brand eins in July

Browsing through the daily headings in newspapers and magazines, I sometimes get the unpleasant feeling that all this effort of mine is rather pointless.

Reading “braind eins”, however, is different – again. So let me say this up front: the July issue is again exceptionally innovative. In this magazine, they write about the future and it really gives you courage!

The title is “I will take the risk!“ Following this, the focal point is simply “Risking Progress”.

Then I look at what day it is today and I think what a poor soul Roland (me) is. After all, the “brand eins” has been sitting on his desk for more than two weeks and he also gave a copy to two friends already.

But still he never found time to write his “brand eins” blog article. Now isn’t that a signal that something innovative should happen? Because time is my most valuable commodity. And currently, it is a truly rare commodity.

So I will immediately start reading the magazine and only give a few short comments. As early as page 31, I find the first crack. According to a study by BDI and the Deutschen Telekom Stiftung, Switzerland is by far the most innovative country of this world!

That is easy for me to believe. After all, I attended some very nice entrepreneurial workshops at RISE (HSG) in Basel, Zürich and St. Gallen, where I made the acquaintance of a whole lot of great enterprises and entrepreneurs from Switzerland. They were all innovative and modern in a sense that made me respect them very much, indeed.

“Self-organization and self-determination in organizations and enterprises”: that is what Hans Ulrich, the founder of the St. Gallener Management Model, demanded in the 1980ies as an important requirement for a change in management.
And this is precisely what you essentially need for becoming innovative. And I ask myself: isn’t a basic democracy not at least a reasonable attempt at letting all the people of a nation organize themselves and determine their fate? If you look at it in this way, basic democracy is the catalyser for innovation, also of a nation!

As far as I am concerned, Switzerland has a very positive connotation as the country of entrepreneurs. As they say: from nothing nothing comes. I learned to appreciate both the HSG (Hochschule St. Gallen) and the ETH in Zürich. And I really salute them for the dynamics they practice. And since I believe that the quality of a university or college in one country correlates absolutely with the success of said country, good colleges are a good explanation.

At a festive event of TU München with a guest from ETH, the president of TU München, Herr Dr. Herrmann, informed us that the average amount of money spent for one student at ETH is several times as much as at TUM. I seem to recall it was a two-digit number with a 1 as the first digit. Of course, a good education and consequently good universities are fundamentally important for successful progress. But for universities, the same is true as everywhere: ”nothing goes without the funny stuff”.

I also find it good that the ETH had enough courage to remain Technische Hochschule and retain its “H” in the official name. I started studying at THM (Technische Hochschule München) in 1969 – and I was appalled when they later insisted on calling themselves Technische Universität. It would have been better if they had kept the “H” – and in exchange they could have become a little more innovative. If a façade looks nice, this does not necessarily mean the interior is also nice. Instead, it happens more and more often that all is show and no substance.

I appreciate the TUM because, by German standards, it keeps producing rather well-trained computer scientists. Also, they do give themselves a nice appearance. But who knows if it is a truly innovative university? Personally, I can think of quite a few questions to ask, because to me it looks rather bureaucratic and over-administered. Consequently, when all is said and done, most of the professors, just like at most of the German universities I know, have too little time for research and teaching and for the people affected by the change.

But then, what can you expect of a Germany where the internet is called “frontier land” by the nation’s highest and mightiest. The universities are structured like schools, the academic freedom is restricted and then everybody is surprised when even small Switzerland outruns us. On the other hand, they tell us and the entire world that we are an island of the blessed in a Europe full of misery!  So is it true about all being show and no substance? How fortunate that “brand eins” exists.

I found many more positive things in the July brand eins edition. Here is another example: I was truly delighted to find my friend Günther Bonin on page 56. There is even a picture of him. The article is about how he and other persons want to free this planet’s oceans from plastic waste.

And I find it just great that something like this is written in brand eins.

Many thanks – Frau Fischer!

(Translated by EG)


I wrote about myself as a poor soul. This reminds me of a twitter friendship with someone who called himself @ArmerKater in twitter. Later, I met him at several PM-Camps  and we became friends in real life, as well.
He called himself @ArmerKater because he often despaired during his time as an employed project manager.
Now he is an entrepreneur and no longer a poor tom. And he also changed his twitter name. It would have made quite a story for the June brand eins. I am sure you remember that the title was “Mondays make me sick” …

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