When Dynamic Complexity Drives a Dream

A Team Action Lea(r)ning — A Journey into the Future


Originally sparked by Google Project 10¹⁰⁰ & Monkey Business in 2008.
2015 it emerged into a broader vision and a dream: System Dynamics in Dresden after several prototype iterations and pivots such as #GreenTechAccelerator (2014), #StartupAccelerator (2012), InnoBay (2011; event page has been deleted due to updated Rocket Hub page) and an early concept of a coworking space (revitalizing a 10-year long unused former ballroom) in the City of Dresden called CoOrpheum (short video clip, 2010) and a concept that had captured from my dear friend Bobbie Carlton during a visit to Boston in 2009 called OpenCoffeeClubDresden, @occDD in short (2009; several dozen meetings at various locations across the city)

[Text below is the original concept sketch handed in to the Google Project 10¹⁰⁰ announcement on September 24, 2008]

What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)

Leading the region around Dresden and Saxony back to former economic strength: the people are the most precious asset in an economy.

Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Giving Saxony back the former power of creativity and innovation (Odol, Melitta, Audi, BMW, all have started from that precious soil) the system has to change — most preferably at grass-root level and this means in education. The current business world in the region has to be changed from inside. How to do that? We have to connect actively education to the local businesses, organizations, and communities in Saxony despite the (present) lower income level as in other areas of Germany.

Starting a process consulting entrepreneurship and through personal networks at the local universities of Dresden and companies establish the groundwork for setting up an education institute. This will involve education institutions and the work world through the steady establishment of team entrepreneurship companies (very much like Team Academy in Finland. The members of the team companies will undertake real world projects in areas (establish new ways of working together to create a higher and sustainable life level in the local communities) where at present no consultants are present (due to money constraints of clients).

Through active cooperation with universities, private and public businesses this will generate growth, profit (the team companies will be paid by hourly consulting and %-part of the future expected additional profits) and value for the region, driven with a vision towards a sustainable society and economy (also in the business context, as closing and reopening of companies is not sustainable in the sense of using resources, people, machinery, financials, etc.).

As Saxony is not the only region in the world with creative and innovative people the concept will be spread through various already established social network communities (SoL Network, Lean Thinking Network, System Dynamics Network, Presencing Community) crossing present boundaries.

The ultimate vision is to grow people inside their area of living towards their strengths so they can build up an economy that is sustainable and much more resistant to the crisis that we face right now.

What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)

The recent and seen problem in Saxony is that jobs have been cut in the past (GDR cooperations closed and very little manpower has been needed to run newly established ones funded in great parts of the state). After the time bound for subsidies has run out and economic turmoil is all around companies close their plants in Eastern Germany moving back “home” to West. This leads to the further drain of highly educated people (either in the working world or the universities, as jobs are much easier to be found in Western Germany).

Intervening into the system in order to change the dynamics that -always- ends in a vicious cycle (money infusions into the region will be necessary to keep up normal life — even with closing companies) will be the mission.

If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)

Benefit will the students and people actively working in the team company(ies) as they will learn team entrepreneurship, which will enable them to actively take business opportunities (which actually lie all around — we just have to grab them) in the future not being dependant on large employers. The local business will grow into stable business networks that weave a solid ground for future growth of the region making people proud of what they have achieved on their own. Establishing to extend networks outside the region and connect with other regions in the world will generate wealth in knowledge, problem-solving capabilities and the ability to generate a future one really wants to become true in exchanging stories. In the end striving businesses will pull future prosperity in the region.

What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)

Starting as a single entrepreneur by the end of 2008 getting first projects going, that will give real sustainable benefit to the partners and clients involved. In the meanwhile grounding the already in place networks to act as a fertile ground for founding the “Saxony Team Entrepreneurship”. Scanning the area of Dresden for an appropriate building that would suit the needs of a team learning organization that will be evolving through the future team entrepreneur company(ies).

Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

The optimal outcome will be that “Team Academy“-projects like the one described will spread slowly around the world and will be the seeds for future sustainable economic wealth and growth especially in regions that are in economic struggle — there are many around the world.

In times where oil and logistics will become more expensive as it is at present stated through prices the idea of web-based knowledge communities will become more important especially as we face more complex issues in our communities and societies as ever before.

The described education-work model will enable communities (of every size and remoteness) to grow on their people’s personal strengths — and what you don’t know somebody around the globe knows already, you just have to find and connect with him/her.

