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Abstract in English language: Last week I had the honor to award the best Austrian companies for New World of Work, Diversity and Learning. It is Paysafe, Merkur and Russmedia. Go meet them, to learn from the best.

Letzte Woche hatte ich die Gelegenheit, in drei Kategorien die besten Arbeitgeber Österreichs gemeinsam mit Ministerin Schramböck und Great Place to Work Geschäftsführerin Doris Palz auszuzeichnen.

Die erste Kategorie war das “Neue Arbeiten”. Gewinner ist die Firma Paysafe in Wien. Paysafe hat es geschafft, in nur drei Jahren die eigene Haltung gegenüber Arbeit komplett “umzukrempeln”. Das Arbeiten in dieser Firma wurde komplett flexibilisiert – nach allen Regeln der Kunst. Bemerkenswert. Wer sich die neuen Arbeitswelten bei Paysafe näher ansieht, wird auf auf neue Sichtweisen stossen, wie z.B. Funktionszeit oder die Mitarbeiterwolke. Es lohnt sich, der Firma einen Besuch abzustatten und von den gesammelten Erfahrungen zu lernen.

Die zweite Preiskategorie war das Thema “Diversity”. Gewinner ist Merkur Österreich. Merkur hat alle Gruppen, die eher am Rand unserer Gesellschaft stehen, in seine Mitte geholt, wie z.B. LGBITQ, ältere Menschen (lebenphasenorientieres Arbeiten), Flüchtlinge, Personen mit Lernschwierigkeiten, Personen mit Behinderungen. Wer Best Practice kennenlernen möchte, sollte sich an Merkur wenden.

Die dritte Preiskategorie war das Thema “Lernen”. Gewinner ist Russmedia. Russmedia hat dieses Thema ganzheitlich umgesetzt: Lernen von den Besten – MitarbeiterInnen können z.B. Stanford-Zertifikate erwerben. Wissenstransfer intern, z.B. zwischen den Generationen, ist ein zweiter Schwerpunkt. Und Lernen erfordert Reflektion. So gibt es zum Beispiel den Boxenstopp für Führungskräfte, der das Einhalten und Reflektieren (Was tue ich da eigentlich?) ermöglicht.

Mehr Informationen (und Bildquelle): https://www.greatplacetowork.at/beste-arbeitgeber/oesterreich/2018/

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Abstract in English language: Does your company allow for mobile working and did you establish some rules for mobile working? These rules are focus of our research at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems. Here is the deal: Email your documented rules to us and allow us to use them for scientific purposes (michael.bartz@fh-krems.ac.at). In return we will analyze your set of rules and will provide feedback on the quality and potential areas of improvement.

Ihr Unternehmen erlaubt Teleworking oder Home Office. Im Büro geht es vielleicht auch relativ mobil zu: Desk Sharing ist für einige oder viele MitarbeiterInnen ggf. ein Thema. Oder es gibt Projekträume, die flexibel genutzt werden, oder temporäre Arbeitsplätze. Die Möglichkeiten des mobilen Arbeitens sind vielfältig.

Wie auch immer mobiles Arbeiten in Ihrem Unternehmen aussieht, auf jeden Fall erfordert Mobilität im Unternehmen ein paar Grundvereinbarungen. Sonst endet Flexibilität im Chaos oder wirkt sich zumindest kontraproduktiv aus. Idealerweise wurden diese Vereinbarungen in Form von Regeln oder Spielregeln auch schriftlich dokumentiert und gut im Unternehmen kommuniziert. So, daß jeder Mitarbeiter und jede Mitarbeiterin die Mindeststandards für mobiles Arbeiten kennt.

An der IMC FH Krems forschen wir zum Thema “Spielregeln für mobil-flexibles Arbeiten”. Wir bieten Ihnen an: Stellen Sie uns Ihre schriftlich dokumentierten Spielregeln für die Forschung zu Verfügung; wir geben Ihnen im Gegenzug gerne Feedback zu Ihren Spielregeln. Kostenlos natürlich.

Vielleicht ist es sinnvoll, Themen in Ihren Spielregeln zu ergänzen oder manche Regelung in anderer Form zu treffen. Wir analysieren Ihre Dokumente und geben Ihnen Hinweise in Bezug auf die Qualität Ihrer Spielregeln und mögliche Verbesserungspotentiale. Melden Sie sich gerne direkt per Mail:

michael.bartz@fh-krems.ac.at

Bidlquelle, und hier ist auch ein kontroverser Artikel zu den Risiken mobilen Arbeitens zu finden: http://www.information-age.com/mobile-working-lie-123459314/

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Abstract in English language: SAP is heading towards mobile working on a large scale. 22.000 employees will be granted the right to choose any workplace; may it be in the office, or not.

Interessanter Hinweis auf Spiegel Karriere. Danke an Thomas Schmutzer (KPMG) für den Tipp:

“Firmen reden oft vom Homeoffice, aber im Alltag ist vielen lieber, dass die Belegschaft brav im Büro sitzt. Bei SAP gibt es nun eine Vereinbarung, die auf einen Homeoffice-Anspruch hinausläuft.

Der Softwarehersteller SAP lässt seine rund 22.000 Mitarbeiter in Deutschland künftig weitgehend frei entscheiden, von wo aus sie ihre Arbeit erledigen. Unternehmen und Betriebsrat haben eine entsprechende Vereinbarung ausgehandelt, wie Personalchef Cawa Younosi erklärte.

Die Beschäftigten könnten ganz normal ins Büro kommen, sie könnten aber auch zu Hause, vom Café oder vom Schwimmbad aus arbeiten. Die Wünsche müssen allerdings jeweils mit den Vorgesetzten abgestimmt werden. “Der Mitarbeiter und die Führungskraft einigen sich formlos, das geht per Mail, per SMS oder per Kalendereintrag”, sagte Younosi.

SAP hat das Konzept seit 2016 bei der deutschen Vertriebstochter getestet und weitet es nun aus. Zwar hätten sich die Mitarbeiter auch bislang mit ihren Chefs auf Mobilarbeit verständigen können. Mit der offiziellen Regelung sei es nun aber generell erwünscht, dass die Führungskräfte es ermöglichen.

“100 Prozent Mobilarbeit sind nicht gewollt”

Wichtig sei, dass eine Balance zwischen den Interessen beider Seiten gefunden werde. Auf Vorgaben zum Umfang habe man bewusst verzichtet – mit einer Ausnahme: “100 Prozent Mobilarbeit sind nicht gewollt”, sagte Younosi.”

Quelle Bild und Text: http://www.spiegel.de/karriere/sap-home-office-fuer-alle-22-000-mitarbeiter-in-deutschland-a-1196171.html

Holacracy at Zappos

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Abstract in German language: Holacracy läuft beim Online-Shop Zappos noch nicht ganz rund. Hier ein Interview mit dem CEO Tony Hsieh.

Zappos is trying hard on Holacracy. See here an interview of Business Insider with the CEO Tony Hsieh.

“A few days into the new year, 50 employees quit their jobs at Zappos. That was OK with CEO Tony Hsieh.

It was the deadline for the 150 employees working on an intensive tech project to decide if they wanted to take a severance package or begin working under the self-management system known as Holacracy. Under it, there are no traditional bosses or job titles, and the standard hierarchy is eliminated.

Hsieh made the offer last March to this team and the greater body of 1,500 Zappos employees with separate deadlines, and ultimately 260 employees — 18% of the company — took some form of it.

It’s a big year for Hsieh (pronounced "shay"). His e-commerce site, known for its wide variety of shoes and headache-free customer service, is rebounding from this radical shakeup and now moving toward becoming a mobile-first company with significant profit growth.

Additionally, 2016 is the year that Hsieh’s other focus, the four-year-old Downtown Project movement to revitalize Zappos’ Las Vegas neighborhood, is supposed to finally bring back a return on the $350 million that Hsieh personally invested into it.

We recently sat down with Hsieh in Zappos’ Vegas headquarters to discuss his ambitions for the year, why he decided to reinvent the way his company operates, and why he thinks it will ultimately prove to be worth the struggle.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Richard Feloni: So here we are, January 2016. Looking back at 2015, what do you think? How did the year go?

Tony Hsieh: It was definitely an eventful year. There were a lot of changes both internally and externally here at Zappos. We went all in with Holacracy, which is really about self-organization, self-management, having employees really think about how to self-direct their work, rather than managers telling them what to do.

