Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In Search of Meaning

IndyJohar, architect and community builder of the HUB Network,
just recently RT one of my tweets on ViktorFrankl.

In our search of excellence we have to always go the long way
going for a goal that we can't achieve today.

It can be rather uneasy to go that EXTRA MILE and yet as
SethGodin coins it, we are in an "Entrepreneurial Revolution"

What is it you're striving for?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Myriads of Opportunities Ahead of Leadership

The gist of the study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung:

The Web and its culture have two profound and paradoxical implications for leadership:
  • on the one hand, effective approaches to leadership within all sectors are increasingly constrained by the need to accommodate conditions enabled by the Web—such as great ease of connecting, dramatically lower costs of collaboration, and transparency;
  • on the other hand, the Web offers those who would exercise leadershipinside or outside organizations and traditional sectors—possibilities for impact going beyond what was previously feasible.
The combined implication offers:
  • strong payoffs for leadership that is free from the expectation of or need for maintaining control and avoiding failure [this in my eyes is THE INSIGHT]
A very personal note:
  • I am very grate- and thankful to Karlshochschule and its makers new blog on Leadership for providing this excellent piece of insight to go public. Happy to spread the thought more!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shocking "truth" in the morning

What implication might that have? 
What on GDR maps was "white" back in the days is now 
the other way round. It seems that the concept of lean and 
making things easy is not popular in Eastern Germany.

Is it true what we see?

Due to the the constraints during the GDR times people very
much have understood to create value with what they have.
Meaning that lean thinking is essentially embedded in the "DNA"
of workers, researchers, and people in the Mecklenburg, Sachsen,
Sachsen-Anhalt, Thüringen, Brandenburg.

What is your personal experience?

PS.: The publication "Der Neuerer" ran till 1990 and with it ended
the "lean spirit" in the GDR. More about the background here. [Both
links are only in German, please use GoogleTranslate]

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Consciousness of collective mind

DavidBohm's interview at the Bohr
Institute in Copenhagen back in 1989 (!).

Take an hour out of your busy bursty
live, just listen and infuse to the life
around you.

Collective change comes from individual
change lead by an "invisible hand" and
the power of awareness which part in the
game of life we play.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Do you have a minute?

Imagine circling above your organization. What do you see? Some people
buzzing around, being in constant action.

So the organization drives and lives - so at least it looks at first sight.

But see, there are some folks who don't make lots of noice, they sit down
and do nothing. Do they really don't do anything worthful? What might
they really do?

Figuring out what the real purpose of the organization is not easy (never was)
and isn't it not the full field of diversity that flows and lives in an organization
that enables to see collectively the purpose (some call it intention) of the
organization, community, society (a group of likeminded people in general)?

.. and whoosh off we go collectively together, wouldn't you think?!

As in a natural eco-system it needs the diversity of players, even though at first
sight it seems they don't fit together or don't see the other's purpose of life. Being
full of just one kind, it would be very much of a "mono culture" doomed to die.

Yet we need both, the DOERs and the SYNTHESIZERs (you could also call
them THINKERs) - and perhaps there are even more of these unknown types
(Thanks a lot for StephenCollins for providing this, and MarigoRaftoupolus for
making me aware of it) in our knowledge driven world.

What is your favorite role in the play of life?

PS.: I have to especially thank JohnHagel and JohnSeelyBrown for their excep-
tional work and book, "The Power of PULL", which is constantly on my hands
and looked and read through.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Presentation - special about it?

Yesterday I tapped by chance into a situation where profound change happened in a situation where I (first) perceived a crashing of a "social field".

In the afternoon while walking by I saw an info post about an evening event around cultural pillars in a city (Luzern, Switzerland). Curious as I am, having fun exploring the Unmapped it managed to come to the event (even though with 30 min delay due to a call with a potential client discussing with him the benefit of the lean approach).

