Tuesday, September 30, 2008

...let's surprise and humble around the website

A really great link -given by Sherry Immediato, founding member of SoL and present chairman- that gives insights in the systems and their behavior over time:



Monday, September 29, 2008

Tipping point - from nothing to exponential growth

Reflecting on how to initiate large scale change, whether in a large organization spread over continents or a region in a country, I sense that change is happening all the time. Sometimes (especially in the very beginning) you won't think anything is changing at all.

Yet the process itself is getting to grow over time (like everything in nature), as the connections grow, stories evolve (how things are being done here and there), diversity increases as new people get involved with their very own personal experience (and neither of us has the same one!).

"When you have better knowledge about the system and whole region work, and you get to know a lot of people, you end up having a different access to making things work. Before all this, for instance, I used to postpone awkward conversations forever. Now I simply do it. We're in a different situation today because we're seeing the whole more clearly, and the whole net of personal communications and relationships is more in flow."
(quote from Presence, p. 157)

Reaching the tipping point (or you could also call it the threshold) is necessary to let change move into the growth mode.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has said, "Not because things are difficult we don't dare to do them, but because we don't dare to do them they become difficult" -about 200 years ago- and this is still valid today and even more in ever changing times.

What has been your most surprisingly experience about change in organization or society where you have played a vital role?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

....leaving the fishbowl

Marigo, a dear friend from Melbourne, has with her last blog entry intrigued me to take "Presence" and stroll around the pages (as I often do, while reading 2-5 books in parallel).

Two copies (one bought at the System Dynamics Conference in Boston in summer 2007, another one  given at the "Foundations for Leadership" workshop last March) are lying for quite some time. So I picked the older one, where I had already have made some notes. As soon as I have dived right into reading and scanning, it occured to me that this book is worth having around in your bag as "Orbiting the Giant Hairball".

The stories that are told are so true and if your are already in the moving mode (such as searching for the true sense of what is YOUR purpose in life, seeking a new job or relationship) you pretty soon amazed about the truth that lies right in front in you. Somehow the book is like a magnifier, making the obvious just cristal clear.

"There's no question that one of greatest needs is how to make it safe enough for people in positions of authority to move down the U, " said Otto. "It's no wonder that without achieving real depth in sensing, the opening to our higher Self and the movementinto truly innovative action simply doesn't occur. Everyone stays trapped in their mental models and acts - or really reacts - to circumstances based on their programming." (Presence, p. 122)

So "reprogramming" your inner harddisk is most essential to true change!

How have you done that?


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Web 2.0 and no way to produce HTML?

Thinking over the possibilities to write a newsletter in an pretty large and professional internet business network with links to certain threads or websites as one is forced to write in HTML.

I don't have a clue on how to program in HTML and moderate a group on how to make processes and tasks easier (the name is "Lean Thinking") - how do I get the thrill on track?

It needed a few days and a not yet -after three days- responded to request to the support of the provider of the mentioned network that has given my brain a kick this morning.

Use BLOGGER (where you blog on good and innovative thinking), write your newsletter text in the posting tool, switch to HTML once I have completed the text (including links!), copy that to the other website's input tool, and off you go:-))

Doesn't that sound crazy, innovative and low-cost (in every means!)?

Thanks to BLOGGER and refusing of the support to answer my request this has led to this flawless solution:-)



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Methodos - school without teachers;-)

You wonder, how this could be true?

Yes it is like Team Academy in Jyväskylä, Finland, has students and yet no professors or classes a similar thing has happened in a beautiful city in southern Germany: Freiburg im Breisgau.

Methodos e.V. the initiative was called and the scholars made their very own learning contract (with the final goal of getting through the examens with good grades!).

You don't need teaches the traditional way, other ways are also possible!

Why not offer them on a broader range?

Are there other such initiatives?

Best regards and always seeking for exceptional learning environments


PS.: Thanks to Gerold Keefer, member of the group Lean Thinking at XING, who gave me the tip while sitting in Leipzig in early summer and I was telling him about the 3rd SoL Global Forum where I met some TA folks (Monkey Business) earlier in April this year.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Do you feel valued as customer?


