Tag Archive for: new work

15.06.2022

Ever heard of a conceptathon? Nope? No wonder. It’s actually a brand new format of New Work and New Learning that combines teamwork, collaboration and learning with immediately usable work results in the field of conception. And it does so with a lot of fun and a high level of energy. That’s what the Conceptathon is – a New Work Booster.

Conceptathon reminds of Hackathon

To be honest, the basic idea of the Conceptathon is not all that new. It has its roots in hackathons known since the turn of the millennium in hardware and software development.

These are IT developers meetings limited in time, first in the presence and later also in the virtual environment. They pursue the goal of collaboratively developing products or finding solutions to specific challenges during the meeting. From classic hackathons, the public is familiar with large quantities of pizza boxes and all kinds of technology that the developer needs to creatively design the tasks set. You could say they have made a reputation for themselves as mega pizza parties, where a lot of creative competition packed into agile sprints ensures a lot of fun and output.

Conceptathon has agile roots

And that’s where the Conceptathon comes in. This format also relies on collaborative design and a good team spirit to achieve high-quality work results in a short time. The Conceptathon also focuses on fun and creativity and the basic design is in sprints. So it is in no way inferior to the Hackathon and appreciates its qualities and experience. Especially since the Hackathon, as a prototype of agile working, practised the principles of New Work in its purest form early on.

Learning by doing in Conceptathon

And yet the Conceptathon is very different from its relative. That starts with the general conditions. It is true that the Conceptathon also offers suitable catering, but with a different focus: fresh fruit and snacks with food for the brain. Conceptathons are also planned for several days. The nights, however, are for regeneration and the breaks and evenings are for relaxing, often with the team. While at hackathons everything is preferably darkened, conceptathons deliberately open doors and windows and let the light in or move straight outside into nature.

The real difference, however, lies in the format itself. The Conceptathon – a New Work Booster – supplements collaborative learning and working with small teaching nuggets at the beginning and end of a sprint. I.e. during the meeting, the product development is supplemented with suitable learning impulses that then inspire the joint concept work. In this way, not only is something co-created, but at the same time a targeted individual competence development takes place.

As the name suggests, learning and working at Conceptathon revolves around the theme of “conception”. In many ways, a participant in a Conceptathon can increase his/her ability to create concepts while at the same time designing concepts.

This process is supported by these attitudes or methods:

  • The idea of the “Wisdom of the crowd”, i.e. many people working together have a more holistic perspective and more options for finding solutions than just one person
  • The New Work principles of “collaboration” and “co-creation“, the understanding and methods of how to effectively implement collaborative working
  • The New Learning understanding that learning is best done by doing and on demand
  • The approach that learning facilitators as guides, as we say at TCJG, give impulses that promote empowerment instead of imparting knowledge
  • The framework of Design Thinking, which can be used not only for excellent product development but also for the development of concepts

Conceptathon – a New Work Booster

A conceptathon can be held over 2 days, but it is preferable to run it over 3 days. A longer duration is not recommended, as experience has shown that the concentration decreases.
Design of a camp that works with a team of 5-7 people and a guide is recommended. The number of participants is scalable with a simultaneous increase in the number of learning guides. This camp can also be significantly larger at any time if the framework conditions allow.

These conditions should be met:

  • Sufficiently large room with individual working areas for each participant, but also collaboration areas and chill-out areas
  • Provision of technical equipment (e.g. computers) and creative material
  • Space or format that allows all participants to meet together from time to time during the course of the workshop
  • Availability of healthy catering
  • Offer socialising and team-building sessions

Conceptathons can be organised in fixed working teams or in Mix-Max groups. They are suitable for the “real world”, for example as presence camps and are recommended by us, but they also function just as well in the virtual world as remote sessions.

In order to test the ability to create concepts, suitable topics should be available. Either the participants themselves bring topics or the organiser provides appropriate topics and, if necessary, resources.

The design of a conceptathon can be varied. A pure open space is just as suitable as a theme-based format, such as the joint development of workshops or learning nuggets, or the creation of decision-making templates for new ideas of one department.
Either way, the Conceptathon is a New Work Booster. And a learning booster at that.

Many good reasons for a Conceptathon

The added value list of Conceptathons is as long as its possible applications.
Here are just a few selected reasons why Conceptathon – is a New Work Booster.

