Events that matter

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No discipline we know of is as stagnant as Management. Although there is a rich body of knowledge of how to do knowledge work in a complex and rapidly changing world, the prevailing mindset of management is stuck in the tools of the 19th century. Command and control is still dominant in the work environments we encounter. Not only is there a huge body of knowledge on how to cope with complexity and change, there is also a large number of people who experiment is that way. But again: Surprisingly, the reality in most companies looks quite different. Companies are run through metrics rather than purpose, people are measured by KPIs rather than value created. And while metrics have once been derived from purpose and value, this connection has soon been lost. The results are companies, drowning in ‘doing stuff’ rather than creating customer value. Companies are optimizing capacity utilization rather than customer satisfaction. Silos are created that guarantee local optimization of their singled out tasks rather than a systemic improvement of the companies’ offerings. Most companies can not create true value, because the coordination of locally optimized and self serving departments gets in the way of doing the right thing.

If you want to deep dive into the topic, have a look at David P Joyce’ great, free and insanely valuable and brilliantly researched eBook on

As said before, the knowledge on how to do things right and how to the right things is here for a long time.  And the people are around since a long time. When I got stuck in my first job, around 2 decades ago, thinking that I am doing things somehow right but that I actually had no clue, I went to a bookstore, simply bought a book on management. (My selection criterion was merely judging the cover.) It happened to be a book by Peter Drucker. And, boy, was I amazed. He just had it all figured out. Being honest, the last time I read Drucker is about 15 years ago, but his influence on me is still infinite. I guess I was just lucky fishing one of his books first. In general, I cannot see that anything he found out would not still be valid – but his knowledge is widely unused. Anyway, this leads me to the first relevant event:

The Drucker Forum 2013 in Vienna on 14/15 November 2013

Drucker Forum Vienna 2013

Looking at the list of speakers and content to be expected, I simply blush. Also the content is more diverse than the conference title implies. Unfortunately I just discovered the event some days ago and can not make it. I hope you are in a better position.

An emerging method, which rose in the context of software development mainly, being influenced by the great knowledge of Drucker, Ohno, Deming and others alike is Kanban. And each year there is a great list of events and summits around the globe focusing on Kanban. A good part of these events happen to be around Europe in autumn as some kind of Kanban tour. Kanban sees itself as a method for Change by continuous improvement. The event I want to point out is

Lean Kanban Central Europe 2013 in Hamburg on 4/5 November 2013

LKCE 2013

The event is organized by and especially coordinated with lots of love and authentic passion from my good friend Arne Roock. The great and diverse conference program on Monday and Tuesday is followed by Workshops by the best in the field on the following days.

If you happen to be close to Berlin, you could get into the mood by attending the Red Bead Experiment presented by Arne and me for the Limited Wip Society in Berlin at We still have some free seats available.

On a more concrete level, Lean UX is another part of the change towards adopting ‘a better way’. Lean UX – a (useful) fucking lie, as Will Evans states – tries to connect the deeply creative and non-linear side of coming up with and designing new businesses and experiences with the slightly more linear approach of producing the result e.g. by developing software. In most companies this is a predetermined breaking point, where cultures, mindsets, ways of work and even logics crash into each other leaving behind a crater of unhappiness. The next event on this list

Lean UX NYC 2014 from 11 to 13 April 2014

Lean UX NYC 2014

is concerned exactly with this new approach and brings up the best speakers on the topic and beyond. Will Evans carefully selects the program and the event is organized with love and perfection by TLCLabs.

With envy I watched the tweet stream from last years Tampere goes Agile. The program was among the most diverse and challenging I have seen on a single conference. This makes me want to visit this years’ conference for sure:

Tampere goes Agile ‘Change to Learn – Learn to Change’ on 5 December 2014

Tampere goes Agile 2013

The call for papers is still open and free seats are still available.

So this is our roundup and outlook for the next months on great and relevant events I discovered. Please keep us posted in the comments on other great events you discovered. 

Thanks for the title photo to pop culture geek on flickr, under a CC Lizenz

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