And then externally, on the customer side, we really made a strategy change and decided to focus on what we’re internally referring to as our "best customers" — really focusing on the brands they want, elevating the level of service, the amount of personal contact. So it’s been a pretty interesting and exciting transition on both of those ends.

Feloni: Let’s talk about Holacracy. You first heard about it at the 2012 Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit, and you then approached its creator, Brian Robertson, after his presentation on Holacracy. How did you decide the system was right for Zappos?

Hsieh: Holacracy happens to be the tool we’re using today, but the bigger theme is about self-organization and self-management.

Many years prior to meeting Brian, I had a nagging sensation that as we kept getting bigger, we kept getting more bureaucracy built into the corporate structure. Because I wanted to stop this trend, I was spending a lot of time thinking about how we could avoid losing a startup edge and how we could empower every employee to act like an entrepreneur.

I was looking at the weaknesses of the typical corporate structure and how it’s not been resilient. If you look at the Fortune 500 companies from 1955, 88% of them didn’t make it to 2014. Then you look at what structures do work in nature, like the human body, and they’re all structures that are self-organized. Frederic Laloux captures this best in his book "Reinventing Organizations," where he refers to these as "Teal" organizations.

Feloni: Another book that has influenced you in this area is Harvard professor Edward Glaeser’s "Triumph of the City."

Hsieh: The easiest example of self-organization for people to wrap their minds around is a city. The mayor of a city doesn’t tell its residents what to do or where to live, and when people and businesses act in their own self-interests, that creates opportunities for growth.

An interesting thing about cities is that Glaeser’s research has shown every time the population of a city doubles, innovation or productivity per resident increases by 15%, but the opposite happens when companies double in size.

Over the years at Zappos, I’ve done a lot of research into how we can prevent the default future for most companies: death. And not only how do we avoid that, but how do we become more innovative as we grow, in the same way that cities do? That’s why we pursued self-management.

Feloni: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have of Holacracy in particular, or self-management in general?

Hsieh: The biggest misconception is that it’s just total chaos and there’s no structure. It’s interesting, because there actually is more structure in some cases and more explicit documentation on what people’s different roles are, what their account abilities are. It’s easy, though, to just read the headline of "No managers" and assume that that means no hierarchy. It’s actually a hierarchy of purpose.

Instead of a pyramid, power is distributed across different circles dedicated to specific functions — we have about 500 circles at Zappos, and they fit in a hierarchy relative to one another.

A problem with Holacracy is that it’s hard to explain very succinctly. Our training process takes awhile, and then even after you’ve gone through that, it still takes several months to really understand how to operate inside of it.

Another thing to remember whenever you hear someone explain how they either love or hate Holacracy at Zappos is that we’re in the super early days of it. It’s like this: If you got handed the latest iPhone running on the latest iOS, but there were no apps on it, then you would think that it was probably useless. Part of what we’re going through right now at Zappos is that we’re creating those apps for the Holacracy operating system. Since it’s the first time we’re doing it, some of those apps turn out to be great and some may be false starts, but it’s all an evolutionary discovery process and we share our findings with the world.

Hopefully, there are other companies out there that can borrow or modify our apps and then over time, there can be a whole ecosystem of companies that are thinking about "How can we move beyond the traditional command and control type of structure?" It makes the difficulties worth it.

Feloni: What were you seeing at Zappos that prompted you to offer a severance package to employees last March if they didn’t want to go all-in with Holacracy?

Hsieh: At that time, only 85% of the company had made the transition to the system. And what we found was that it was really hard for people to be half in one world and half in the other because, if under Holacracy they had certain authority to do something but their manager still functioned as if it were the old world, then conflict could arise. The default became falling back on habits, and so it hindered the whole adoption process. That’s why I set a hard deadline of moving to full implementation on May 1, so that we could just "rip the Band-Aid off."

Feloni: About 14% of your employees left by May 1, and then by January 4, 50 more employees working on the Super Cloud outsourcing of the website’s basic functions to Amazon’s servers took an offer, for a total of 18% of the company. Did that hurt at all, to see that reaction?

Hsieh: So we put out a super generous offer, which we’ve done in the past anytime there were big transitions, like when we moved from San Francisco to Las Vegas in 2004. The offer then and the offer last year was they could either stay or take three months’ pay or one month’s pay for every year they worked, whichever was greater.

There were some employees that had been with us for over 12 years and basically they had the option to take a year’s severance.

This new environment isn’t right for everyone, because some employees just want to know what steps one to 10 are and be told by a manager that they’ve done a good job when they finish. In this new self-managed world, employees sign up for a role or a circle, and each of those has a purpose associated with it that employees have to figure out how to make come alive. And so it gives them a lot of freedom, but I understand at the same time that amount of freedom can be super scary for some people.

What we found, though, was, at least anecdotally, that about half of those who took the offer did so not because of Holacracy, but because they really had wanted to actually go out and do something else they were passionate about, like start their own business. Because now, with a year’s severance, for example, they had the funds to try it out and they also knew that they could, 12 months later, come back to Zappos, which we allowed them to do.

I heard a story about someone who took the offer because she considered it a good opportunity to take care of a sick family member in Texas.

Feloni: So do you feel like giving this offer was a necessary decision that you had to make?

Hsieh: It’s just more in line with how we’ve always done things at Zappos. We could have just as easily not given any offer and then just said, "This is what we’re doing." But we’ve always prioritized company culture and how we treat employees. We actually still do this for all our new hires: They go through a five-week training program and at the end of the five weeks, they can take $2,000 and quit.

We want to make sure that employees aren’t here just for paychecks and truly believe this is the right place for them.

Feloni: And if your vision is realized, what will success look like under this new self-managed Zappos?

Hsieh: I want employees to operate in the intersection between what they’re passionate about and what’s going to help move the company forward. I want them to be able to come up with an idea and then, rather than having to go through a bureaucratic approval process, they can run with the idea and find people who’d like to join them.

And from the overall company’s perspective, I want to add more innovation and productivity as we add more employees. It goes back to the city analogy.

Another layer to that is that different mayors of different quality can come and go through the city, but the city stands throughout the change. In the same way the city isn’t dependent on a mayor, I’d ultimately like for Zappos’ future to not be dependent on me as its CEO.

Feloni: Last year I spoke to John Bunch, head of the Holacracy implementation, and he essentially said that even if the company had to abandon Holacracy because it wasn’t working, the transitions that already were put in place would have been worth it. Is that something that you agree with?

Hsieh: Yeah, although I wouldn’t really think of trying something instead of Holacracy as abandoning it. I would think of it as we’re learning that there are some things about Holacracy that are great and then some things that maybe aren’t the best fit for our culture.

It would be like if I asked you, "Did Apple abandon the first iPhone?" You can either say they abandoned it or you can say they improved upon it over time.

Feloni: You told me last year that fewer decisions require your approval now at the company. Now that Zappos is fully functioning as a self-managed organization with distributed power, how has your role as CEO changed?

Hsieh: I would say in general, both historically and with Holacracy, I’ve always viewed my role as just kind of jumping around to wherever the organization needed me the most. And so over the past year and probably this year, as well, a lot of that is really focused on either Holacracy education or helping come up with systems or processes in this new world.

Feloni: You invested $350 million of your own money into Downtown Project in 2012, with the goal of revitalizing 50 acres of downtown Vegas. How was that an outgrowth of the ideas that you were exploring for Zappos?

Hsieh: When we first moved to downtown Vegas, we took over the former City Hall, which we’re sitting in right now, about two and a half years ago. And at the time this whole area was a lot more dangerous than it is today, and we wanted employees to be able to live, work, and play within walking distance of work. So the Downtown Project team and I wanted to help fund small businesses, tech startups, and a school and health clinic.

Though Zappos and Downtown Project are entirely separate, I wanted to encourage Zappos employees to go out into the community and to encourage people in the community to come onto Zappos’ campus, to have more of those innovation-driving "collisions" with other people, businesses, and industries.

Feloni: How do you feel about where Downtown Project is today?

Hsieh: When we started, the goal was that by the end of year five, which is the end of this year, was to make a profit. Right now, we’re pretty close to being on track for that goal.

The more interesting thing for me outside of the numbers is really, "Are small businesses and people not affiliated with us moving on their own to the area?" And the answer is, "Yes." One of our intentions was to get to the tipping point where they came here because they like the vibe we created.