The benefit of coming late was that the crowd was already listening to the main presentation (after two pre-presentations) of Dr. ThomasHeld on the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern (KKL) and its birthgiving process. It turned out to be that he was sort of the facilitator to make the process of establishing a 225 Mio CHF hall on the lakeside in Luzern, which has only 60.000 inhabitants - a huge project!

He told the crowd, that they managed back in 1991 when the project first started to use the "Round Table" concept that was facilitating the GDR transformation in the first months after the Wall had come down (with a smile on his lips). Then after his presentation he offered to answer specific question and quite soon a negative power emerged into the room (so it seemed to me).

And then a strange thing happened: I stayed seated until almost all others had left the room, a few people got to talk with Dr. Held. A few minutes into a feeling where I felt that the positive energy that had fueled up during the past hour had left the room in minutes, I stood up and went to the window, saw some copies on a table close to it and a DIN A3 copy caught my interest. It was the story behind the KKL and the role Dr. ThomasHeld played in it. Reading the first lines of the article gave me the impulse to connect with Dr. ThomasHeld, who still was standing at the podium, thanked him for his inspirational talk.

Not long after (merely minutes) I was invited to join the crowd in a restaurant for some talk. Again there was a constraint - needed to visit an ATM - on my way phoned a dear friend, told her about the first of the evening till that moment. Entering the restaurant with icy hands and a warmed ear (from the phone;-)), my mind was open to what would come to me in the next moments.

It happened to be that I was invited into joining the already filled up table, and the next conversations went on smoothly into fields I never expected, about Singularity University, Twitter (usefulness), and questions on how to cope with complex (almost unsolvable seeming) business problems [such as the vision of the KKL for Dresden].

In a way we all followed - unconsciously the U Process in large chunks - into unknown fields of action and opportunities that emerged through using the set up power of the "social field" that pulled everybody in the direction to make the vision [a new concert hall in Dresden] not staying a dream but rather making it REALITY.

So my very personal PresencingStatus on the events of yesterday:

Good: taking the chance to visit event, follow the impuls to join in the restaurant, asking the bold question "Where can I sit down? Seems to be full." (in the restaurant)

Tricky: Being late, the feeling that the power in the room had left, not jumping too far ahead on explaining Twitter to newcomers

Learned: Going to the Balcony/ Window helps to reframe thinking and the situation, taking unknown chances opens new opportunities

Action: Writing a blog post (what I do right now), visiting "Dido and Aeneas" a second time to learn more about the subtle changes within a social field

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Small solutions to instant issue

Just coming from a meeting with communal IT folks.
Three presentations (two Powerpoint, one story telling) -
which one you think was most interesting?

The last one given as a story, with some short live screens.
It was about to handle emails and archiving them.

Due to European Commission regulations there have to
be overall IT procedures to ensure that, also for email.
However the pressing need happened when for a trial
old emails were necessary. This resulted in, "I have a

A simple button to archive emails and connect them
with relevant paper and other electronic documents.

Just a couple of hundred € for reprogramming the GUI
(Graphical User Interface), a small testing group of
dedication users - and of we went having a small part
of the future BIG Solution.

What have we learned: take a problem as a chance, start
small, solve what is really relevant and use the learnings
for the bigger project already under way!

This was again a great example of LEAN THINKING.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Future of Serious Stories

It's a kind of serendip(ity) - with an open mind not
fixed on certain special fields of interest, one often
explores new fields an future comes in via surprise.

Storytelling in the serious sense can be very useful
in the business context. Instead of just reading the
number in a balance sheet the mutual conversations
between persons enable a flexible flow of thoughts.

What stories do you remember well from around your
workplace that helped you to understand processes
or human behavior?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Five minutes thought standstill

Aren't you driven by the fast pace of business
and life in general?
When and how do you take time to think about
how to improve current processes or even about
redesigning it?

Why not take roughly five minutes out of your
schedule and watch and listen to THIS(*) (together
with your peers, employees, bosses or family).

What does this piece to your mind and thought process?

