Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Finishing off this year - the seed for the years to come:-)

It has been a while since my last post and quite a few things have happened, besides the fact that I have moved back to Dresden, the city of my forefathers (at least when you see that people are writing your last name correctly in general!) and my wildest dreams. Dresden has been on the far eastern part of Germany and during the GDR times  they depended just on the GDR media as the antennas couldn't get West-German television. Scarcity is always a source for creativity (as Toyota has shown us in the beginning of their success story some decades ago - and now in all this turmoil in the economic world again).

What else has happened:

- end of November a 3rd  edition of LTT (used to stand for Lean Thinkers Treffen; now: Lea(r)n Through Teams would be more appropriate) took place where 20 people learned in openspace format about how they could bring even more value to their organizations

- Otto Scharmer's Presencing Institute has started a community group on the use of Theory U in large scale and substancial change

- the term at WPI and my studies in System Dynamics are over for a while, not without connecting theory with reality. Real projects is where we learn most, especially when we are part of it. The group "System Dynamics - practical usage for businesses" is slowly taking action in the real world and still it is a challenge to engage key stakeholders.

- a week ago I started off into entrepreneurship (working on building that single entrepreneurship into team entrepreneurship through the establishment of TEAM ACADEMY in Dresden)

- Twitter followers are stepping into my footsteps daily in increasing numbers (I wonder why? What makes my person or posts interesting?)

- and best of all Pamela Paquin-Hall (who asked me, "Aren't you coming to Oman to the 3rd SoL Global Forum?"), Charles van der Haegen (who told me about the "Visit to the Penguins in Finland in August", which I actually followed:-)), SoL, Team Academy in Jyväskylä (Finland) with their yellow folks of Monkey Business, Peter Senge's workshop on "Foundation for Leadership" last March, my dear friend, thought challenger and invitor to Twitter Marigo Raftoupulos and the terrific 3rd SoL Global Forum in Oman in April 2008 with Alfred Hanner have done the real difference:-)

- not to forget a personal short conversation with our plant manager, Peter Claussen, during the week of starting production of the BMW Series 3 back in May 2005 at the new BMW Plant Leipzig. During that conversation he told me, "If you ever have a question on things you don't get an answer, don't hesitate to ask me!" (I still remember that quite well, as I have heard too often quite the contrary from my direct bosses:-(). This has been the real start into a journey that is ever since ongoing - with some ditches and some highs already and I guess that is the way life is going (in all aspects;-)).

- .....the real inspiration for taking the action in  my own hands (even though people around me always whisper, "Don't dare that! Stick to a large company! Play it save! Let your boss decide!") was and is still Jay W. Forrester, whom I admire for his thoughfulness and constant learning mode (unbelieavable at the age of 90!). I talked to him in person last year at John Sterman's workshop "Business Dynamics" and during the 25th International System Dynamics Conference in Boston and he is still of power most people in my age are already lacking (at least that is what I sense).

Taking action (small size) in all of these above initiated other interesting things that have evolved already (and will in the future):

- Genius Hellerau, worldcafés on the question "How can we initiate and foster the change in the region around Dresden?"

- personal connection with Jens Voigt (member of Genius Hellerau) and the ideas on how to make patents and intellectual property valuable to society and community (as well as profitable for organizations)

- Iiro Kohleimanen, Head of International Affairs at Team Academy, with whom I visited a conference on logistics innovations (and how the Team Academy approach could be useful - it would and will be exceptionally useful for innovations and yet the present structure of the system has to change, or we are the change;-)) and who visited the September Worldcafé at Genius Hellerau (really great stuff:-)) with me together (wearing T-shirts that say, "Innovate or Die").

- presentation of Team Academy (almost a surprise elevator pitch, and thanks to some training provided by James Parsons, CEO of ICC Language School in Leipzig not really a problem, rather a chance for additional learning;-)) at a meeting of International Friends of Dresden and inviting (Heikki Toivanan, coach at Team Academy) , Marjaliisa Hentila, Head of the Finland Institute Germany, to Team Academy 

- Fruitful and interesting conversations with Jens Bemme, who has initiated that the SLUB (the university library in Dresden) has and will open on Sundays in the future - a terrific action (initiated by only 3 people in 2002 who took the first step of the change!)

Best of all: small interventions and actions that reach my conscious mind and eye ever intrigue me to new action towards the larger whole:-)

@GuyKawasaki (that's his Twitter name) has some great thoughts on how to do revolutions in today's world and I guess some of us are already taken the lead.

All the best for the New Year and the times to come (well beyond just that year)

Ralf

PS.: I have to thank my parents wholeheartly, as they enabled all the things in the past, fostering my curiousity and inquiry in unresolved things that have led to the present journey. Even though one sometimes think that parents are opposing your desires - this is quite not so. The contrary is true because just by that tense conversations you get a sense what it is like in the real world and what your true aspirations in life are:-))

PPS.: I should not forget to thank all the other contributors like Kai, Paul H., Paul B., Dirk, Laura, Don, Sandra, Claudia, Antje (my sister), Maria (a friend and former colleague who asked me one day "Why don't you do a PhD? You really have the assets for that!"), Ville, Tatu, Henna (from the Monkey Business Guys, whith whom I spoke during the Oman trip and learned more about the crazy Team Academy;-)), ..... and all the others:-)
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