It is a world, where everywhere in each magazine, on house walls, or in newspaper you can read -actually around the globe-: 
"We do whatever the CUSTOMER wishes! Customer comes first!".
  • What is meant by that?
  • How many times have you been asked on how the service or a product should be delivered to you?
  • When you deal with service hotlines - how welcomed do you feel?
Today, while having had a small but nevertheless nagging service issue to be dealt with a service hotline, I felt like just a "number" not a valuable customer.
Of course there had been a service hotline, actually two as my two issues couldn't be handle by phone call throughput (should be possible nowadays).
Makes me wonder why companies are not ASKING their CUSTOMERS for advice to deliver better or even wished services?

What has been your most positive experience as a customer and your personal involvement in solving a problematic (small or large) matter?

Best regards,


Friday, September 19, 2008

The Knowledge Worker 2.0

Peter Drucker, the famous management guru has defined what a knowledge worker is back in '59 and time has set a changed profile nowadays:

Stephen Collins' great presentation and talk (you will find him on Twitter as trib).

How do see yourself in the business world?
Cheers, Ralf

PS.: After over a decade still amongst the best presentations I have seen on what a knowledge worker is in the digital age. Thanks a lot, Stephen! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reflection Time


(.... story best read in the original)

If we don't let go, we make prisoners of ourselves.

To be fully free to create, we must first find the courage and willingness to let go;

Let go of the strategies that have worked for us in the past ...
Let go of our biases, the foundations of our illusions ...
Let go of our grievances, the root source of our victimhood ...
Let go of our so-often-denied fear of being found unlovable.

You will find it is not a one-shot deal, this letting go. You must do it again and again and again. It's kind of like breathing. You can't breathe just once. Try it: Breathe just once. You'll pass out.

If you stop letting go, your creative spirit will pass out.

Now when I say let go, I do not mean reject. Because when you let go of something, it will still be there for you when you need it. But because you have stopped clinging, you will have freed yourself up to tap into other possibilities - possibilities that can help you deal with this world of accelerating change."

(Taken from "Orbiting the Giant Hairball" by Gordon MacKenzie, p. 216)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bigger than Best Practices

...just found that on Insidework

Wouldn't that be excellent?


Innovate OR Die - what's your choice?

The last three days were packed of new experiences around organizational learning. How it works, what different settings foster or not foster the change towards learning, what pressures from outside it needs (How do you learn something new when there is no need?), how do different cultures learn or perceive learning?

I met with Iiro from Finland on Thursday to fine-tune a presentation about Team Academy and the ways they learn over there in teams (we had earlier exchanged thoughts and had talked about it via Skype - a flawless collaboration tool for making communication easier). The presentation was scheduled for Friday and so we could also sense how the participants who were also part of the conference (which was about innovations in logistics) were living the "learning".

How do you think the setting of the conference was?

Agenda, presentations, panel discussions (about 10-15 min after the presentations), social networking during the breaks

...of course that is not what Team Academy is like and so our presentation was a Shock (at least in a way, as the offices at Team Academy are open space, there are dialog rooms with armchairs, not learning what you are normally told by your professor but what you sense is necessary for you to learn).

After our presentation everybody was immediately leaving the room - except one quy who seemed to be really inspired of what we had talked about earlier.

A good feeling that new ways of learning are appreciated (even though by a small minority right now - how to step out of the regular learning mode?)

In the afternoon the same day we moved further -not so much for a second presentation- but for taking part in a World Café at Genius-Hellerau to find out with a group of around 20 interested other people (CEOs, consultants, students, former employees, ...) how organizations learn compared to individuals.

To be honest the answer could not be given and even further questions aroused out of the dialog amongst us. --- the new learning cycle had started off and we will meet again in December for a follow meeting in Dresden.

Do we learn from answers or questions? I wonder what really drives new learning.

Cheers and if you feel like sharing your own thoughts on that topic please feel free to comment.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas, .........

What happens if you put 100 logistics people into a conference room for two days somewhere in the southern outskirts of Berlin?

Many presentations, more connections than old connections, new ideas, action for your presentations, .......

Something else?

Hm, if it happens to be that someone of TEAM ACADEMY is around things are surely shaking up. In the beginning slowly, as the early grumbling of an earthquake, the word-of-mouth is spreading around (everybody gets a glimpse of the guy's t-shirt which says in large letters "INNOVATE OR DIE" - there will be another one tomorrow (a t-shirt I mean;-))). 