Feloni: You tried implementing Holacracy with the Downtown Project managing team, but they abandoned it in the fall of 2014. Were there lessons that you learned about implementing Holacracy and how it functioned that you were able to bring over to Zappos after trying it at Downtown Project?

Hsieh: In that case the timing wasn’t right for Downtown Project. The team was trying to build something significant from the ground up while also trying to learn Holacracy.

Whereas at Zappos, we have an existing business that, while we’re always trying to improve and so on, we’re not trying to figure out the entire business from scratch. We have more resources to figure out Holacracy.

Feloni: What do you think it is about your personality or your experience that drives this constant need for experimentation and trying new things?

Hsieh: There’s the creativity aspect of it, but it’s also rewarding for me to remove roadblocks to someone’s idea so that it can become reality.

Feloni: Do you ever doubt yourself as you’re going through the ambitious projects you take on?

Hsieh: I always doubt individual ideas, but I know that if you just do more of them, then statistically some of them are going to work. The ones that do work are the ones that you double down on.

In some ways it’s analogous to playing poker, where if you only play hands that you’re absolutely sure you’re going to win, you’re not going to be the best poker player or win the most money at the table. On the flip side, that doesn’t mean you play every hand, because you’re not going to make money.

I’ve always played, in poker and in business, for the highest expected value, and so even if there’s a 20% chance that something might work out, if the payoff’s going to be 10 times as much as you put in, then you should make that bet every single time.

A lot of companies, especially bigger corporations, instead think, "Oh, 20% chance of success means 80% chance of failure — we should kill that project." I’d rather say we should do 10 similar projects and then two of those will work out. Those could be the two that completely change the company.

Feloni: Was your decision to move from a spacious apartment into an Airstream trailer in the fall of 2014 one of those instances where you wanted to push yourself creatively?

Hsieh: I did it because I wanted to maximize serendipity and randomness in my life. If you lived in a house in the suburbs, your neighbors and friends don’t randomly walk into your house, in the same way that everyone in the Airstream park interacts with each other.

For example, two nights ago we had a bunch of musicians stop by, and Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, starts a rap battle with another performer. That’s the type of situation you can’t plan for, but it happens all the time at the Airstream Park and generally happens a lot more in downtown Vegas than any other city I’ve been in.

Feloni: At this point, you’ve been a public figure long enough for people to either consider you a genius or crazy. How do you see yourself?

Hsieh: Probably neither. I don’t know. I just enjoy learning new things and then forming my own perspective of the world. By definition, because something I pursue is new or different, then it’s going to resonate with some people and not with others.

Feloni: You’ve said in other interviews that Zappos was never to you just about selling shoes or clothes, but that it’s been about building a culture internally and with customers. What do you want Zappos to become?

Hsieh: I would like it to be a whole new way of working and living that infects other companies. We like being at the forefront of newer things.

There are so many people working at bureaucratic, big corporations who are unhappy. Hopefully, we can help change that.”

Source including some additional charts: http://www.businessinsider.de/tony-hsieh-explains-how-zappos-rebounded-from-employee-exodus-2016-1?r=US&IR=T

Another interesting article covering Holacracy@Zappos: https://qz.com/370616/internal-memo-zappos-is-offering-severance-to-employees-who-arent-all-in-with-holacracy/

Picture source and more information on the Zappos webpage:

https://www.zapposinsights.com/about/holacracy

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Sabine Mezler-Andelberg berichtet am 12.01.2018 in der Tageszeitung “Die Presse” über den Einsatz von LEGO in den Studiengängen “Digital Business Transformation” und “International Business Management” an der IMC FH Krems:

Didaktik. Komplexe Themen mit einfachen Mitteln bearbeiten: Lego Serious Play soll beide Gehirnhälften aktivieren und bringt die bekannten Bausteine auch in den Hörsaal.

Kaum jemand in der westlichen Welt hat seine Kindheit ohne sie verbracht: Lego-Steine finden sich in jedem Kinderzimmer. Inzwischen machen die bunten Bauteile auch an den heimischen Hochschulen Karriere. Denn die kleinen Plastikteilchen können etwas, das sonst kaum ein Unterrichtsmaterial kann: unsere rechte und linke Hirnhälfte gleichzeitig aktivieren. „Schon Daniel Kahnemann hat in seinem Buch ,Thinking fast and slow‘ aufgezeigt, welche Aufgaben die linke und die rechte Hirnhälfte wahrnehmen“, erklärt Michael Bartz, Professor im Department of Business an der FH IMC Krems, „und genau da setzt Lego an. Denn während die linke Hälfte grob vereinfacht auf die Situation ,Mammut kommt‘ – Flucht oder Angriff – reagiert, wahnsinnig schnell Entscheidungen trifft und dabei das Bauchgefühl und Daumenregeln einsetzt, ist die rechte für kognitive Aufgaben zuständig und arbeitet langsamer. Aber dafür kann sie auch die Relativitätstheorie entwickeln“, wie Bartz es auf den Punkt bringt. Weshalb bei der Lösung von Problemen in Unternehmen zumeist die rechte Hälfte zum Einsatz kommt. „Wenn wir aber die Finger bewegen, schalten wir auch die linke Hälfte dazu“, erklärt Bartz, was Kahnemann in seiner Arbeit nachweisen konnte.

Goldmünzen und Raumschiffe

Ein Zusammenspiel, das bei der Entwicklung von Lösungen und Strategien für Unternehmen enorm hilfreich sein kann. Das fand Lego-Eigentümer Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen Mitte der 1990er-Jahre heraus, als er selbst gemeinsam mit den Professoren Johan Roos und Bart Victor, die damals am IMD Lausanne arbeiteten, auf der Suche nach einem effektiven Prozess zur innovativen Strategieentwicklung für sein Unternehmen war. Heraus kam dabei Lego Serious Play, quasi als Prozess und Produkt zugleich, das bis heute rechtlich geschützt ist, auch wenn die grundlegenden Prinzipien 2010 unter einer Creative-Commons-Lizenz öffentlich nutzbar gemacht wurden. „Die Kästen mit dem Material darf sich heute jeder kaufen“, freut sich auch Bartz, der an der FH Krems zwei Stück mit insgesamt rund 4000 Teilen in seinen Lehrveranstaltungen einsetzt. Darin befinden sich neben den klassischen Platten und Bausteinen auch Tiere, Figuren, Goldmünzen oder Teile von Raumschiffen.

Mit deren Hilfe lässt Bartz beispielsweise Teilnehmer in Vorlesungen zum Thema Strategieentwicklung im Studiengang Internationales Businessmanagement Stärken- und Schwächenanalysen durchführen – und das mit beeindruckenden Resultaten. „Die Ergebnisse sind reflektierter und detaillierter, weil beide Hirnhälften zum Einsatz kommen“, erklärt Bartz. Und werden darüber hinaus noch schneller erzielt: „Die Teilnehmer wissen ohne viel Erklärung, was zu tun ist.“ Anfangs habe er bei den Kursen noch zwei Coaches hinzugezogen, „aber sie waren arbeitslos“, lacht er. Denn anders als in traditionellen Vorlesungen, in denen die Gefahren, Chancen, Stärken und Schwächen eines Unternehmens beleuchtet werden sollen, blieben Fragen wie „Wie lang haben wir Zeit dafür?“ bis „Was genau sollen wir da tun?“ aus. „Wenn Lego eingesetzt wird, legen die Studierenden einfach los“, so Bartz, „und man kann manchmal richtig sehen, wie dann die rechte Gehirnhälfte dazugeschaltet wird.“

Neben dem Einsatz als didaktisches Mittel können die kleinen, bunten Steine auch in einem anderen Bereich des Hochschulalltags genutzt werden: „Eine Kollegin von mir setzt Lego mittlerweile unterstützend bei den Abschlussprüfungen ein, weil es dabei hilft, Ängste zu nehmen“, berichtet Bartz.

