Gunther Dueck on training and corporate culture in Germany: “Creativity is considered an illness!”


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In Germany, there is a lack of entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks - and the right training for it. At least this is the opinion of the former IBM manager Gunther Dueck - and not only he.

Gunther Dueck on training and corporate culture in Germany: "Creativity is seen as a disease!"

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Surprising insights into the German education system

Some time ago the study commission of the German Bundestag “Internet and digital society” met on the subject of “Change processes in the digital business and working world”. Among other things, it was about the startup funding and corporate culture in Germany as well as the education system. There were some surprising insights into the digital transformation and the German education system - from Gunther Dueck, among others.

The video for the session was unfortunately only to find in full, five-hour length. At 1: 30, Gunther Dueck - mathematician, ex-IBM manager, publicist and speaker, makes his interesting comments on the German education system, which in his opinion already suffocates entrepreneurial thinking:

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Creativity as a disease?

"Creativity is considered a disease in school," he said. In addition, the imparting of social skills is “not part of the education system”. Listening is important. The issuing of orders is withdrawn at school, he criticized. That is wrong, because as an entrepreneur you sometimes have to make “clear announcements”.

Dueck's explanation of MdB Tabea Rößner's question was a little less helpful as to how to confront the modern precariat. Rößner, media spokeswoman for the Greens, thus alluded to the situation of many creatives.

Dueck's answer is old-fashioned and personally a little too superficial: anyone who brings the appropriate soft skills and adaptability to the modern, digital society will do it. The rest falls down. This is a little too simple for me, especially when it comes to political decisions.

How does digitalization change our working world?

Also interesting I found the remarks of Professor Ruth Stock-Homburg from the Technical University of Darmstadt (Department of Marketing and HR Management), who spoke directly before Dueck. She warned against the complete mixture of work and family. This was bad for the health but also for the performance.

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And, unlike Dueck, she had very practical suggestions. You can counteract this with a high level of media literacy. So you can work at home "only in certain places, so as not to delight the entire social environment". In their opinion, such media skills should be taught in technology classes. However, it should be observed that teaching offers, which would start in primary schools, “are off the table as soon as the red pencil is applied”.

Full-digitization is inhuman

What I found particularly exciting was their statements about the Digital Society: Just as Taylorism, the complete division of labor, recognized as economically efficient, but abolished for reasons of inhumanity and the resulting lack of affluence, is also a complete digitization of the Society does not prevail, even if that sounds practical at first. It will always be Company that are more digitized than others.

This is an aspect that is often overlooked in many parts of the digital society!

Financing possibilities for startups

What else? Not so much news. It is an old hat for me that there are some catching up to do in financing start-up companies in Germany - all that is left to do is to interview Carsten Foertsch Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® read. But the very different solutions to this dilemma are quite interesting:

Heiko Hebig spoke of the “sustainable promotion of venture capital financing models” SPIEGELnet GmbH. Start-up entrepreneurs are often not helped with the bank loans most commonly used in Germany, since their business models are not suitable for such loans, emphasized Tom Kirschbaum, co-founder of Penelope Ventures GmbH. Venture capital companies may not "demonize" venture capital.

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Tax relief for venture capital donors

In France, positive experiences were made with tax relief for wealthy people who invest in venture capital models, said Frederic Hanika of Software AG. This would have created more venture capital funds, making the financing of start-up companies easier.

Hanika went on to say that it was more difficult to found a “large company” than starting a start-up company. This would require a high marketing effort, he emphasized. This is often more expensive than the actual development.

Another problem for young company founders, says Heiko Hebig, is the high bureaucracy. Here, from his point of view, it would be sensible if, at the very beginning, facilitations were possible at the very beginning.

See more opportunities than risks

Tom Kirschbaum demanded that the assessment of opportunities and risks must change. "In Germany it is not the vision that is seen but the concerns," he said. Facebook for example, it is mostly mentioned in the media in connection with possible violations of data protection.

"I would like us to talk more about the opportunities," said the company's founder. One of these opportunities lies in the new work culture, which makes the employee “part of the project”, he said. The new working time models, which would have no fixed start or end times and no fixed workplaces, offer advantages and are “exciting for family planning,” said Heiko Hebig.