  • Participants build up individual competences in the field of systematics and structure as well as expertise in concept work and agile working
  • Collaborators experience community work and train collaboration with a view to output
  • Participants experience teaching and learning at eye level and understand the importance of sharing and caring in the context of New Work
  • Participants learn a variety of methods, e.g. design thinking or Scrum techniques as well as creative work and argumentation
  • The investment in learning has an immediate effect: directly usable concepts for the utilisation of the learning process

The Conceptathon is an open source Zeitgeist L&OD format by The Company Journey Guides.

You shape the future.
This is something we´re good at.

This article was written by Eva-Maria Danzer.

30.10.2021

Until the 1960s, upper and middle management were oriented toward the cybernetic control loop as a fundamental management model. Deviations from the norm were regarded as controllable or regulable by means of “correct” methods. But the changes became more profound, more comprehensive and increasingly rapid. The so-called “disturbance” thus became the normal case, and regulating or remedying it became increasingly costly and complex. Management no longer comes to “rest”, but is an object of constant adaptation to changing conditions.

Yesterday’s recipes for success are no guarantee of tomorrow’s success

What was gently called “change” 20 years ago has today undergone a rapid acceleration, so that some would like to speak of a “revolution”. Economic history shows new phenomena, such as globalization, new work, Internet, multimedia, etc.. These then led to new terms such as, Change Management, Leadershift, Chaos Theory or Business Transformation.

Yesterday’s recipes for success are no longer a guarantee for tomorrow’s success. Many new tools and models are offered: Lean Management, Learning Organization, Knowledge Management, Design Thinking, Agile way of working, and many more.

Suddenly, employees, executives in upper and middle management had to deal intensively and directly with the topics of change, permanent learning, disruption, new formats and chaos management. This inevitably led to a loss of familiarity, status and control, and caused uncertainty. From this state of affairs, a new “recipe”, change management, was established. Change was not only to be seen as necessary and inevitable, but was also to be actively shaped.

Employees not only had to be made less afraid of the new, but they also had to be won over as essential building blocks in the change process and allies for the new.

Change Management – all dimensions of change

As a kind of “container term,” change management is not as clearly definable and adaptable as project or quality management. Management of any kind aims at change. In this respect, all the great concepts of recent economic history were and still are part of change management – Taylorism as well as Lean Management or Knowledge Management. Even more: every merger, reorganization, and even well-managed employee appraisals, every suggestion for improvement or management review meeting is about change. In this respect, the question arises: What is not change management?

In Anglo-Saxon literature, change management is primarily understood as the human dimension of a change. In German-speaking countries, on the other hand, technical aspects are also taken into account. This leads us to the conclusion that change management is about technical, strategic, organizational, managerial and human-social changes, which are realized with a multiple combination of hard and soft factors.

Consequently, the essential task of a change manager is to manage people, information, resources and processes in a targeted manner in order to bring about change and adaptation. The main focus is on human resources management, because changes – as proven by our own projects – are met with resistance, cause fears, resilience and learning blockades.

Another finding from many of our own projects is that change is not possible without the participation of employees.

Change Management

Source: Study Institute for Learning Organization and Innovation, Munich in cooperation with the Institute of Business Administration of the University of St.Gallen

All approaches to change management pursue a common concern: they should create “infrastructures” for change. It is not the changes alone that are important, but their implementation and the provision of a climate and environment conducive to realization. Above all, proactive change management strives to create a change-friendly climate in which new ideas and concepts can emerge.

It’s not just about the new

Today’s change management also aims at continuous sustainable corporate development. In addition to growth or consolidation, revitalization, reorganization, accountability or value enhancement are among the common objectives for the development of organizations. Today’s goal is to create structures in management and a mindset that shape change itself and are no longer fixated on constant constancy. Consequently, in the change process a company should not only acquire the ability to change its own rules according to the learning process, but at the same time to develop rules for the rule changes and thus to become reflexive.

Change Management – step-by-step

Models and concepts for a successful approach to change management can be considered from two main points of view – to change the content and direction, companies should work with common models in terms of content and concept, with Business Reengineering, Lean Management, Total Quality Management or Balanced Scorecard dominating the opportunity scene here so far. When it comes to the question of “how”, there are two answers. Depending on the point of view or the basic model, a more management-technical approach is interested in the typical course of a change process. For the phases of diagnosis, goal formation, planning, decision, realization and for sustainable support control. Human resources managers, for example, tend to focus more on the actors involved in the change and ask about the necessary motivational resources.

Usually, such a process goes through several phases until the psychological changes are stably adopted into the behavioral or attitudinal repertoire.

