onto the bottle to avoid losing it. It was a really sticky affair.
A spoon is a highly developed and refined tool. Mouth and tongue can easily and completely take up what is in it. It is a tool you can easily clean. During the remaining days of my medication time, I decided in favour of this traditional method.
Why do they even produce nonsense like measuring containers? It is unconceivable that these measuring containers make it possible to actually get the amount absolutely correct, because you never get it all out of the container.
No! It all happens because some fraudulent product designers want to persuade the customer that there is allegedly some advantage to the new method. Isn’t this product designed in ever such a practical and innovative way? The measuring container is a fire signal for the great fake they use to make a fool of the stupid consumer on all levels.
And then I think of all the many millions of stupid plastic measuring containers for cough syrup and similar medication being let loose on our planet in this way.
I chose this example very deliberately, because the plastic container for cough syrup shows on a very small scale how irrational and stupid we act when dealing with our resources. Of course, weighing only three grams (I weighed it), the measuring container is a negligible entity and as such totally “irrelevant”.
But whenever I think of all the masses of plastic containers that are a lot bigger and serve as package material for all kinds of products, it gives me pause. This madness starts with small things and will beat us with big things. Thus, the cough syrup is a good symbol of useless waste, where small waste is justified because it is nothing compared with the big waste. And we are stupid animals for slaughter, who agree with every stupidity. Take the buttermilk out of plastic containers or the Coffee2Go we carry around.
Even if it seems maniacally small-minded to me, I have started to avoid products with too much packaging wherever I can. No more food in plastic containers or tetra-pack, no cosmetics in plastic bottles or pressurized dispenser, no tins and deep-freeze food. These are all things I no longer buy for my personal use.
And you know what – it works quite well! And it does not mean the least bit of impediment for me. On the contrary, it improves my joy in life. Just like, ever since I stopped driving a car, I feel even better than before. Except that the common thoughtlessness I see in many of my contemporaries now hurts even more. Because, after all, I know how I, myself, used to let myself fall victim to all those charms.
Why don’t we just put a stop to this stupidity and combine our forces to fight this industrial mania?
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreSaturday February 23rd, 2013
In the IuK (information and communication technology) sector, we constantly have “a chase after a new craze”. Now, for some time, it has been the Cloud. And although nobody wants to hear about it anymore, it is still something many people are truly afraid of. And, of course, as so often, it is again all about data security.
The official advice given by experts and data security specialists is you should always look for the “home country” Cloud. In this instance, however, the term “home country” does not necessarily mean “German Cloud”. It means “European”. In my personal opinion, the difference is not really important.
If I no longer consider myself all that important, then it is totally irrelevant where my data are stored and who can see them. And probably no huge damage will be done if they disappear. Besides, they actually cannot ever really disappear, can they?
In an ideal and transparent world, it would be unimportant to “protect data”, anyway. But we all know the world is not such an ideal place. And if you have a critical mind, you can always have a situation where you should be afraid of the powers that be. Also meaning governmental systems that are not precisely scrupulous when it comes to human rights. Some have secret state organisations monitoring your beliefs and systematically spying on people. They call themselves protective or serving or gave themselves abbreviations mostly consisting of three letters.
If you want to protect yourself from these, you should keep your data far away from the powers that be. And then you should also store your data in a very remote Cloud. This would actually be a very “foreign” Cloud. But this will not help you either.
Because the aforementioned organisations, protected by their own governments, will always find ways to extract your data from the security prisons you locked them into. Or – even easier for the powers that be – they just use and support global criminals. Just think of the “tax CD” unearthed in Switzerland, a country that used to be ever so foreign when it came to finances.
No – what has always been true is now probably more so than ever: what you acquired illegally will not thrive well! It is better to take advantage of fewer opportunities, remain transparent and not allow secrets. And if there are secrets that might be detrimental to your own person, then you should never, ever write them down. Neither on paper, nor electronically.
Consequently, we should not be all that concerned about personal data protection, data security and the Cloud. Instead, we should use civil courage, constructive disobedience and responsibility to fight against everything that might violate our rule of law and our basic rights.
And we should practice and demand the kind of behaviour that gets the world back on a sustainable course in the biological sense. And then we should continue to think about many social deficits and irregularities and deal with them. Which is something we need the internet for – including the Cloud. Because it has become the nervous system of our planet and of this global world – and we will not solve the complex challenges we face without it.