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Independence or isolation?

Holger Eggerichs, who is jointly responsible for “Cloudsters” - a non-profit project for the “future of work” of the Lübeck association Lubeca - stands in the way of the advantage of independence through the new work culture, social isolation, a lack of work rhythm, a lack of infrastructure and a lack of professionalism.

The project created a non-profit, urban “co-working concept” that gives all citizens access to a virtual work platform and allows them to communicate and cooperate across companies.


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  1. How a high school prepares its students for the world of work of tomorrow: in the major in Economics & Responsibility | PROFESSIONAL PICTURES

    [...] Dueck. A few months ago, the philosopher, speaker and former IBM manager demanded in the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag "Internet and digital society" that economic and entrepreneurial thinking and acting should be included in the training [...]

  2. Ray

    Sorry, after I've let off my basic anger, I'd like to add something about creativity in school. The school system actually doesn't work at all in terms of the economy, even if in the high schools - I got the impression from the stories of a niece - the drum is already drumming and the kids are expected to work more or less 40 hours a day. Total nonsense, the stuff is largely forgotten, and the students don't feel like just replicating all the time. Logical. The recipes for a modern pedagogy that enables students to learn collaboratively, project-oriented, have been around for a long time, supporting the PISA studies. The old Professoren ”at the universities also said yes. And then continued as before. They can do us. A German teacher for elementary schools is still largely completing the same degree as a future literary critic. Nobody benefits from the results, neither the student nor the science, just as little as the economy. In my view.

  3. Simone Janson

    Hello Ray,
    It is not just the propaganda of the digital industry - but an interesting approach to see the lack of creative education in schools as a consequence of the economic propaganda. As for the prognosis for the digital hype: I agree.

    • Ray

      I spent a good part of my socialization - as the saying goes - in the 80s. Hardly anyone talked about a career back then. You just asked yourself what are my strengths, what would I like to do, and then you went further in that direction. During your studies you liked to take a little more time, after all, the first goal of education was your own personal development. The money for this was earned with the many student jobs available. The result: Germany was one of the strongest economies in the world and, compared to today, had little debt. In retrospect, it seems to me that this is not a bad model.

      • Simone Janson

        Exciting comparison - I've never thought about that. Was it just that with the economic power? Yes, apparently these career publications are a kid of the 90s. But I have the impression that this is slowly becoming obsolete because people have had enough of the topic and realize that they are not getting anywhere.
        As I just noticed here in the blog, the topic is increasingly critical.
        Will probably still need a little while until the discontinued model has expired and the publishers / media notice. So far, career publications have always sold very well!

  4. Ray

    In my opinion, creativity in work is wiped out by the fact that applicants for jobs that do not have a streamlined résumé generally have no chance. The company prefers an employee who has already been prepared for the job in the daycare and then has precisely focused on this job through school, university and internship, even on vacation. The result is a career and money-hungry economic robot that will certainly not have any particularly interesting ideas with which to help his company. In general, an inner looseness is necessary for ideas to arise in people, which you lose at the latest when you read through the many articles everywhere that want to tell you how to get a job. This - it has to be said - propaganda of the digital industry creates ostensibly a society of winners and losers that is depressive on both sides. I can only say: always stay relaxed. Incidentally, the current hectic success times of the digital economy will soon be over and then a lot will be put into perspective.

  5. Elisabeth Goehring

    The cocktail in this article is interesting. And I agree with the author when it comes to the creative industries: letting the “non-conforming” rest fall down is thin. It shows that it was not understood what creativity is all about. Usually there is also a wild jumble of different ideas about what an artist or a creative person actually is.

    • Simone Janson

      Thank you! I was thinking primarily of very practical problems - such as the fact that artists' social insurance is still as it was in 1970.

  6. Mia Merkur

    "Creativity is seen as a disease!" Gunther Dueck on training and corporate culture in Germany:

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  9. Holger Froese

    Gunther Dueck on training and corporate culture in Germany: “Creativity is seen as a disease #Business

  10. Liane Wolffgang

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  11. Simone Janson

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