Friday, January 27, 2012

... sun over the Baltic Sea is arising

... and so the thoughts on what will happen in Dresden in the coming months, years. Back in 1993 when I first visited Dresden-Hellerau, a real innovation pillar close to  Dresden, though not really recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit for decades, the idea was set on fire in my head.

"Couldn't that be possible to reignite such drive as the godfathers of Hellerau and the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau had done a century ago?"

Listening to RichardFlorida in an interview with JimGoodnight, CEO of SAS, a couple of years ago on his topic of research "The Creative Class", further fueled my imagined vision of Hellerau 2.0.

Staying up here (writing these lines in the days of June 2010 right after the 4th Dresdner Future Forum) in the North of Germany, just a couple of miles from the coast of the Baltic Sea, my brain gets a chance to reset. The quietness of the day and vastness of view outside the porch windows makes me think about what it needs to make the "fire of ideas" go into a broad and sustainable one.

Perhaps we don't really have to reinvent new things rather combine current and already put down research and innovate the future of work and living.

Wouldn't that be cool? I have seen my fellow friends up in Jyväskylä, Finland, who have set up a network around MonkeyBusiness and their folks of TeamAcademy and stayed myself twice up there to entrench the feeling personally. Telling stories is one thing, experiencing it yourself is by far the much cooler way.

So, the question stays, "What to do next? Who are the other stakeholders, who are needed to make the change happen?"

Professor Richard Florida has identified five tactics.
  1. Pay up. "People want work that's challenging, but money matters. Even college graduates won't take a differential to live in a cheaper place."
  2. Outdo the competition. "Make your space the hippest one around. Your building and your environment show off who you are."
  3. Take the guy with the tattoos seriously. " Top talent -- especially young recruits -- revel in their differentness. That new hire with full-on metal in his ears may be the best thing that ever happened to you. He's a visual cue that you've got an open house for talent, no matter what form it comes in."
  4. Hire his boyfriend. (Or help him get a job down the street.) "Our research shows that same-sex partner benefits are intrinsically related to your company's success. It's the number-one indicator that your culture is inclusive."
  5. Invade the backwaters. "Top talent isn't just found at Berkeley, MIT, and Stanford. There are plenty of great people hidden away in the backwaters."

Guess what? This place can be Dresden in the far Eastern part (not quite the ultimate Eastern part) of Germany. Quite a challenge to reach by train (2.5 hours from Berlin), by plane (not too many regular flights into the foreign world, other than charter) and yet this makes a really cool place. Not easy to reach and an awesome setting (on the river Elbe, with the Saxonian Swiss nearby and cool people all around - ask them and they will tell you more :-)).

Where do you see the future of work and life (in your own context)?

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