The Company Journey Guides proceed with minor deviations from the generally accepted seven-phase model:

Shock – Rejection – Insight – Acceptance – Trial – Realization – Integration. Change Management step-by-step.

Extensive changes, such as transformations, cover a period of at least 24 months. In each of the phases mentioned, a different set-up and procedure is useful.

From our point of view, supporting consulting/coaching and facilitation play an essential role for a successful change. This creates a suitable methodological, spatial and temporal structure and ensures sustainability. A facilitator is therefore first and foremost a process designer and structure provider, completely neutral in terms of content and impartial. He/she has a high level of competence in relation to change, groups and conflicts and has a well-stocked toolbox of methods for conversations and creative processes in meetings, workshops and conferences. Thus, he/she is able to pick up people from where they currently stand.

 

Interested?

Please contact us.

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26.09.2021

About two years ago, Eva-Maria Danzer and Barbara Wietasch exchanged their experiences on leadership and transformation. This led to the development of the Shared LeaderShift model. The approach to leverage the transformation of organizations through shared leadership. Just as the first practical tests were about to start, the pandemic entered the scene. So Shared LeaderShift had to rest for a while to prove itself in practice. But now we are starting with it: Shared LeaderShift in experiment.

Shared LeaderShift Deep Dive

First, let’s take a look at the model. What exactly distinguishes Shared LeaderShift? The idea behind this approach is to divide leadership among several shoulders and then provide it in cooperation. Unlike already familiar models such as job sharing, the idea is not that several, usually two, people share one leadership role. Rather, there are several leadership roles, each of which is performed by different people.

Shared LeaderShift is based on four different roles: the actual leadership is shared by three roles – the People & Culture Lead, the Team & Performance Lead and the Customer & Value Lead. They work together in the day-to-day business and deliver leadership performance together and at eye level.
These three roles are supplemented by the Purpose & Strategy Lead, which, following the model, is not performed by one person but by a team across the organization.
Here you can find a video showing how these roles work together in the company.

Shared leadership is on the rise

The model developed by Barbara and Eva has in theory already proven its future potential. For some time now, they have been popping up everywhere on shared leadership models. Currently still increasingly at home in job sharing. However, now also increasingly – coming from the agile world and from Scrum – in approaches with actually shared leadership roles. Especially in the IT environment, the People & Culture Lead has already established itself as an independent role. Examples can be found in this podcast, in which  People & Culture Lead reports on her role, and in the current video from bonprix, part of the Otto Group.

What makes Shared LeaderShift unique

However, Shared LeaderShift (SLS) goes well beyond the approaches mentioned here. Two areas in particular should be highlighted:
The role of the Customer & Value Lead, which gives the customer a permanent place in the daily business of leadership and thus expands leadership to include the external perspective. I.e., every mini-leadership team is already cross-functional as well
And:
The interface of collaboratively and equally provided shared leadership to the corporate culture (and here then also the Purpose & Strategy Lead).
The SLS model is based on collaboration and cooperation as core values. Every decision in the leadership team is discussed and found together. This not only creates harmony in external perception, it also provides a role model for self-organization and decision-making.

Shared LeaderShift in experiment

Sounds innovative and inspiring. It seems conclusive in principle. However, it also raises questions such as:
– Doesn’t this approach require a lot more resources, i.e. don’t we have then three FTEs in management instead of one?
– Doesn’t this create chaos? Whom are the employees supposed to address then?
– Isn’t it incredibly time-consuming to make all decisions together in the management team?
– What conditions must be met for this to work at all? Are managers capable of this kind of leadership?

We think these are justified questions that can only be answered by testing them in practice.

And that is why we have now set out with Shared LeaderShift as an experiment at The Company Journey Guides.
Over a period of 6-9 months, we will practice SLS in our team.
Since August, we have taken the three roles in operational leadership and are currently adjusting to it.
As the consulting approach of Shared LeaderShift suggests, the work in the leadership team is done under guidance or supervision.
We will share our experiences from time to time in further TCJG Cases and finally evaluate them.
The initiators of SLS, Eva-Maria Danzer and Barbara Wietasch, will make their findings available in a further white paper on Shared LeaderShift.

 

More on the topic also in this TCJG blog: From Leadership to Leader Shift

Rethink leadership? Nowadays one often hears that leadership needs to be rethought. Why should we do that? Hasn’t been enough already thought about leadership, experimented enough, modelled enough? In the meantime, there is a multi-faceted multitude of new approaches to leadership, from Servant to Human, from Connected to Mindful Leadership. The idea of collegial leadership […]