All these things will probably be a lot more important for our future and the future of our children than the fear about data. …
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreWednesday February 6th, 2013
… and yet so hard!
Today, all you get is a short article: here are just a few citations of remarkable tweets by Nils Pflaeging:
If you want to kill connectedness: create functional division, departmentalize and allow hierarchy to invade the work #stoos
All that planning doesnt earn you any money. Improving the work and fighting waste does. #stoos
Functional division, divisionalization and matrix structures ALWAYS result in a loss of accountability. Period. #stoos
That is exactly how I feel and could have come straight from my heart. Consequently, there is nothing left for me to say.
(Translated by EG)
For more articles in my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!
Roland DürreSaturday January 12th, 2013
This is a very short article. Because, after all, entrepreneurship is a simple thing!
First you need Verstand (brains). In order to understand things and use your knowledge.
Without Vernunft (reason), however, brains will not be very much use.
Using brains and reason, you build up Vertrauen (trust).
With time, the willingness to take Verantwortung (responsibility) will grow.
And before long, the pact with Victoria, the goddess of victory, is a certainty!
Incidentally, these “V”s are also quite useful when it comes to life as such.
(Translated by EG)
For more articles from my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!
Roland DürreThursday November 29th, 2012
And probably the same is true for the health of the people involved! This is a polemic essay about project culture.
A short time ago, I found a nice article (article) in Jens Hoffmann’s blog. It asks whether or not projects make sense. Here are a few interesting citations:
“Projects have outlived themselves. Their days as an organizational form are numbered. Agile Coaches think projects are not suitable instruments for solving entrepreneurial problems. They do not allow customer-oriented value creation and cannot efficiently control permanent change. So what justification is there for projects these days?”
I read the entire article several times and was also busy commenting Jens‘ blog. This inspired me to write a short polemical essay:
Athletic success is probably even harder to generate than entrepreneurial success. Let us take “soccer” as an example. Of course, my favorite club, SpVgg Unterhaching, will serve as the “use case”. And it will be our super team of the 2012-2013 season. The pictures are also taken from their home matches.
I am imagining myself playing the role of the responsible coaches. If they were to structure their projects in terms of projects, then “good night”. They would immediately have (far too) many projects. In each program, there would be any number of comrades and enemies, paid and unpaid employees and consultants. Both desirables (such players’ parents) and undesirables (such as players’ parents).
Let us look at the individual projects: if you play soccer, you know the proverb “after the match is before the match“. Consequently, the next match would always have to be given top priority. It is easy to define the beginning, the end and the goal of the match. The project will start when the n-th match ended and end with the (n+1)-th match (n is a natural number). And it is pretty easy to define the goal: three points. Mostly, our project goals are not that easy to define.
As a general rule, a project lasts for one week. Actually, this is also well within the range of a scrum sprint. Build up the team, motivate and coach the players. Point out what was well done and what was not so good the last time – and then, depending on how the last match ended, either build up morals or de-emotionalize the situation… video analysis, tackling details, etc.
So this was the first project. It also consists of many small sub-projects. A lot must be delegated and the results must be integrated. But so far, everything sounds quite easy.
Except – it will not be good enough to just think in terms of “from one match to the next“. You also have to make sure that all available information about a future opponent is meticulously recorded. Practicing must be made systematic and diverse in many dimensions.
Both the inner and outer environment must be considered, opposing interests must be balanced. In between, you also have to think about next year’s team. You have to take a close look at youth matches and try to find local talent.
More and more projects have to be managed. And you always have comrades in arms. Both paid ones and unpaid ones, desirables (such as players’ parents) and undesirables (such as players’ parents). There is no end to stake holders. And you also get many who always know better – not just among the fans.
Such a soccer club has an enormous complexity. And now one should come and do all the planning. He will press it all into processes and then build up a mechanical organization, classical style. So how long will it take before you lose all control?
The system “sports” has so many inter-linked and inter-dependent tasks. If you want to describe them as projects, the classical project manager will soon realize how limited his methods are. And very quickly, the goal “rising to the next level” will be replaced by the striving to retain your current class in the stadium.