Top Ten im Ideenwettbewerb

Positive Erfahrungen, die sich inzwischen in der österreichischen Bildungslandschaft herumsprechen, wie sich kürzlich auch am BFI Wien zeigte. „Wir haben im Sommer einen großen internationalen Ideenwettbewerb zu neuen Inhalten und Formaten gestartet“, berichtet Thomas Teufl, Geschäftsbereichsleiter Privat- und Firmenkunden, „und dabei 105 Ideen aus Österreich und Deutschland, aber auch den USA oder Indien bekommen.“ Darunter auch die Anregung, Lego Serious Play einzusetzen – was am BFI auf großes Interesse stieß und die Idee auf die Top-Ten-Liste brachte. „Wir haben es bis jetzt noch nicht ausprobiert, aber uns daraufhin damit auseinandergesetzt“, so Teufl. „Ich finde es irrsinnig spannend, und wir wollen es 2018 sicher anbieten.“ Vorstellbar sei das unter anderem bei Themen wie Präsentationstechniken, Mediation und Konfliktmanagement oder auch im Rahmen des neuesten Angebots, eines Diplomlehrgangs zum Thema Innovationsmanagement. „Wir müssen den Menschen in Zeiten, in denen Bildung überall konsumiert werden kann, mehr bieten als den klassischen Classroom“, sagt Teufl, „und da passt Lego Serious Play einfach super dazu. Schließlich waren wir alle einmal Kinder, können durch solche spielerischen Ansätze über den Tellerrand schauen und uns Herausforderungen so stellen, wie wir es als Kinder gemacht haben.“ (SMA)

Quelle Text: https://diepresse.com/home/bildung/universitaet/5352777/Aus-dem-Kinderzimmer-in-die-Uni

Quelle Bild: IMC FH Krems mit besonderem Dank an die mitwirkenden Master-Studierenden.

Start-ups in Africa

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Abstract in German language: Meine Kollegin Martina Kainz ist gerade von einer längeren Forschungsreise aus Westafrika zurückgekehrt. Sie erforscht in Afrika speziell die Start-up Szene. In ihrem nachfolgenden Artikel zeigt sie uns, wie flach – nach Thomas Friedman – die Welt bereits geworden ist. Lesen Sie hier auch über konkrete Start-up-Unternehmen, die sich Martina Kainz genauer angesehen hat.

Author Martina Kainz

Only a few Europeans know the huge dimension of using digital technologies on the African continent which has exceeded the highest expectations of all experts. It is the “miracle of a great success” – as the French media expert Annie Chéneau-Loquay says. But European media reports about Africa are still dominated by topics like wars, corruption and diseases, a phenomenon described by the Austrian journalist and expert of African Studies Martin Sturmer who claims for a differentiated kind of reporting (https://afrika.info/buch/).

About 46% of 1,2 Billions of Africans are using mobile money systems (f.e. M-Pesa) representing by now a rival product to traditional banking systems. More than 50% of all financial transactions in Africa are done by the mobile phone, and this is a growing trend. So it is possible to make money transfers in a few minutes – even without having any bank account – and instead of payment in cash many Africans use mobile money. Even microloans are provided by the mobile phone. This kind of small credits offer great chances especially for women who have generally good repayment behaviors.

Generally, the coastal regions of Africa have greater access to the Internet than countries or regions situated in the interior of the continent which can be explained by the fact that the costs of establishing infrastructure within this area are as much as five times higher than compared to the coastal regions. The establishment of Internet infrastructure on the African market is mostly carried out by American and European groups, in recent years particularly Intel, Orange, SAP und IBM, but also by the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE.

The increasing use of applications lead to better economic and commercial relationships (especially in the range of small and individual entrepreneurs, farmers or distributors) and it is possible to develop new marketing strategies like for example the presentation of products within social networks. But digital technologies are also applied in the context of development cooperation, from electronic health programs up to the use of drone technology in case of humanitarian supports.

As in Silicon Savannah in Nairobi (Kenia) there is also a huge number of good working start-ups in one of the poorest countries on the African continent, in the Republic of Benin (HDI 167 of 188). The creativity of the use of digital technologies is admirable as will be shown by two examples:

– One of the most important experts of digitization in the Republic of Benin is the young entrepreneur and media consulter Gilles Kounou with his start-up OPEN SI (http://opensi.co/) and his blog “Disrupting Africa!” giving a good example how to give Africa another image as a continent of catastrophies.

– Another young and successful start-up is IRAWO-Talents (https://irawotalents.com/) giving to other young entrepreneurs from Benin the possibility to present their ideas and functioning at the same time also as role-models the other Africans from 20 to 35 years. Mylène Flicka, young managing director comments: “Africa is not only unique concerning the increasing number of mobile phones, but it is also – from Dakar through Nairobi to Johannesburg – a continent of young people full of energy, each of them dreaming to become the next Steve Jobs of the African continent.” (Interview with Martina Kainz, July 2017).

The dimension of changing the world of work from Africans through digitization is impressing: Only in the small country of the Republic of Benin thousands of people are living from selling prepaid-cards and from money transfer by mobile phones. Students having until now no possibility to buy their books are learning by the internet, are using social networks and are motivated to profit from the process of medial globalization. It’s time to perceive this trend also in Europe – not least in view of economic cooperation.

Article and pictures by Martina Kainz. More information:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/martina-kainz-91844766/

Start-ups in Afrika

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Abstract in English language: My colleague Martina Kainz returned from a research journey through Western Africa. She returned with another basket full of insights into the African start-up scene. Digitalization is changing society and economy as well here fundamentally. Martina Kainz is writing about it in her following article. Read about digitalization making our world flat (as we learned from Thomas Friedmann), the implications and as well about concrete start-up examples. The article is written in German language. A English language version will possibly follow.

Author Martina Kainz

Nur sehr wenige Europäer wissen, dass der derzeitige Boom digitaler Kommunikationstechnologien auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent in einem Ausmaß geschieht, der selbst die kühnsten Erwartungen von ExpertInnen übertroffen hat. Nach wie vor dominieren in europäischen bzw. westlichen Ländern in der medialen Berichterstattung über Afrika die 3 Ks: Kriege, Krankheiten und Korruption, wie der Salzburger Afrikanist Martin Sturmer in seinem Buch „Afrika! Plädoyer für eine differenzierte Berichterstattung“ (https://afrika.info/buch/) aufzeigt.

Ca. 46% der insgesamt 1,2 Mrd. Afrikaner nützen die Möglichkeit des mobilen Geldtransfers, der mittlerweile eine große Konkurrenz zu den Banken darstellt. Mehr als 50% aller Finanztransaktionen laufen bereits über das Mobiltelefon, Tendenz steigend. So können Geldüberweisungen innerhalb weniger Minuten durchgeführt werden, anstelle von Barzahlungen wird bequem mit „Mobile money“ bezahlt, selbst Mikrokredite werden über das Mobiltelefon vergeben. Die Küstenregionen weisen generell eine weitaus bessere Internetanbindung auf als Länder bzw. Regionen im Landesinneren des Kontinents, da dort die Kosten zur Errichtung dieser Infrastruktur im Vergleich zu den Küstengegenden um bis zu einem Fünffachen höher anzusetzen sind. Die meisten infrastrukturellen Maßnahmen im Zusammenhang mit der Errichtung des Internet werden von amerikanischen und europäischen Konzernen durchgeführt, in den letzten Jahren waren es vor allem Intel, Orange, SAP und IBM, die auf den afrikanischen Markt drängten, aber auch die chinesischen Firmen Huawei und ZTE.

Durch die zunhemende Verwendung digitaler Applikationen kommt es zur Belebung von Handelsbeziehungen (v.a. im Bereich der Kleinst-/Einzelunternehmen, bei Landwirten, Händlern), es werden neue Marketingstrategien entwickelt, wie etwa die Vermarktung von Waren in sozialen Netzwerken, und es werden digitale Technologien auch im Kontext der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit eingesetzt, von Gesundheitsprogrammen bis hin zur Verwendung von Drohnen im Rahmen humanitärer Hilfseinsätze.

Ähnlich wie in Silicon Savannah in Nairobi (Kenia) ensteht auch in einem der ärmsten Länder auf dem Kontinent, in der westafrikanischen Republik Benin ((HDI 167 von 188), derzeit eine Reihe von gut funktionierenden Startup-Unternehmen. Die Kreativität, mit der in diesem Land junge Menschen digitale Technologien nutzen, ist bewundernswert. Zwei Beispiele mögen zur Veranschaulichung dienen:

– Als einer der profundesten Experten der Digitalisierung in der Republik Benin ist der Jungunternehmer und Medienberater Gilles Kounou zu nennen, der mit seinem jungen Startup-Unternehmen OPEN SI (http://opensi.co/ ) und in seinem Blog „Disrupting Africa!“ ein beeindruckendes Beispiel dafür abgibt, wie man Afrika ein gänzlich anderes Image als jenes des Katastrophen-Kontinents verleihen kann.