Timeline since 10/2008 (newest on top)

[STEP TWENTYNINE] Registered for u.lab 2x ego2eco MOOC (a prototype MOOC for the next full-scale #ulab MOOC starting in September later this year)

[STEP TWENTYEIGHT] Applying for Global Studies Program (formerly Graduate Studies Program) #GSP17 at Singularity University (actually the 5th run, one successful in 2011, when I could not take the offered place due to a $25k price-tag at one week’s notice); here the video (“putting myself on the line”) as part of the application process. Just before Easter I got notice that I am not part of the 80-person cohort for this summer’s GSP

[STEP TWENTYSEVEN][2016–11–13] Application handed in as TED Global 2017 Fellow

[STEP TWENTYSIX] [2016–11–12–2016–11–13] Supporting the first #ShapersUnited event organized by Global Shapers Dresden Hub, and active as a mentor and advisor for the local team

[STEP TWENTYFIVE] [2016–08–15] Participating in “U.Lab — Awareness Based Systems Change with u.lab — How to Sense and Actualize the Future” (introductory course, 1 week, 90 min) & “U.Lab — Leading from the Emerging Future” (8 weeks, full program)

Anybody based in Dresden or Saxoy please feel free to join our public Twitter account @DresdenULabHub or our private Facebook group DresdenULabHub, and quite recently we have also a public Facebook group Theorie U/ Theory U in Dresden. Or check the global map of u.lab Hubs around the world provided by the Presencing Institute.

For more general background check on Presencing Institute, Otto Scharmer’s blog, Otto’s profile at Huffington Post, oder für deutsche Leser dieser Artikel “Entdecke die Möglichkeiten” in brandeins wissen (2007), der das Konzept von u.lab bzw. Theorie U anschaulich und knapp verdeutlicht.

The prototype we are currently working on (since the 2nd u.lab last September) will be CitizenScienceLab — A System Dynamics Think Tank for Dresden

[STEP TWENTYFOUR] the story around the evolving story from “Team Lea(r)ning Experience” to CitizenScienceLab got featured on the System Dynamics Society website with the title “System Dynamics in Dresden” — as part of the approaching 60th anniversary of the founding of the field system dynamics by Jay W. Forrester in 1957.

[STEP TWENTYTHREE] [2016–06–06] taking part with HTxA — HighTech x Agency in the Idea Showcase (p.33) at the futureSAX Innovation Conference 2016 (an initiative of the Saxon State Minstry for Economy, Work and Mobility, SMWA)

[STEP TWENTYTWO] 3rd participation in one of the MIT ClimateCoLab competitions with CitizenScienceLab (which had become the prototype out of the 2nd u.lab MOOC in late 2015)

[STEP TWENTYONE] After 2014 now the 2nd time taking part in the MOOC #ScalingUp by Stanford professors Huggy Rao and Bob Sutton where I was able to form an awesome international team around the scaling of CitizenScienceLab to produce the final team project CSL Team Project (please excuse the sometimes rough sound due to technology shortcomings)

[STEP TWENTY-2] Fireside chat with Jay W. Forrester during the International System Dynamics Conference on the future of system dynamics — to get the public to understand the dynamics of complex systems which is the intention of CitizenScienceLab

[STEP TWENTY-1] Being invited by MIT Technology Review to extend my comment on the article “The Many Careers of Jay Forrester” from June 2015 into a more elaborate alumni letter to the editor with the title “System Dynamics in Dresden” — this was certainly one of these ‘magic moments’ in life I am so grateful for. THANK YOU!!!

[STEP TWENTY] Twice attended the MOOC #ULab in February (2015) and September (2015), from which the prototype CitizenScienceLab has evolved for the time being, pulling together civil society, research community through system dynamics and presencing — having worked with a wonderful and dedicated international team that just met online (yet) was inspiring and encouraging at the same time bringing forward to original 2008 idea forward. THANK YOU ALL!!!

[STEP NINETEEN] Being one of the official vanguards for the XPRIZE Global Learning Prize #LearningPrize, helping to grow awareness about the competition in Germany, and in personal global networks, as well as supporting the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $500k.

[STEP NINETEEN] Getting invited to become Ambassador of the Networked Society Project for Germany — I can’t say how honored, and humbled I am!

[STEP EIGHTEEN] Official social media partner of Dresdner Lichtjahr 2015 #LichtjahrDD in order to grow the awareness about the technology advancements, and activities in the field of light-based technologies especially from Dresden as an active part of the International Year of Light 2015, #IYL2015

[STEP SEVENTEEN] A Mission to Bring World Changing Ideas from Singularity University to the World made possible together with Angela Incampo on invitation by Jazeel Badur Ferry — founder of the social media aggregator Eventifier (which became also official supporter of the Dresdner Lichtjahr 2015)

[STEP SIXTEEN] Entering MIT Climate CoLab Global Competition with a proposal on a Green Tech Accelerator in Dresden, From Railway Hub to Tech Hub— your ideas are welcomed here

[STEP FIFTEEN] Crowdfunding of [STEP FOURTEEN] has been successfully achieved, Tweets from Singularity University GSP14 now captured (with blogs, pictures) at http://bit.ly/SingularityUniversityGSP14 - my big thanks to all supporters who have made this possible!