First and foremost, the competence of the active team is a determining factor for athletic success. If possible, it should be coupled with a thoroughly felt trust and almost blind understanding between the parties concerned. In particular, the protagonists in the club have to feel well in each others company. They must all have the same goal. Each of them must – instinctively – make the correct decisions and do the right things. Someone must take responsibility. It must all happen in a shared desire to make everything better at all times and to get better at all times. Everybody must feel the shared great wish to win.
But then, where is the huge difference between this and a medium-sized enterprise?
(Translated by EG)
Of course, all these nice pictures were taken at SpVgg Unterhaching home matches (where else?). At the sports park, the photos were taken by Stefan Kukral.
And tomorrow night, Friday, they will again play – against Darmstadt, at the sports park, starting at 7 p.m. You do not want to miss it!
Roland DürreSaturday November 17th, 2012
Last Tuesday, Wilfried Bommert of the WDR was our guest at Unterhaching. Wildfried Bommert is a well-known expert when it comes to “feeding the world”. He also published several books on the subject. Currently, he and a few partners are establishing the Berlin “Institut für Welternährung”.
Our last presentation in the series “living and surviving in a sustainable way” was yet again another highlight of the 2012 IF Forum. Herr Bommert deliberately kept his presentation very short and concise. We had planned this, because, after all, we wanted to produce an attractive video recording for Youtube as an extra value.
I think we succeeded. Every single sentence uttered by Herrn Bommert was right on target. Without employing unnecessary emotions and questionable judgements, he reported facts in a very objective way and came up with simple, logical conclusions.
Consequently, there was a long discussion after the presentation. It was extremely constructive and passionate. And we agreed: the messages sent by Herrn Bommert are important. He demonstrated in a very simple and rational way how feeding the world dangles on a thin string. And how easily this string could and perhaps will break.
However, Herr Bommert also showed us ways to change matters. And he also showed us that it is, indeed, possible for us to prepare for the time after our stupid and eventually fatal economic habits will have caused a collapse. Consequently, his finishing lines after a very thought-inspiring list of facts and judgements were rather nice and optimistic.
With Vienna sausages and meatloaf (of course from the butcher Schlammerl of Ottobrunn), we spent quite some more time discussing things in small rounds. And finally, when the hot spiced wine and ginger bread were served – also from a local bakery: Götz of Taufkirchen – the general atmosphere was one of courage in view of a possible future and joy about all the interesting information and the culinary delicacies.
I already look forward to watching the video recording by Friedrich Lehn. As soon as it is finished, we will make it available for you on all our diverse Youtube channels.
Here are a few pictures to refresh your memory and maybe arouse your appetite for the video.
Wilfried Bommert talking to Mr. and Mrs. Gerlach. Thomas Gerlach works for the Bayerischer Rundfunk. He was the one who first introduced Herrn Bommert to me.
The introduction to the presentation. It will start right away …
As so often, all pictures were taken by our Rolo Zollner.
Roland DürreTuesday August 14th, 2012
This weekend, I downloaded two presentations by Rupert Lay from the year 2002 toYoutube. The topics were:
Going and Going
Astray From Information to Wisdom
Strategies for Coming to Terms with Change
I would be happy to know that many of you take a closer look.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreWednesday July 25th, 2012
Here are my 2 cents, quasi as additional insight gained from the nice discussion in Stefan’s (Dr. Hagen’s) pm blog that is very well worth reading on “Emergence in Project Management “ (Emergenz bei Projekt Management):
You should quickly forget the term “project management“(best delete it without replacement), or at least you should remove the word project from the phrase. “Management” covers quite well what is discussed in the article and what we want to do. But then, it does not.
At first sight, “leadership ” sounds a little better. But even with this phrase, I am skeptical, because as a general rule, people who see themselves as “leaders“ have a singular “self-made concept” and suffer from “detachment from reality”.
Consequently, I would call what moves us and what we like to discuss “influencing social systems and their organizations“. Incidentally, this standard is all but modest. Only the most exquisite and particularly skilled persons can meet it.
Maybe this would be a way of starting anew the “theoretic teaching and science” on management, strategy and entrepreneurship. After all, it already exists in reality.
I wish you all lots of success as a result of shared knowledge, personal courage, received happiness and actively shown respect!
(Translated by EG)