– Ein weiteres junges und erfolgreiches Startup ist IRAWO-Talents (https://irawotalents.com/ ), wo jungen beninischen Startup-GründerInnen die Möglichkeit der Vermarktung ihrer Geschäftsideen geboten wird und damit gleichzeitig Role-Models für andere junge AfrikanerInnen zwischen 20 und 35 geschaffen werden. Mylène Flicka, die junge Geschäftsführerin des Unternehmens, meint: „Afrika ist nicht nur einzigartig, was den Vormarsch der Mobiltelefonie betrifft, sondern ist – von Dakar über Nairobi bis Johannesburg – ein Kontinent voller junger Menschen, die vor Tatendrang sprühen und davon träumen, der nächste Steve Jobs dieses Kontinents zu werden.“ (aus einem Interview mit Martina Kainz vom Juli 2017).

Das Ausmaß, in dem sich die Arbeitswelt vieler Afrikanerinnen und Afrikaner durch die Digitalisierung verändert, ist beachtlich: Alleine in der Republik Benin in Westafrika leben mittlerweile Tausende Menschen vom Verkauf von Handy-Wertkarten und vom Geldtransfer via Mobiltelefon. Studierende, die bislang kaum die Möglichkeit hatten, sich die für ihr Studium nötigen Bücher zu beschaffen, lernen via Internet, sind beigeistert in sozialen Netzwerken aktiv und offen dafür, den Prozess der medialen Globalisierung für sich nutzbar zu machen. Es ist an der Zeit, diesen Trend in Europa wahrzunehmen und nicht zuletzt auch für wirtschaftliche Kooperationen zu nützen.

Pictures by Martina Kainz

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Abstract in German language: Automatisierung erfasst unsere Wertschöpfungsketten in fast allen Bereichen. Das eröffnet eine interessante langfristige Perspektive: Die Wertschöpfung, die wir – die Menschen – in Zukunft erbringen, wird mehr auf den Menschen ausgerichtet sein. Mensch-zu-Mensch wird das dominierende Jobprofil.

At the end of the year 2017, I would like to share a glimpse of the future: Automation is very obviously a phenomenon which is spreading across our industrial value chains. We can observe automation in the manufacturing sector as well as in the service industry; just try the chatbots of the fashion retailer H&M.

What is the potential outcome of this development? The following answer appears being plausible: Human work will be replaced by robots or other means of automation in many fields. Is there a common denominator when I say ‘fields’. Yes, there is. Most probably automation will cover – in the first wave until 2050 to 2080 – strongly all fields in which we process and manufacture materials. Will we – the humans – still work? Also, yes. But human work will be more human centric. What does is it mean: Our work will mainly not be involved in processing materials anymore, since robots and other machines fully capable of that by 2050 or 2080. Instead human-to-human work will be the main job profile in most societies. To that extent, automation provides an opportunity to become more human ‘on the job’.

This development will even be stimulated in countries and regions which are capable to introduce an unconditional basic income system. Switzerland started a first broad political attempt recently to introduce an unconditional basic income scheme, and a number of regions in Scandinavia has been piloting the approach already for a while. Given the current economic state and economic projections, the front runners can be Europe, North-America as well as a number of states in Asia.

Is this development all positive – more human-centric work embedded in a unconditional basic income system? Yes, if we manage as well to shift some other basic societal paradigms. In order to get a more tangible idea of the scenario and the discussion which I brought up here, I recommend to watch the movie ‘The Giver’. This film features a society which provides more opportunity to pursue human-centric work profiles in a unconditional basic income system. Nevertheless, the societal framework has not developed into the right direction. In this way, the story of ‘The Giver’ explains that there is more homework to do on the way towards a post-automation society.

Picture source and more information: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5995cc11e4b00dd984e37d1c

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Abstract in German language: Die Erkältungssaison ist wieder gestartet. Warum kommen Mitarbeiter in dieser Zeit krank ins Büro? Eine Studie der East Anglia Universität erklärt das.

It is winter. The cold is taking over company offices. Collective sneezing and sharing of infections becomes the company standard. Wouldn’t it be smart to allow your people to work more from home or other places in order to keep infection rates in your workforce down? On the other, if a company does not have the capability of mobile working or does not allow for it, your staff will regularly join the office community being sick. Your can be sure. The phenomenon is called presenteeism. Read the following article published by the Uni of East Anglia:

“This could help to prevent High job demands, stress and job insecurity are among the main reasons why people go to work when they are ill, according to new research by an academic at the University of East Anglia.

The study aims to improve understanding of the key causes of employees going to work when sick, known as presenteeism, and to help make managers more aware of the existence of the growing phenomenon, what triggers the behaviour and what can be done to improve employees’ health and productivity.

A key finding of the study, published today in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, is that presenteeism not only stems from ill health and stress, but from raised motivation, for example high job satisfaction and a strong sense of commitment to the organisation. This may motivate people to ‘go the extra-mile’, causing them to work more intensively, even when sick.

One of the significant links to presenteeism is the severity of organisational policies used to monitor or reduce staff absence, such as strict trigger points for disciplinary action, job insecurity, limited paid sick leave, or few absence days allowed without a medical certificate.

Lead author Dr Mariella Miraglia, a lecturer in organisational behaviour at UEA’s Norwich Business School, argues that presenteeism is associated with work and personal factors, not just medical conditions. Also, that these factors are more strongly related to, and so more able to predict, presenteeism than absenteeism.

In previous research presenteeism has been associated with both negative and positive effects on employee productivity and welfare, with contradictory causes and consequences for individuals and organisations. It has been linked to lower performance, exacerbating health problems and affecting wellbeing, with more productivity loss than absenteeism. The Centre for Mental Health has previously calculated that presenteeism from mental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion a year.

“This study sheds light on the controversial act of presenteeism, uncovering both positive and negative underlying processes,” said Dr Miraglia, who worked with Dr Gary Johns of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. “It demonstrates that presenteeism is associated with work features and personal characteristics and not only dictated by medical conditions, in contrast to the main perspective of occupational medicine and epidemiology.

“Working while ill can compound the effects of the initial illness and result in negative job attitudes and withdrawal from work. However, the possible negative consequences of being absent can prompt employees to show up ill or to return to work when not totally recovered. Organisations may want to carefully review attendance policies for features which could decrease absence at the cost of increased presenteeism.”

The research analysed data from 61 previous studies involving more than 175,960 participants, including the European Working Conditions Survey which sampled employees from 34 countries. Dr Miraglia developed an analytical model to identify the most significant causes of presenteeism and absenteeism, with work and personal characteristics relating differently to presenteeism depending on whether they followed a ‘health impairment’ or ‘attitudinal/motivational’ path.

Job demands, such as workload, understaffing, overtime and time pressure, along with difficulty of finding cover and personal financial difficulties, were found to be key reasons why people might not take a day off. Conflict between work and family, and vice versa, and being exposed to harassment, abuse, and discrimination at work were also positively related to presenteeism. This is because these negative experiences can exacerbate stress and harm health, requiring employees to choose between going to work and staying away.

Those who had a supportive work environment, for example supportive colleagues and a good relationship with managers, felt they did not have to go to work when ill, and were both more satisfied with their jobs and healthier. Optimism was linked to presenteesim, in that those with a positive outlook were more willing to carry on with their work while ill.

“Because presenteeism is more predictable than absenteeism, it is easy to modify by management actions,” said Dr Miraglia. “Workplace wellness and health programmes may be desirable to reduce stress and work-related illness. Furthermore, although increasing job resources, such as job control and colleague, supervisor, and organisational support, can be helpful in tackling presenteeism through their positive impact on health, our results suggest that controlling job demands represents a key line of defence against the behaviour.

“Organisations may benefit from well-designed jobs that limit the level of demands to which employees are exposed to every day, for example by reducing excessive workload, time pressure and overtime work, as well as making sure they have the resources they need.”

Dr Miraglia said further research was needed to understand when going to work while ill could be a “sustainable” and positive choice, for example in the case of a gradual recovery from long-term sickness, to improve self-esteem in the face of chronic illness or being an example of citizenship behaviour.