Mine has been: some tear drops (should I really folishly
admit that it emotionally struck me?) and open mind for
is going to come

(*) JohnCage the creator of this.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unintended Surprise

Who do you think is the real "designer" of a firm?

Supposedly you think it is the management team up in the top ranks. Right they have the overview from above but can they see what really drives action?

How often do we see the C-level folks down in the lines working side by side with the operators? How often is the engineer (or specialist) talking to the C-level or operators and in which attitude?

The operators within the three cultures of a firm (executives, engineers, operators) are the ones who tackle the uncertainty of daily work that could not be predicted by engineers 100% in advance (EdgarSchein, MIT Sloan School of Management, The Cultures of Management - The Key to Organizational Learning). They are probably the most underrated people within the organization.

To cope with the challenges of the 21st century EdgarSchein proposes the following (which I can underwrite through own experience within the three cultures at an automotive plant):

"Until executives, engineers, and operators discover that they use different languages, make different assumptions about what is important, and until they learn to treat the other cultures as 
valid and normal, we will continue to see failures in organizational learning efforts. We will see powerful innovations at the operator level that are ignored, subverted or actually punished, we will see technologies that are grossly under-utilized, we will see angry employees railing against the impersonal programs of re-engineering and down-sizing, we will see frustrated executives who know what they want to accomplish but feel impotent in pushing their ideas through complex human systems, and we will see frustrated academics wondering why certain ideas like employee involvementsocio-technical systems analyses, high commitment organizationsand concepts of social responsibility continue to be ignored, only to be reinvented under some other label a few decades later."(taken from the above article)

We certainly have the chance in our hands as executives, engineers, and operators to co-create our future together - dialogue will be the first step. For doing the dialogue it needs time we should put into place a "new" management philosophy. On that in my next post in
about week.

Cheers and looking forward on what positive experiences you have done yourself within your own organization with the "three levels of culture"

Friday, November 12, 2010

influencers build the social field from outside to inside

How far is your voice reaching to be understood?

How far and broadly can you sense the world around you?

How many connections to other people can you handle?

When does passion come into play?

..... influencers will spark the passion in us as we become aware
of what is possible and emotionally connects with us. They will
be more influential in the near future than most of us may think.

Who are the influencers within your organization and how do we
recognize them?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Future of Entrepreneurship - ... into Blue Sky!

Gartner expects trends beyond 2010

1. De-routinization of Work
2. Work Swarms
3. Weak Links
4. Working With the Collective
5. Work Sketch-Ups
6. Spontaneous Work
7. Simulation and Experimentation
8. Pattern Sensitivity
9. Hyperconnected
10. My Place

.... in which way will these affect the future of consulting, and doing business?

What are the next big changes in the entrepreneurship and startup arena?

Here I share my personal views (they get updated) on more than 12 years of done action research in the midst of a challenging workspace environment (the scaling up process of the BMW Plant Leipzig in the mid-2000s), and the field of intrapreneurship (at BMW) and entrepreneurship (since 2008, running my own lean consulting firm, and lately working on a startup)
  1. System Dynamics (wiki provided by Gene Bellinger), will be essential to understanding and design complex and interconnected organizational systems 
  2. Entrepreneur in the role of process consultant, not giving advice (as this is free of charge and ubiquitous available on the web for anybody)
  3. Entrepreneurs will be transparent on the various social networks, giving advice of general concern (Freemium Business Model) 
  4. Collaboration and sharing of experiences transparently on the web (on places such as Facebook, GoogleBuzz (shut down), GoogleWave (shut down), TitanPad, and others) 
  5. Intercultural consulting journeys similar to the learning journey of CharlesVanDerHaegen and VilleKeraenenhttp://bit.ly/cFEz3R 
  6. Shared benefit model based on the long-term benefit of the consulted client, similar to #TeamLearningExperience(TeamLea(r)ningExperience) 
  7. On flight consulting sessions, sponsored by airlines (Consult & Fly, Travel & Improve will be the first players in this field based in Dresden) 
  8. Hourly consulting (doing about two dozen clients at once, learning from diversity, cross-fertilization) 
  9. Co-Consulting as prototyped by http://mindbroker.de/wiki/CoConsulting (currently at a stop) already 
  10. Pattern recognization based consulting and entrepreneurship based on data provided by smart organizations providing online data as on the Tesla Roadster, http://bit.ly/d1yJh8, or through intelligent sensor/ RFID-based production systems (either in production areas or office environments where flow of paper, electronic files is done) - some general applications laid out and implemented during my past work at BMW Plant Leipzig and Kombiverkehr KG Frankfurt (can be also applied to other fields of interest) 