Not sure what connections he -the Finish guy- is making during dinner, what I do know is that an exeptional exiting day is breaking in about 10 minutes.

More shake-up of ordinary innovation management ways, the team entrepreneur type of innovation is coming into the open.

What it will be to be - we don't know yet and yet we know it will be different!

Looking forward to a great day.

Ralf & Innovate or die (the Finnish Guy) 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Innovation networks - can they grow across boundaries?

Today something interesting happened: a long held back idea got a chance to get back into the water of thinking!

Years ago while working on a container-tracking-solution and bringing it to potential customers (of course they didn't quite know what to with it as they had used their phones normally for getting the necessary information) I was inspired what benefit such information could bring to the whole system (faster information, resource saving, quality enhancement, transparency, connecting people (solving issues on the underlying processes - as the tracking-tool was used as an commonly understood artefact).

Then a few years past, changed the company, and again the topic with information came up: couldn't be certain interior parts of a product (such as a car) marked with RFID, barcode or similar to be traceable?

Sounds like a great idea - but as you may suspect there is always something in the way: the money:-((

So the thought long-term and lean orientated solution (no looking up in a microfiche, easy traceability for customer service of parts built time, quality management (checking the exact charge of a specific part at the supplier), etc.) sounded great and yet no start to do.

....quite some time passed, the innovation is waiting on hold.

Then at a rainy day south of Brussels, the surprise journey starts off which lead back into the innovation of logistics.

To make the story short, while at a job interview in Belgium (currently I am seeking a new job - innovation in the "broader sense" logistics would be just perfect!) I got an invitation to join the "Arrival of the Penguins" (=new students) at TEAM ACADEMY (for me at least - and I guess quite a few other folks) the most famous university for Team Entrepreneurship up in Finland (by the way, Finland finished best at the PISA Study a few years back - guess why?), became part of the TEAM WIEN at TEAM ACADEMY and I got even invited to co-do a presentation with them in Germany at a conference on innovations in logistics.

Sometime in your lifetime your dreams become true (even after years and various drawbacks) and so while in Finland about two weeks ago I learned about an innovation project SEMPROM, which focuses also on the idea (not yet an innovation;-)) I had a few years ago.

What have I learned and you could perhaps take away:

1. If you have a great idea and everybody tells you that is not doable and crazy you know you are on the right track

2. Keep the idea in your head (present unconsciously!) and find the more general use

3.  Tell the story of your idea when you sense that people get the idea around i

4. Talk to diverse parties in different countries, connect to other innovators or creative people with lots of ideas in their minds - two sparks can ignite a real sustainable fire:-))

5. If it hasn't worked by now get back to No. 2 (in the meanwhile you will get feedback, new insight, new learning, having done a lot of mistakes, reframing the idea in your mind)

6. Innovate! (or die) - that is the slogan of one of the Team Entrepreneur Companies at Team Academy

Good luck in your own journey:-))

What is your story?



Saturday, September 6, 2008

A surprise visit to Finland

One week ago, while on the way to a job interview in Brussels (the world is going global;-)) my interview partner mentioned that he would be going to Finland to see the "Arrival of the Penguins".

Probably you frown your forehead as I did and ask, "What do you mean? Penguins in Finland around that time of the year? What are you talking about?".

Pretty soon it became clear what he meant: "Penguins" are the new students at Team Academy who were due to arrive in Jyväskylä on Monday, 25th of August 2008.

A phone being held to me with a peeping sound - the number of a Team Academy guy had been dialed already- made it all too clear: I was invited to come up north joining in the Team Academy Experience.

What to do? No ticket, no stuff for the cold north, no idea what was coming.......questions over questions.

The only thing that was clear was: THAT IS A CHANCE OF A LIFE TIME!

Sitting in a small restaurant south of Brussels with my interview partner, Charles van der Haegen, I decided: Check it out, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is not too far away and on my way to Amsterdam.

...and so it became true: landing on Finish soil on Sunday night around 11pm, arriving at the hotel downtown (where already some other folks heading to the same destination had taken their rooms earlier that night), and getting up the next morning around 5:30am in order to meet the others and catch a train up to Jyväskylä at 6:30am.

A mere three hours later the felt dream became reality: welcome to TEAM ACADEMY!

....and it has been taken on new hights, connections, friendships, learning, reflecting ever since:-))