“It could be a good thing for some people, a way of integrating back into work again,” she added. “But it would depend how much the individual and organisation wanted it and were prepared to be flexible, for example by modifying job descriptions or offering flexy time.”

‘Going to work ill: a meta-analysis of the correlates of presenteeism and a dual-path model’ is published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology on November 9, 2016.”

Article sources: https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/research-reveals-key-reasons-people-go-to-work-when-ill

Picture source and more information: https://www.careeraddict.com/make-sure-sickness-bugs-don-t-destroy-your-office

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Abstract in English language: Cellphone use can influence the quality of our sleep. Your sleep as well? Find out and participate in a study which starts now. The following article is written in German language since this is also the language of the study.

Ein spannende Studie der TU Wien und Arbeiterkammer Niederösterreich. Untersucht wird ,wie sich die berufliche Nutzung von Smartphones auf die Schlafqualität auswirkt. Mittels der Smartphone-App „YLVI“ können auch Sie bei der Studie mitmachen und mehr über Ihre persönliche Handynutzung erfahren. Mehr Details aus der Pressemitteilung der TU-Wien:

“Die Trennlinie zwischen Arbeit und Privatleben ist oft nicht ganz einfach zu ziehen: Viele Leute lesen beim Frühstück Arbeits-Emails oder erhalten abends Anrufe am Handy. Studien der TU Wien und Arbeiterkammer Niederösterreich zeigen: Je mehr man außerhalb der Arbeitszeit erreichbar ist, desto eher wird das Grübeln über die Arbeit gefördert. Das wiederum beeinträchtigt die Schlafqualität. Vor allem Frauen und Beschäftigte, die viele Überstunden leisten, neigen dazu, in der Freizeit zu sehr über Arbeitsthemen nachzugrübeln.

Auszeit ist wichtig

„Die bloße Erreichbarkeit außerhalb der Arbeitszeit ist noch nicht unbedingt schädlich“, erklärt Martina Hartner-Tiefenthaler vom Institut für Managementwissenschaften der TU Wien. „Wichtig ist es aber, echte Auszeiten zu haben, in der die Gedanken nicht um die Arbeit kreisen. Gehen diese Freiräume verloren, hat das eine schädliche Auswirkung auf die Schlafqualität.“

Bisher war es bei Studien zur berufsbezogenen Erreichbarkeit kaum möglich, Auskunft über das tatsächliche Smartphoneverhalten zu erhalten. Man musste sich auf Befragungen und Selbsteinschätzungen verlassen. Nun wurde von der TU Wien die Smartphone-App YLVI für Androidgeräte entwickelt, mit der verlässliche Daten gesammelt werden können. YLVI („Your Latest Verified usage Information“) ist frei und kostenlos über den google play store erhältlich und analysiert Daten zum Nutzungsverhalten.

Entwickelt wurde YLVI in Kooperation vom Institut für Managementwissenschaften (Arbeitswissenschaft und Organisation) und der Forschungsgruppe für Industrial Software (INSO, Leitung Thomas Grechenig) am Institut für Rechnergestützte Automation der TU Wien. Ergebnisse der Pilotstudie zeigen, dass Telefon und SMS durchschnittlich nur je rund vier Minuten täglich aktiv verwendet werden. Nachrichtendienste wie whatsApp hingegen beanspruchen im Schnitt sechs Mal so viel Zeit. „Wichtig ist es, nicht nur auf die Dauer der Nutzung zu achten, sondern auf die Anzahl an Unterbrechungen“ betont Frau Hartner-Tiefenthaler. Die Pilotergebnisse zeigen, dass das Smartphone im Zeitraum von 24 Stunden rund 64 Mal aktiviert wird. Im Schnitt wird das Smartphone im Laufe des Tages alle 18 Minuten zur Hand genommen. Ziel der Folgestudie ist es nun zu untersuchen, welche Auswirkungen der Zeitpunkt und die Häufigkeit von arbeitsbezogenen Nachrichten außerhalb der Arbeitszeit auf den Schlaf und das Wohlbefinden haben.

Mitmachen, sich besser einschätzen können und gewinnen

Nach Installation der Android-App YLVI auf Ihrem Smartphone zeichnet sie drei Wochen anonym das Nutzungsverhalten auf. Alle Daten werden auf einem sicheren Server der TU Wien gespeichert. Inhalte (z.B. Kontakte oder Nachrichten-Inhalte) werden zu keinem Zeitpunkt ausgelesen. YLVI erkennt nur, welche App wann und wie lange geöffnet wurde. Gleich zu Beginn und am Ende lädt YLVI dazu ein, einen Fragebogen auszufüllen, um weitere notwendige Informationen über die Nutzungsgewohnheiten, sowie über Arbeitsbedingungen und -verhältnisse zu erfassen. Dazwischen beantwortet man zwei Wochen lang ein Kurz-Tagebuch zu Schlaf und Arbeit.

Nach Ablauf der Studiendauer gibt es exklusives Feedback über die persönliche Handynutzung. Unter allen Teilnehmenden, die bei der gesamten Studie mitmachen und die Fragebögen ausfüllen, verlost die TU Wien als Dankeschön 3 x EUR 250,-.”

Links:

App im Google App Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=at.ac.tuwien.inso.ylvi
App-Infos auf TU Homepage: http://www.imw.tuwien.ac.at/aw/studienteilnahme/ylvi/
App-Infos FAQs: http://www.imw.tuwien.ac.at/aw/studienteilnahme/ylvi/faq/

Rückfragehinweis:
Dr. Martina Hartner-Tiefenthaler
Institut für Managementwissenschaften
Technische Universität Wien
Theresianumgasse 27, 1040 Wien
T: +43-1-58801-33073
martina.hartner-tiefenthaler@tuwien.ac.at

Picture source and more information about the topic: https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa16/2016/11/30/using-cell-phones-before-bed/

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Abstract in German language: Wie versetze ich meinem Unternehmen eine Start-up-Frischzellenkur? Viele Wege führen nach Rom. Fünf davon werden hier diskutiert.

Does you company exist for 20 years and more? Does the organization show signs of a middle or any other management blocking or slowing down change? Is innovation more an incremental process instead of making quantum leaps? If you think the answer is rather ‘yes’, ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, welcome to the club of well established, traditional firms which should consider options to accelerate and break free by taking leverage on start-ups. Start-ups can have an effect on traditional, well established firms like a stem-cell therapy. They refresh a business inside out, leading to an innovation boost for products, business models and ways of working in an organization. This is the reason, why traditional firms are in search for ways to create interfaces to the start-up world or even integrate with it. There exist many ways which lead to Rome. Let’s us see what kind of options exist:

Hackathon approach

Blue chip and other well established firms participate in start-up conventions. Hackathons, Pioneers festival and others are formats which allow to plug into the start-scene at least for a day or a couple of days. Either you find your ‘gold nuggets’ within this time window or at least companies refresh their thinking or generate new ideas from being with this creative mass of lateral thinkers and throw-conventions-over-board-activists. Is this approach sustainable? I am not sure since it is more selective and temporal. But what about subscribing to the start-up scene?

Start-up subscription

Incubators pop-up in New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna. The French president Macron just opened a really large one – called “Station F” in Paris. This is the reason for displaying the Macron photo taken at Station F at the top of this article. Incubators are the breeding place for start-ups. These places nurture start-ups by providing infrastructure – simply some office space –, peer-to-peer networking, expert coaching and access to investors. ‘Access to investors’ is where traditional firms plug in. From their point of view, incubators can help to find the right start-up potential for their portfolio. Even more, you can even subscribe to your favorite start-ups by investing in them and starting to integrate them into your company’s organization. Integration can be – in this case – compared to ‘swimming without getting wet’. Since the breeding takes place outside your organization, even your company premises. So, any contact between your organization and the crazy start-up non-conventionalist is limited to project based cooperation, some meetings, mailing, chatting, mutual visits. That’s it (or c’est ça, as Macron would say). – This approach delivers more sustainable results than betting on Hackathons. Nevertheless, stem cell therapy can be intensified by incubating yourself.

