[bu:st] Campus 2019: Playful from Agile Doing to Agile Being

Over a hundred players in six groups, a two-day exploratory trip and several destinations: How can we develop further, how can we learn in a playful way and what can we give our customers in the process? On the two-day campus of [bu:st], the so-called Agile Dynamics Game was a game of strong tactics, dice, haggling, but also learning from colleagues and last but not least a lot of laughter. 

The [bu:st] Campus took place for the ninth time this year. 137 [bu:st] employees made their way to Bad Aibling at the beginning of July to spend two days in the hotel learning from and with colleagues and finding out how the consulting company can be even more agile and pass this expertise on to its customers.

“For us as an organization, the campus is a highlight of the year. It is a wonderful platform to exchange ideas, reflect and learn from each other across teams. At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to deal intensively with new topics,” is how [bu:st] automotive managing director Bernhard Pollety describes the annual company event.

Before the participants took their seats at the gaming tables, they all first picked up their own workbooks on Agile Dynamics, slipped into the campus shirts and worked out their current challenges and customer projects in small groups, with movable walls and small presentations. 

Afterwards the pinboards were set up in circles and the teams split up: Part of the team was informed by the neighbours, the rest answered questions from the curious colleagues on the status of their internal and external projects, the cooperation with the customers but also where challenges still exist.

In a short presentation Bernhard Pollety and Sebastian Zölls, member of the management board, once again highlighted the challenges with the VUCA world and showed how [bu:st] can deal with these requirements: Above all with an agile and intelligent organisation.

Agility for [bu:st] is not equal to Scrum and is not intended to replace existing agility. Instead, methods from all systems – classic and agile – should be integrated intelligently, dynamically and flexibly. The Agile Dynamics Model, which [bu:st] developed in collaboration with five4sucess, reflects exactly this, as demonstrated by Zölls and Pollety.

Agile Dynamics concentrates on five memes that can be transferred to companies as management methods and tools:

  • In the red, directive, meme, it burns in the figurative sense at all corners and ends; the entire organization is in the “fire brigade mode”. Here, work is carried out in task force mode and the team is led in an authoritarian manner. [bu:st] can provide operational support here.
  • In the blue regulative meme, there is a pyramidal hierarchy. Thinking happens at the top, being executed at the bottom. For [bu:st] this means not only operational support but also organisational development and improvement of tools, processes and structures.
  • The innovative orange meme describes companies that strive for improvement, innovation and profit in their projects. For [bu:st], this means giving customers time for innovation and productivity and introducing lean principles, for example.
  • In the green, collective, meme, the organization is seen as a community or as a large family: The opinion and well-being of each individual is important, the hierarchies are flat. [bu:st] specialists can act and advise as Scrum Masters or agile coaches.
  • An organisation that knows and understands all memes can react yellow, flexible and dynamic to the VUCA world. The yellow, integrative, meme stands for open thinking and flexibility. Conflicts are seen as an opportunity, change is part of the organisation. [bu:st] analyses in which cultural pattern the customer finds himself and combines the suitable method from all memes individually, Zölls and Pollety describe the fifth meme.  (More information about Agile Dynamics can be found here)

According to the theory, the [bu:st]-employees were allowed to test the memes and the thoughts of Agile Dynamics on their own bodies – in the form of a game. “In the Agile Dynamics Game®, the aim is to learn how VUCA can be regarded as an opportunity through playful experiences, through success and failure,” was how Zölls described the goal of the game. The board game was developed by five4success and played for the first time in a large round. 

Mal in großer Runde gespielt. 

Without knowing exactly what will happen in the next few hours, the players took their seats at smaller tables in teams of four to five players. Several groups of players each formed a “game table”, which was accompanied by game leaders and employees of the non-profit organization Viva con Agua. In dice rounds, the clans first determined a leader. The clans then had to perform various tasks – partly against, partly with the other clans. The clans were tacted, haggled, bartered, traded, formed alliances and tricked. 

The game developers describe the idea behind the game as follows: “To recognize obstacles and blockades in complex working environments in good time and to create stability and performance co-creatively through simple interventions”.

After two eventful and exciting days, exactly that was achieved: communication, collaboration, learning – in other words, playing to recognize. “At first everyone thinks of the competition – but if we set ourselves goals together, we’d better get there,” was how one player described her experience. “The emotions are boiling up, the game is sweeping people away,” observed another player.

“With the Agile Dynamics Game® this year we had an extraordinary opportunity to experience the increasing complexity in today’s VUCA world and to explore possible answers in a playful way in the sense of Agile Dynamics”, Pollety sums up the campus with satisfaction.

Torsten Graner

Corporate Communication

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