[STEP FOURTEEN] #GSP14Eventifier — an ad-hoc ‘nano-scale’ crowdfunding campaign to capture the Twitter conversations from Singularity University (June 14 — August 24, 2014). If you are INTERESTED feel free to check, and support the project. We have been kindly supported by Eventifier who allowed us to combine the crowdfunding with their social media content aggregator

[STEP THIRTEEN] #AppliedResearchAccelerator— after Prof. Gianaurelio Cuniberti’s panel discussion at #TechForum14 organized by The European House Ambrosetti together with Singularity University’s VP of Innovation, Vivek Wadhwa, and his short interview “Linking fundamental and applied research

[STEP TWELVE] #FoundersAccelerating as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 & Gründerwoche 2013 with Boston-based entrepreneur & author Halley Suitt Tucker & Athens-based, entrepreneur and founder of soundmap.co Stathis Kassios (see his crowdfunding campaign to make the trip to Dresden, one of the most underrated entrepreneurial hotspots (currently) in Germany, possible)

[STEP ELEVEN] Supporting Prof. Manfred Buchroithner and the Institute for Cartography of the Technical University Dresden, bringing the 26th International Cartographic Conference (Angela Incampo & myself created the official hashtag #iccDD2013, also on the conference website) into the global community via digital real-time communication. See here the tweets that came in only during the conference between August 25–30, 2013 on Eventifier. On the sideline a crowdfunded scholarship could be put to action as part of a Stanford Design Thinking MOOC benefitting @mapmakerin to come to the conference. She has been one of the most active participants on Twitter during the conference.

[STEP TEN] …. creating a digital communication agency (an ongoing project), HTxA [HighTech x Agency], to enable companies, institutions, and conference organizers to spread the word about their work, services, and research facilitating digital information technology. The origin of it goes back to 2011 while sitting in an interview with head of Semperoper, Dr. Ulrike Hessler (she died July 30, 2012), http://www.ideaswatch.com/startup-idea/htxa--hightech-x-agency

[STEP NINE] Running workshops on Lean Startup and a terrific Opernnachmittagkaffee with Soprano Jessica Muirhead within the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 (Gründerwoche 2012. Jessica Muirhead now is part of the ensemble at Aalto Musiktheather Essen — Congratulations Jess!!

[STEP EIGHT] [2012–10–28] Working to bring the Lean Startup Machine to Dresden (500 people needed leaving their email address by 1st of December, HALF OF IT we already have) — we did not quite make it. Well worth a try.

[STEP SEVEN] Applying for the SU Graduate Studies Program 2012 at Singularity University (a gained place to GSP11 couldn’t be taken in 2011 due to high tuition of $25k to bring up within less than a week, instead I became blogger-in-residence for AMPlifyfestival 2011 in Sydney Australia — many thanks to Annalie Killian who invited me); more about it on BlueFuture2012 and on TED.

[STEP SIX] Connecting [STEP TWO] with local stakeholders, and putting it to operation in a LeanStartup approach (small steps a time, using resources at hand, getting quick feedback on what works, and what doesn’t, improving the MVP (minimal viable product) or MVA (minimal viable action).

[STEP FIVE] Further action research prototypes (done, and in the making): #InnoBay (2011), Dresden Innovation Nights (in cooperation with Bobbie Carlton, MassInno) (2010), HTxA at ideaswatch (since 2011), blogging about Semperoper performances (connecting with my personal past work, and group dynamics experience; since 2010), keynote speaker at forthcoming Symposium Change To Kaizen (2012), tech blogger at various technology conferences in Dresden, Brussels, Sydney, and Melbourne

[STEP FOUR] DresdenOpenCoffeeClub, (a formerly weekly, now monthly meetup on creating the future of Dresden, also on Twitter #occDD)

[STEP THREE] Prototyping of CoOrpheum, Dresden’s first official coworking space (revitalization of a for 10 years practically unused ballroom in Dresden’s creative hot spot Dresden-Neustadt, and building ground to its use by move:elevator with 5-year contract) together with Marco Dziallas who provided the business plan

[STEP TWO] LockSchuppen — FutureLab2056 — SingularAcademy — CollabSpace (especially SingularAcademy also mentioned in BRANDEINS 12/2011 — “Der Mann ohne Geheimnisse” (“The Man without Secrets”, page 108–112)

[STEP ONE] Team Lea(r)ning Experience Dresden (as sent in to Google-Projects in October 2008 and for FutureSAX Business Plan Competition in January 2009) all sparked by two visits to my friends at Team Academy 2008/2009 …. already evolved into the project and three revisits from my Finnish friends to Dresden in September 2008, November 2010, and June 2012 (in time with the 20th anniversary of my alma mater, HTW Dresden)

[IGNITION] Surprise visit to Team Academy in August 2008 after an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Amsterdam, straight from the Airport Amsterdam-Schiphol to Helsinki. The greatest experience was the start of the new semester and learning that the students of Team Academy are teamed into so-called team companies at the first day, and on the second day they have registered their company. Unbelievable, yet true — I witnessed the process myself while there.