Incubate yourself

Incubating yourself means, establish your own breeding place for start-ups in your company. So, really establishing it on your company’s premises. The Google Development Center in the Londoner East-End has been one of the first examples of larger scale in Europe. By dedicating office space to external start-ups and by finally letting them in, you create a microcosm of cooperation and mutual inspiration. In general, it is more the technology sector – for example the Telecom & Media industry – taking leverage on start-ups this way. What is required? First, incubating yourself demands office space. And it should be dedicated office space, featuring security boundaries which physically separate this half-outside part of the firm from the totally inside parts of the company. More ingredients are necessary to get the ‘hot pot’ really boiling, but dedicated office space is a good start.

Virtual incubator

What to do when you purely lack the physical space to host start-up on your company’s premises. Lacking means, missing space nearby your relevant experts, like developers, product managers, marketeers. Any remote incubation space does not help to inspire your people every day. Is there still a chance to start the stem-cell-therapy? At the moment, my answer is: May be. One of the next projects with my students in the International Business Management Master program at IMC University of Applied Sciences will drill exactly into this topic. The challenge will be how to initiate a virtual breeding process. Anyone who is interested, please let me know and contact me. I have got my own ideas but am very curious about the students’ ideas and concepts coming up soon.

Spin-offs

One thing which we know for sure is, that incubation works as well the other way round. If you are longing for real innovation, send your best people away and let them spin-off into their own start-up. BMW in Germany has been doing this for the i car series. Erste Bank is Austria did it in order to develop its new online banking platform George. Such a start-up does not have to be an unlimited endeavor. It can be clearly limited in time, for example to a period of two or three years. Even your best and most creative people may like the option to return after a defined period of free-climbing experience.

Finally, it is to say: This list is not complete. If you think that other options should be amended, please comment down here and share your thoughts. I especially ask one of my very best Master students who is currently doing a semester abroad in Australia to contribute his ideas.

Picture source and more information: https://qz.com/1044393/paris-has-ambitions-to-become-a-global-tech-hub-can-emmanuel-macron-help-make-it-happen/

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Abstract in German language: Die IMC FH Krems hat ihre Lernumgebungen sehr grundsätzlich umgestaltet. Sie entsprechen eher heutigen Büro-Erlebnislandschaften. Den Studierenden erwachsen erhebliche Vorteile daraus.

Studying at university traditionally means: seminar rooms, rows of tables and chairs. It does not look different from school. Nevertheless, it is just the outside look of it. Contents – so what’s happening inside – is totally different: University lectures feature open, interactive formats which enable discussion, debate and lots of team work.

Does debate really flow in a lined-up table-chair room set-up, which forces all eyes to the front of the seminar room but not to each other? Did you ever try to squeeze into table-chair lines in order to set in a circle for team work? It is far from ideal, sometimes even counter productive.

This is the reason to let traditional lecture hall layouts fade away at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems. Instead the university features fluid layouts of seminar rooms. In these lecture halls, students are allowed and even motivated to arrange furniture in the way they think it is ideal for their needs or for a specific course.

Since university lectures are very interactive and rely on a high share of team work sessions, this kind of lecture hall flexibility is a critical success factor. Even more, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems opened up seminar rooms and extended learning space into collaboration zones all over their buildings. These collaboration zones are open areas which are used by students from all lectures and courses and shared in this way. They offer large tables, sofas, half-closed meeting islands and many other forms of functional office furniture.

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Finally, university looks and feels like an innovative state-of-the-art office space. This way, students experience how to work in an modern, innovative company office. What do students experience there: How it feels to share space. How it works and does not work to collaborate in a team in an open area and how to be effective in this constellation; since team work is only sometimes about relaxed brainstorming. Most of the time team work takes place in order to achieve ‘hard’, tangible results in university courses, for example an analysis which needs to be presented, a concept design or writing a paper in a collaborative manner. Final course scorings depend on the quality of the outcomes. To that extent, it is a critical success factor to students to find physical working conditions in the university premises which enable and support teamwork. Secondly, student teams learn and will have to learn how to use this infrastructure effectively. In this way, students embrace already here an effective office work style when offered a professional state-of-the-art office environment. 

One more fact: The difference in effectiveness, which is achieved by this kind of flexible and open learning environment, can actually be observed. Students typically become very tired and distracted after 2 hours of lecturing in a classical classroom which features traditional layouts. Whereas energy is holding up for 7 to 8 hours in this described next generation learning environment at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems. So, endurance of students is about 3 to 4 times higher in a fluid, flexible and open learning environment.

Please share your opinion, your observations or questions and comment down here.

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Abstract in German Language: Im Zuge des Crowdwriting Projektes für das neue Buch “Future of Work” wurde bei bene ein ausführliches Interview geführt, um Einsichten und Ergebnisse aus der Digital Business Transformation Forschung an der IMC FH Krems zu diskutieren. Hier ein Ausschnitt mit den Highlights.

In the course of the book crowdwriting project with bene an extensive interview was conducted in order to discuss findings and insights from the Digital Business Transformation research at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems. See an excerpt down here.

In a nutshell:…DIGITISATION IS LIKE A SPEEDING TRAIN. COMPANIES THAT PROACTIVELY DEAL WITH CHANGE WILL SURVIVE AND MAKE A QUANTUM LEAP TOWARDS GROWTH”. A DIALOG WITH PROF. MICHAEL BARTZ.

In the scope of your professorship at the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, you conduct research in the field of New World of Work.What exactly are you working on and researching?

Since about 2000 we have found ourselves in a very accelerated Kondratieff Wave of Change.

The main development waves that have led to this are, firstly, broadband; the emergence of smartphones, tablets, extremely intuitive devices and thus the digitisation around the world. All these developments lead to changes that pervade all aspects of our social, private, public and business lives. At the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, we concern ourselves, among other things, with the rules governing these changes and the “New World of Work”. Moreover, in long-term studies, we measure satisfaction, involvement, commitment and above all, productivity in the professional world.

What key changes do you see coming?

The advancing digitisation of our entire society is one of the key issues. In many parts of the world, we are just beginning. Africa, for example, is still disconnected; in Asia only 44% – still 1.8 billion people – are connected. In North America this number is 90% and in Europe approximately 75%. The further increase in internet penetration, especially in Asia and Africa, will lead to digital working environments in the future. This is, however, only a partial aspect of digitisation. An important point is that hitherto successful business models are increasingly being called into question. The simplest and clearest example is banking. Today, apart from checking and saving accounts, which are now being processed online, there are no additional products for the private customer sector. The branch model has become obsolete and because of this, the banks’ business model is changing fundamentally. In a variety of industries, business models must also be adapted or completely rebuilt. Digitisation is like a speeding train. The companies that say they will take a look at it in due time have already missed the train. Companies that are concerned with the changes and try to tap into these developments, to shape something that creates a new dynamic, these companies survive and will make a quantum leap towards growth. For the majority of companies, it is therefore of the utmost importance to look closely at what happens and to consider in which direction and at which speed the changes must take place. In addition, the speed of change inward must also be adapted and proportioned in order to enable employees to keep up with this process. This can only be accomplished, however, by acting proactively.

In the case of a nationwide digitisation, it’s estimated that in 2050, 40-65% of the jobs that exist today will no longer exist. What will be the requirements for employees in the future?

There will be completely different jobs. In the 1950’s, for example, there were still stenotypists. It is quite normal that jobs will die out due to technological developments and new ones will emerge. We will, of course, find more of our jobs in the digital value chain and work less with our hands. It is certain that the production will be placed more and more in the hands of robots and automation. In the future, we will work side by side with robots and artificial intelligence. There is also a paradigm shift in the office. My colleagues today wont necessarily be sitting next to me. They will be scattered all over the world. There is a virtual collaboration across a global labour market. It will become different, more diverse and demanding and, to this extent, more human. Nevertheless, we must consider how to prepare people for the changes. There are core competences that will be needed in these new living and working environments. This also requires a paradigm shift in the school system. We need to move away from rigid memorization and towards flexible learning content that promote other competencies, such as analysing problems, self-organisation and structuring, as well as working and communicating emphatically with others. The Scandinavian reform countries and their school systems can be seen as examples here.

How will most of the population earn money in the future? Who are the winners and who are the losers in the economic system?

