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Hailing from Dresden: a global citizen & boundary spanner

1) Please introduce yourself to the readers of this blog & update us on your latest news or endeavors.

Hi readers of "The official Arts and Ertertanment blog of Stathis Kassios". My name is Ralf Lippold, German by place of birth and citizenship. However, if you ask me, the answer will be 'global citizen'. This is due to my international connections and my interest in different cultures that started with my first school exchanges in Vancouver (Canada), and then with the many home exchanges that I experienced since 1981 with my family.

My studies brought me from West Germany to Dresden (Eastern Germany) a vivid city in many different fields, expecially art, culture and technology and here I still live and operate, as it provides the "world in a nutshell". Especially the activities around the local opera house, the Semperoper, have pulled me in since autumn 2010.

Being a curious mover between cultures, disciplines, and technologies (as I learned during the International System Dynamics Conference 2006, folks like that are called boundary spanners) I since then used information technology in order to level the information, and knowledge gaps between groups, so they could collectively create more value than before. In a way the modern version of what Adam Smith articulated back in the early days of the industrial age, and what Ronald Coase got the Nobel Prize for in 1991.

From 2003-2008 I was part of the workforce that brought up the new BMW Plant in Leipzig. Here the new information technology played a major role to achieve the outcome, like instant messaging, desktop screen sharing, video conferencing, PDAs, and much more. The time there taught me two lessons: the information technology, and the achieved results in improving processes may be beneficial, yet the major part of successful implementation is the culture aligned, and appreciating the change of "how things are done here". This experience pulled me into the field of system dynamics, only to become a passionate scholar of living social systems that we all are living in. Sometimes the reactions on what we as individuals, or groups do are neither obvious, nor understandable at first sight. Digging deeper, and mindfully inquiring the understanding of the surrounding context is what has driven me into the field of lean thinking especially since my early days at BMW.

Currently my major calling in life is creating a startup accelerator, LockSchuppen, in order to enable the mostly technology-based entrepreneurs a supportive place from where to launch there ventures, learn about emerging information technology, and directly be connected to a globally-spread community being pulled by similar passions. Over the course of now almost four years there has been a lot of pivoting from the original idea to create a blended version of Team Academy, a Finnish version of the "management school of the future" (as Peter Senge, author of "The Fifth Discipline" has called it) to HTxA - HighTechxAgency, WeAreDresden and lately the making of #EntrepreneurDinner hosting Sheridan Tatsuno and John Kellden in Dresden in order to provide local entrepreneurs with knowledge from Silicon Valley and Scandivian startup insights (currently we are looking for sponsors to cover the travel costs of both).

2) You are a very active supporter (online & offline) of the concept of abundance as a global force which is promising to change the way our societies function, interact, evolve. Please provide us with your own perspective on this concept. Do you also think that Singularity will boost the rate of making the change happen faster than we think?

Abundance very much combines two fields I have seen at work in real life, and which have become my passions. Lean thinking (best example is Toyota, that is constantly outperforming its competitors by putting people's creative mind to its highest levels in achieving customer value) and system dynamics (the field created by Jay W. Forrester in thoroughly understanding the exponential dynamics of "living systems" such as organizations, and societies via simulations).
Projected on the current world situation, and the more regional view such as on Europe, and the current "Euro crisis" especially with Greece playing a dominant role in the discussion at the press, abundance opens the instant opportunity to put our collective human creativity into action. Creating sustaining economic value by putting the latest information technologies from the level of individual use on your iPhone, or tablet to a physical, and time boundary-crossing business, and entrepreneur-based use is easier than ever. We don't have to meet in person with our business partners to make business deals, consult on process improvement or learn new fields, technology enables us to stay where we live and interact in new ways that are for most of us unfamiliar.

To put abundance into "fast" reality could be seen quite impossible in a world with "fixed" power structures, from politics, to education, to business, and a general focus on short-term results. Yet there is hope! Jay W. Forrester, Dennis & Dana Meadows, Jørgen Randers have put together the layout in "Limits to Growth" exactly 40 years ago - indicating the most relevant leverage points in the system, and act collectively on them would certainly scale up, and broaden the "abundance case".

With ever accelerating emerging information technologies across all fields of life, the "Information Singularity" is clearly to happen soon, within year's time. In a world of abundant information flows via mobiles, across continents, timezones, and disciplines it will be obvious that organizations, and at next level city governments will be overruled by the power of information they can't handle in their given organizational structures, and used technologies. Where paper is still omnipresent, we will see soon two speeds of developments, and the gap between will provide the ground for abundance to get hold, and grow at accelerating pace.

3) Why Arts, Technology & Science should work closely together?

The three fields mostly run at shut up communities against each other, will become complementary, once there is a broader understanding and acceptance of each other in providing value for society. The scientist tries to figure out phenomenoms that are unexplored yet, focusing on mostly a single point in his/ her research. The artist on the other side creates something new that only he/ she or a group of like-minded can create, with the input of the world around them, which of course is in constant change. Technology, especially the emerging information technologies, either improve the foundation of communication of the two, or enable the researchers to let the artist use their scientific findings, innovations to shape/express their creativity.

The combination of the three opens up a window of future opportunities towards creating an abundance across society, which has not existed before in time, as we are all interconnected now.

4) How can Greece escape the current crisis by fully empowering the ideas & concepts above?

Hm, I personally would not focus too much on the HOW, I only know they certainly can do it. My visit back in 1991 and again in 2008 (during the International System Dynamics Conference) showed me that everything is possible in Greece.

5) The last lines of this creative dialogue, belong to you. Thank you for accepting my blog invitation!

I believe in the "The Power of Pull - How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion" by John Hagel & John Seely Brown

… and Abundance is the "big picture" view providing the reality storytelling of what is already going on in the world of exponential change.

Thank you very much Stathis for having me on board, and let's keep up not just the conversation, but action on pulling the economic turmoil into a beneficial future for us all in no time, acting collectively where everybody gets the chance to put in his/her very personal super powers.


  1. A bit more than a year later Stathis is working to bring the last words of our interview into reality "... but action on pulling the economic turmoil into a beneficial future for us all in no time, acting collectively where everybody gets the chance to put in his/her very personal super powers."

    Now Stathis is working to bring his dream to reality - http://stathiskassios.blogspot.gr/2013/11/global-entrepreneurship-week.html


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