2016-06-06 Presentation of HTxA - HighTech x Agency as part of the Ideas Showcase (page 33, in German) at futureSAX Innovation Conference 2016
2016-04-05 Team Project CitizenScienceLab (part of the MOOC #ScalingUp)
2015-03-10 Interview given as part of ArbeitsVisionen2025 (WorkVisions2025) by Guido Bosbach
2014-07-29 A Mission to Bring World Changing Ideas From Singularity University - an interview
2013-07-15 HTxA - HighTech x Agency (a virtual communications agency currently in the making in order to make the knowledge flow out of conference rooms into the unexplored business opportunity world possible by applying digital communication technology)
2012-07-18 Startup Accelerator (concept)
2012-07-07 Jay W. Forrester's vision for the 21st century (and in large my own personal view on the future)

.... so a visionary future is awaiting us all, where ever we may live, or work. 

Would you like to be amongst the first movers to make the future a reality today step by step? BMW Plant Leipzig has already taken some significant steps in Saxony as well as AMD (now Global Foundries Fab1) and there is yet more to come over the coming years.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Opportunity Space Entrepreneur

The entrepreneurial spirit is probably the most important driver for a future economic drive. The world is changing too fast in forms of new competitors, new markets, new needs, new challenges (facing the world). Entrepreneurs look for the new find solutions where nobody else is looking or taking the future chances for real.

And yet the entrepreneur often tends to present the "real" chances of her/his innovative approach. PeterDrucker in his 1985 book "Innovation and Entrepreneurship" writes about the German chemist who developed Novocain the first local anesthetic. But the doctors he approached didn't want to change from full anesthetic to this.

Then suddenly dentists used to practice this - and liked it. He got made on that and traveled up and down Germany to give speeches about not using Novocain in the dentist field.

The learning from that: you don't like what you have not planned for. Even as an entrepreneur (!)

What could be the reason for that: when having found something interesting to build a business around one often closes in just to not let the information spill in the larger mass and focuses on just a single field of use. The fear of scaling it up, or having worked for the "wrong" purpose sets entrepreneurs under stress - still 25 years after Peter Drucker's writing.

The way to overcome the "thinking stuck": talk with people who are not your possible competitors, ask people in the restaurant, train, conference what they may think of the idea of encounter this or that (the innovation you have in mind) - spread it in as widely context you may can.

Especially if it is a new idea, not yet in use you may feel uneasy telling people about an idea.

Just dare to do - you can only win :-) Some call it  S E R E N D I P I T Y or Innovation on the Edge

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Extrapreneurs - a new business design piece?

1. Entrepreneurs are setting up new ventures.
2. Intrapreneurs are doing similar within a corporate cocoon.
3. Team Entrepreneurs, similar to TeamAcademy, the "management school without teachers".
4. Extrapreneurs, not yet defined to my knowledge.

Extrapreneurs may come from within a corporate position, which enabled them to stabilize and find their true passion. Once the pull of passion is stronger than staying at the organization, they move out of the organization's orbit (on a very very" loose leash").

Extrapreneurs have two eyes into the future of business, one is focusing on their own passion they want to become reality, the other one is focusing back on where they have come from (the organization they are still mentally connected). In this context, they are the boundary spanners enabling organizations to see and explore the future with them together for positive impact.