In the overall economic context, there will be new social models. For example, the unconditional basic income which, to put it simply, guarantees each person a life-long income of 1,500 euros without consideration; simply because they were born in Austria. This safeguard would lead to people developing differently; being able to pursue their interests and do what they have always dreamed of. The unconditional basic income is the safety net. The reform is financed by the reduction of the national quota, through the abolishment of administrative bodies. For example, a Public Employment Service (AMS) in Austria would no longer be needed as an administrative body; or other bodies for today’s small-scale administration of social benefits such as child allowance, study assistance etc. Through the dissolution of these authorities, appropriate budget resources are made available, which are then used to finance the unconditional basic income. In Austria, a massive number of employees in the public sector are retiring within the next 10 years. This offers a historically unique opportunity for social reform.

Reforms such as the unconditional basic income would also work in organisations.

How will working in a company change? Who will work for whom or will everyone be self-employed or a freelancer?

The forecasts lean toward freelancing; more fluidity in the cooperation conditions such as outsourcing, crowd-working and click-working. Companies are therefore more and more understood as a talent cloud or coral reef, where employees and companies assemble for a certain project for a certain period of time and then move on. IBM, Microsoft, Google are examples of this. Which approach actually makes sense, and at which intensity, depends strongly on the respective industry. However, in our long-term studies, we measure that through flexibility and fluidity, companies can increase their productivity by 5 to 10% and reduce costs by up to 20 to 30%. Important prerequisites include, among other things, so-called game rules, which hold together the core elements of these networks and talent clouds. We research which game rules are important and which ones work very deeply using brain research methods. Because what rules are really effective and which are unnecessary, can really only be understood sustainably at this point – in the human brain. In any case, the flexibilisation of companies is not a walk in the park; that’s why research in this area is so critical to ensure the transformation of organisations and ensure investment in change. At the same time, companies are taking the lead in this direction.

How far can this flexible restructuring of companies go?

Up to self-organisation. One example: The company Tele Haase in Vienna has been successfully operating without an executive board for several years. Although the changeover caused massive employee and sales losses during the first three years, today the company has put these transitional losses behind it. Of course, the company has found new employees who are comfortable with the new working styles and feel comfortable without management. Such models of sociocracy, of self-organisation, function through rotating committees, such as marketing and product development committees, which are chosen for a certain period of time and whose composition is constantly, rhythmically changing.

Exciting, this change in corporate governance from hierarchies towards democratisation. What is the driving force in the direction of democratisation and flexibility of companies?

Strong hierarchically lead companies are monolithic and cumbersome in their culture. Today, however, we are no longer dealing with static markets and customer groups. Businesses are more likely to be confronted with fluid networks of customers that continue to change in size, in their demographic characteristics and in their needs. As a successful company, I need to develop an appropriate agility to ensure that I constantly adapt my value propositions, the products and services offered by me as a company, to the needs of the customer quickly and cost-effectively. Because in the end only one point counts: Only if the value proposition is correct, will the customers be willing to pay for it.

What does this mean for the individuals in the businesses?

Management of change is therefore becoming a core competency for companies, their executives and their employees. This is precisely what executives and employees should be able to co-develop accordingly and, in a permanent process, prepare themselves for the next changes and developments. Life-long learning is therefore a personal key task. If we assume that the next generation will have a life expectancy of 100 to 105 years, and are likely to work until at least the age of 80, it is foreseeable that flexible working and learning models will become popular.In this model, people will continue to develop; staying 10, 20, 25 years in a job profile, then building upon it in a new phase or beginning something completely new. It is not life planning, but rather life phase planning that is the focus.

Source: http://futureofwork.bene.com/interview-with-prof-michael-bartz/

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Abstract in German Language: Arbeiten mit LEGO erfordert sehr präzise und strukturierte Rahmenbedingungen. Beginnen Sie hier, die Value Proposition Roadmap Methode kennenzulernen. Dies ist ein sehr effektiver Weg für den Einsatz von LEGO bei der Entwicklung oder Überarbeitung von Unternehmensstrategien.

In a previous article, I argued that using LEGO for business strategy development does benefit twice: It is accelerating the process and it is pushing quality of outcomes up. This is due to the effect, that involving LEGO and hence tactile elements into the process is bundling the resources of our left and right brain sides for problem solving. Nevertheless, applying LEGO requires a systematic approach which leads people involved step by step through this playful process. One systematic framework, which is very much suitable to provide the structure which is needed, is the Value Proposition Roadmap method of David L. Rogers. Rogers’ method is described in his book titled Digital Transformation Playbook. Many ways are appropriate but this represents one of the most effective ones.

It just requires six works steps which can be easily accomplished within one working day. It is even possible within three hours with a trained group. This was demonstrated recently by my students of the Digital Business Innovation and Transformation Master study program at the IMC University of Applied Sciences who I am very proud of. During the final exams my students proved that high quality results can be achieved even under very tight timing restrictions. Let me describe the six working steps which Value Proposition Roadmap method requires and which were also applied by the IMC students during their exam. I will do so by referring to to a rather seven hours full-fledged strategy development process.

Before we open the cookbook, one word on the basic assumption the approach is hinged on. It is the idea a business has to create customer value. Very pragmatically a company will have to ensure – at all times – that customers are willing to pay for what this organization is offering them. This is a simple and clear indicator for customer value. and exactly the soft spot the method is touching and drilling down on.

Consequently there is no other first step, than this:

Step 1: Identify your customers…

So, in a first step you define your most relevant customer groups. This is something new and surprising but homework which needs to be accomplished before drilling into strategic issues

Step 2: Understand your current value proposition

Once customer groups or types have been defined, you are ready to explore current value elements which add up to a value proposition customers are willing to open the purse and lash out. Unveiling current value elements  is done separately for every customer type by posing the question like ‘For which value elements is this customer type willing to pay our company?’ and ‘For which value elements do they turn to us and not our competitors?’. For answering these questions now is the right time to ring the ‘LEGO bell’. You could accomplish this task easily on a flip chart, by using a table on your tablet or even more fancy on an electronic whiteboard. Yet, all of these ways just leave you in the modus in which you only draw on half of brain capacity. So instead ask your team to build value elements by using LEGO. How to do this:

  • Brief your development team on the customer type and the exact task which I described above.
  • Now they are ready to play: Ask them to build value ekenebts by using LEGO. By doing so, you kick-start left and right brain side synergies.
  • Provide 45 minutes for free, experimental construction work. If you observe, that all teams are very busy still, give 15 minutes extra.
  • Nevertheless, now it is time to discuss the LEGO structure. Reflect upon it, find out what it all means
  • Allow the team to add, delete or modify the structure during the reflection phase.
  • Finally ask the team to note down the value elements which were identified.
  • And before ending working step 2 session, ask the team to paraphrase the overall value proposition in a one sentence statement

Results will be surprising and – most probably – blind spots will have been turned inside out. And the team might face unwelcome truth. Nevertheless, by now the development team is on the way to push business strategy to the next level.

In a next article, I will describe working steps 3 and 4 which hit at digesting and dissecting current value elements on the search for future value.

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Abstract in German language: Derzeit entsteht als Crowdwriting-Projekt mit bene ein neues Buch zum Thema “Future of Work”. Wie das funktioniert, lesen Sie hier.

2017, a team of bene and I were gathering in order to brainstorm on writing up a new book featuring the topic “Future of Work”. Here it happened that the idea evolved to ‘crowdwrite” this book. Is there a more obvious thing to do especially when producing a book on the Future of Work topic? Actually, not. So the project came immediately into being.

Three teams in Berlin, London and Vienna are involved in the crowdwriting process by now. These teams consist of 40 experts from various relevant fields, like artificial intelligence, gamification, industry 4.0, next generation enterprise and activity based working based office design. The book will feature four main chapters:

  • Digital Transformation
  • Leadership
  • Purpose of work
  • Open Collaboration

By means of interviews and workshops which take place in all three cities, contents has been generated. Interactive sessions allow to loop in additional experts, on 29 September 2017 – for example – Darwin’s Circle representatives from Australia (…and how are better experts in the field of remote working than Australian scientists and industry experts). This allows to reflect on the contents of the book, fine tune and enrich it. Now with the 29 September event the homepage is online: http://futureofwork.bene.com/

Here the progress and evolvement of the book can be observed and latest contributions of the expert team can be followed just in time. As well, an up-front e-paper is available and a fully fletched video providing insight into production process and highlights of expert contributions in the course interviews and workshops conducted.

In January 2018 the book will finally be available. Physical copies will can be obtained in a limited hardcopy edition and in ebook format. – Please comment here below if you have got questions on your mind or if you would like to share your feedback.