Treasure 107 – Complexity, Career, Intrapreneurship

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What are the advantages of complexity? How do you “make” a career? What are the advantages and disadvantages of intrapreneurship? Treasure 107 has taken more than a week. There are over 30 minutes of pure reading material. By the way, if you are more into videos stay tuned for treasure 108.

Nugget #1 – complexity

The article by Wolf Lotter from brandeins is more than 10 years old and still more relevant than ever before. Even today, many do not understand what complexity is or confuse complicated with complex. The Latin word origin serves as reminder:

The word “complicated” comes from the Latin complicare, which means: entangled, intertwined, opaque. […] The complicated is a tangle in which no context is discernible. “Complexity”, on the other hand, comes from complexus. It stands for the terms “encompass” and “braid”. So complexity is the whole, the context.

The Cynefin-Framework also helps with the classification. Complicated things, e.g. a car, may not be easy to understand. With a thorough analysis or expert knowledge, the cause-effect relationships become clear (e.g. how does the engine and exhaust system work) and can be predicted. In complexity, effects cannot be predicted. A complex system, for example, is the market for mobility. And this is precisely why I would like to highlight the following section of the text:

The modern production economy is changing from an economy of scale to an economy of diversity. There, one learns what has always been the decisive factor in services and knowledge work: as many variants as possible do the business. Complexity becomes quality.

The topic of mobility up to now has been about economy of scale. For many, mobility was synonymous with automobiles. The corresponding industry continuously optimized the combustion engine and production. I recently visited Hamburg, where the economy of diversity can already be observed in the field of mobility. Beside the classical individual traffic with car and Taxis, carsharing of various providers and ridesharing with Moia, various providers of eScooters, various offerers of bikes and last but not least public transport with different tariff models can be found. But the economy of diversity can also be observed in the automotive sector. On the one hand the number of models, but also the number of manufacturers. A look at China and Silicon Valley reveals dozens of new players. How do you play your part in the economy of diversity? Wolf Lotter says: “Allow variants” and I fully agree. I add, welcome surprises. I recently wrote down my thoughts on this in misfits. Another article will be published at the beginning of October. What is your opinion on the economy of diversity? (20 min, text, German)


Nugget #2 – Career without a ladder

The topic of careers also calls for diversity. On the one hand, standardized management and specialist careers often no longer fit the needs of today’s generations. On the other hand, new roles are constantly emerging. One example is the Citizen Data Scientist, about whom I wrote in treasure 104. Professional and expert careers cannot keep pace with rapidly changing requirements. Julia and Sven, who are Doppel[t]spitze, write about how to improve the topic of careers in companies. Career is not only the task of personnel development. Each individual can shape his or her own career. Unfortunately, most people lack tools. I didn’t learn how to shape my career at school or university. As a tool “Business Model You” helped me to think about my career as a company. This also makes me less dependent on given roles. Organizing a Brownbag lunch on the subject of decisions is not part of my formal role. With my knowledge and because I like to give talks, I can generate additional value for “customers” in the company. My “revenue” is the expansion of my network and my knowledge. For example, at Brownbag in Detroit, I learned about cultural differences in decision-making. (6 min, text, German)

Nugget #3 – Intrapreneurship

Also Hanna Drabon is an entrepreneur. She founded a startup within an enterprise and may call herself Intrapreneur. At first sight an internal startup looks like the perfect solution. One has access to the many resources of the enterprise. In case of failure there is an airbag and you can return to the classic organization. But her contribution also shows the downsides. Your own company can become an obstacle. The available processes do not fit and are doubted by the intrapreneurs. This causes tons of conflict. When making important decisions, you often don’t have the same freedom as an external startup. After all, it’s also about ownership. Usually you are still a normal employee. This is a decisive disadvantage compared to an external startup. In the case of Hanna Drabon, the positive aspects predominate. I particularly like the following conclusion:

But the best thing is: The complaining is gone. I am responsible for every one of my actions and cannot blame anyone for it. Because in intrapreneurship, there is only one person who is responsible for whether the job fulfills me or not – and that’s me.

Do you know any other intrapreneurship stories? Are there organizations that have solved the issue of ownership at internal startups differently? I am looking forward to feedback. (8 min, text, German)