Creativity, Learning, & Culture LO20107

W.M. Deijmann (
Sun, 6 Dec 1998 21:47:25 +0100

RE: Creativity, Learning, & Culture LO20086
Ragnar Heil <> asked:

>At the moment I am *very* interested in researches about organization
>culture which supports creativity. In my opinion innovative processes, new
>inventions or great ideas aren't produced in business-conferences where
>the atmosphere is serious, stressy, not relaxed with great hierarchies.
>I am at the beginning of my PhD-work and would like to know which
>companies practice this kind of "playground-culture". I only know from HP
>and 3M. Are there any literature-recommendations ?

Here is some information that might be usefull to you.

Organizations of which I know do integrate creativ approaches in their
organizational culture in Germany are Weleda in Schwdbisch Gm|nd and Wala
in Eckwdlden/ Bad Boll. Both companies are pharmaceutical factories.

An absolut interesting little book is:
"Personal Entwicklung durch Eurythmie" by Michael Brater;
ISBN 3-924346-23-2
Rainer Hampp Verlag M|nchen.

It is a rapport on an experiment in a German shoe-lace factory
(Barthels-Feldhoff) where all floor-workers and managers (about 180
coworkers) attended a six months programm with a kind of artistic movement
exercises for groups. The exercises were done in small groups (12-16
persons) on the workfloor during a daily 30 minute break. The results
were highly positive for both management and workfloor and - most
important- there was no productionloss at all.

In 1992 The World Health Organization and the German 'Bundesverband der
Betriebskrankenkassen' recommended Eurythmy as a Model of Good Practice
for Company Fittness Programms.

In my consultancy and training work I integrate the same kind of exercises
as metaphoric exercises for the five Learning Organization principles and
'Out-Of-The-Box' activities.

I now take the liberty to give you an example AND reply to another thread
at the same time!

On: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 Keith Sandrock replies on the subject: Entropy
production LO20070.

Keith wrote:

>At de Lange's interesting series on entropy reminds me of some work I did
>years ago on the study of traffic flow.

...Big snip...

>What I found very interesting was the fact that when density is high
>enough, shock waves are propagated through the traffic stream in much the
>same way as through a compressible fluid. This can happen when we have an
>erratic driver in our midst. This driver does not maintain a constant
>distance between his car and the one in front. Instead he steps on the
>gas as soon as the gap widens, only to jam on brakes when he is about to
>whack the other guy's bumper. The wave he generates is propagated
>backwards with increasing amplitude, and at about the third car back the
>space between the vehicles measured in units of time (seconds) equals the
>average human reaction time. Of course this results in a rear-end
>collision. Who gets the blame? Well the guy who hit the car in front is
>obviously guilty isn't he? Not necessarily. He could be the victim of
>circumstances caused by the erratic blighter who generated the shock wave
>in the first place.

>The study of traffic flow and its modeling is an extremely rich field for
>systems thinkers. Some really elegant work has been done in this area. I
>won't go into this here, but recommend the field to you. The point I
>wished to make is that entropy production and changes in entropy play a
>significant role in our well known, everyday, traffic flow situations.

Like studies of traffic flow, Eurythmy can also be of interest to Systems
thinkers as a kind of experimental learning tool.

If you let a group of say twenty people walk the pattern of a large
lemniscate behind eachother (like cars on the road, bumper to bumper) in a
large room, you can create backwards propagated waves, rear end kollisjons
and 'see' the impact of increasing amplitudes on the spot. Experiences
similar to keith Sandrock's traffic stream modelling are made! The group
can also 'see' what causes the waves and where they occur. They can
immediately try to avoid next waves and they understand what each of them
has to do to make it happen.

Based on the experiences in the exercise a translation to specific daily
workpractice is not difficult at all.

When I for example want to address the consequences of interaction between
front- and backoffice workers in connection to order handling, client
orientation, work density and workflow, I make a group walk such a
lemniscate repeatedly during a approx. one hour exercise.

I let them walk the lemniscate as a closed system ( "noses" always in the
walking direction and the same distance between eachother") and as a
'client oriented system' ( always facing the client outside the system, no
mather where you walk on the lemniscate pattern).
Both the 'closed system lemniscate' and 'client oriented system lemniscate'
demands different attitudes and awarenesses from the group as a whole and
from each member.
The closed system lemniscate is mostly not too difficult for a group to
master; after a short while the shockwaves and kollisjons ( in the cross of
the lemniscate) disappear and a steady fluid stream is visible and
satisfying for the members.

The shift to walk the 'client oriented system lemniscate' always provoces
new shockwaves and kollisjons on unexpected moments and spots. The group
feels lost in the beginning and a lot of unexpected events occur. (Too many
to recapitulate here!)
After a while the group also manages this shift and is able to make it
vissible in the way they walk the pattern: stressless, steady, rythmically,
etc. This usually happens when they start to realize that it all comes to:
trust, create space for others, anticipation, connectivity with 'the here
and now', etc. etc.

The whole exercise including evaluation takes about one hour and a half.
Every group I worked with always draw their own conclusions connected to
their specific situation. In general for each group it is always evident
that thanks to the exercise they had learned much more about their
specific situation than without the exercise.

As a last evaluation question I always ask for idea's the group has on how
to handle their specific part of the working process "as of tomorrow".
They always have.

Due to the unavoidable inner experiences that are made, entropy had been
produced from start to end of the exercise .

Greetings from icy slippery Holland, where we had yesterday more than 900
kollisjons and more than 200 KM of trafficjam (which is a LOT for our
little country) !

Winfried Deijmann


Mr. Winfried M. Deijmann - Deijmann & Partners - Zutphen - The Netherlands Artists, Consultants and Facilitators for Organizational Learning, Leadership and Action Learning Events Het Zwanevlot 37, NL 7206 CB Zutphen, The Netherlands <> Phone: +31-(0)575-522076 mobile: +31-(0)654 94 71 27 Homepage: <>

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