Roland Dürre
Sunday September 27th, 2015

“Breaking with Patterns” at Dornbirn PM Camp #PMCampDOR

pmcamp-logo-dornbirnNow there are less than two months to go until the DornbirnPM-Camp on November, 20th and 21st. I already look forward to the meeting on the eve of the camp and the Camp itself.

This is already the
5th PM Camp in Dornbirn, PM-Camp celebrates an anniversary!

How fast time goes by! With Dornbirn, we close a great PM Camp year 2015. This year, we had wonderful PM camps – in Stuttgart, Zürich, Bad Homburg, München, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Barcelona and Vienna. I hope I did not forget any.

Again, the Dornbirn organizational team wants to host a very special PM Camp. In fact, the standards are extremely high this year. As a metaphor for Dornbirn, we chose “BREAKING WITH PATTERNS”. Since, to me, it seems a very good idea to change and rethink, I voted in favour of this motto.

During the last few days, I had to learn that “BREAKING WITH PATTERNS” has become accepted. In fact, it has even become hype. I found it in the program of workshops of Bavarian school directors, came upon it on story-telling exercises and it winds its way through the media like a hurricane. There is a nice Blog-Parade  on the PM Camp with an anchor to the beautiful blog Experiencing Leadership (Führung-Erfahren) by Marcus.

Consequently, I now already heard and read a lot of wise things about it. Yet I am still not able to form my own opinion. Because in order to break with patterns, you probably will first have to see them. Also, it is quite possible that collectively valid patterns will generate individual habits. And it is always hard to change what you have come to love. More often than not, you hear and read: “We always did it in this way”. Well, after all, this is how we always did it, isn’t it? And now someone expects us to do it differently? That is hard.

But perhaps it is quite easy. Perhaps what you should do first and foremost is “turn things upside down”?

Here is an example:

There is an unwritten law in our “free-economy-society” that something gets less expensive the more of it is bought. This is even true for material that will become scarce in the foreseeable future and will eventually no longer be available, such as crude oil. The same is true for electricity or food. If you buy ten cars (or bicycles), you will get a better price than if you only buy one. It is called quantity discount, quantity rabat or quantity bonus.

Now let us look at the connection between the “climate” and “flying”. There is no doubt that air traffic generates an immense amount of greenhouse gas. Even in higher altitudes – where their detrimental effect is even higher than on the ground – huge amounts are ejected.

It is the goal of the airline industry to bring as many persons as possible into the plane by offering low prices. On the other hand, the models and calculations of various scientific disciplines agree in that they say global warming with the resulting change in living conditions for all of us will hugely depend on how we behave (in terms of burning fossil energy).

Consequently, it is clear for everybody – at least all those who do not believe in superstition – that, among other things, we have to fly less if we wish to cushion the downfall into the (climate) catastrophe at least a little bit. We have a discrepancy. We want to fly more because we need growth (which would actually be a second pattern to break with). Everywhere. And we should fly less. For our future.

So how to solve this dilemma?

A common and total ban of flying cannot be realized. In fact, for persons in special situations, it would actually not be just and reasonable. 
But then, the question is if the consequences of the climate catastrophe will be just and reasonable, isn’t it?

A common increase in flight prices would perhaps be asocial. Here is what a simple solution could look like: 
We turn the law of quantity rabat around and introduce a new law: the quantity malus. That would mean all citizens can fly a few thousand miles each year at prices similar to those we are now used to. As soon as the “flight buyer” has reached this limit, every extra mile will be more expensive. Maybe even geometrically more expensive. This would enable us to, on the one hand, maintain a realistic mobility, yet put the lid on at least the worst excess. And the extra money could be invested in reasonable progress.

The same pattern would, for instance, also make sense with electrical energy. Why should a company producing aluminium tins for beer and using up astronomically high amounts of electrical energy get it for a much lower price than the small one-family household that uses up almost no electric energy?

It would be better if this industrial waste were more expensive than the little used up in a household, wouldn’t it? This would not only lower the consumption cost pressure, but also cause human creativity to tackle (possible) solutions to such central problems. More often than not, better technology is already available, except that it is not used because the raw material is so much less expensive.

Why don’t we start by “putting things upside down”? I can imagine that “breaking with patterns” means a lot more than this, too. We are lucky to still have a bit of time to think about it until the PM Camp starts.

(Translated by EG)

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