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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Translated by EG)

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

5 Kommentare zu “Entrepreneur’s Diary #122 – Instruction for Constructing a Vexillum”

  1. Chris Wood (Thursday June 8th, 2017)

    See my comments on “Fahnenbildung” at
    I still find no information about this in English.

  2. Chris Wood (Thursday June 8th, 2017)

    I was unfair to Rupert Lay in earlier comments in IF-blog. I think I was a little jealous, because Roland thought him a better philosopher than me.
    Rupert’s ethical views, stripped of Latin and Greek references, seemed to reduce to “be nice to people”. This seems reasonable, even if it neglects being nice to animals, and perhaps, someday, to intelligent machines. But it seemed too obvious to be taken seriously.
    Now I realise that with Rupert’s background, as a German Jesuit, it was not so obvious. He did well to partly escape from Jesuit and Kantian over-sophistication.

  3. rd (Thursday June 8th, 2017)

    @Chris: Rupert hat vielen Menschen geholfen, kritisch nach zu denken, vermeintlich Selbstverständliches, die eigenen Gewissheiten und in Frage zu stellen. Das ist ihm gelungen ohne diese Menschen “klein zu machen”. Und ihnen so geholfen, den Weg zu sich selber zu finden. Das war in meiner Meinung sein großer Verdienst.

  4. rd (Sunday June 11th, 2017)

    So you should write the article!

  5. Chris Wood (Thursday August 31st, 2017)

    Dear Roland, it is mostly good to build people up, rather than making people small. It keeps friends and avoids unpleasantness. But it is important occasionally to stop people becoming too big, for instance Trump, Kim, Hitler, Napoleon and other bad characters. Probably Erdogan and Putin belong in this group.
    At about the date of this blog entry, you tried to make Martin Schultz small, without saying why. Also, Hans referred to Ursula von der Leyen as stupid without saying why. They both seem OK to me.
    But, I am shocked that some car manufacturers are being punished, but there is no outcry against the many politicians who knew about the diesel swindle for years.
    I think Merkel in recent years has made too many mistakes. It is time for a change.

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