The pendulum – the ideal metaphor for framework

The provision of energy is crucial for the movement of the pendulum. It occurs immediately by pushing the plummet. It is also possible to move the string, in order to bring the plumb bob in oscillation. If you loosen the plumb bob from the string, it falls on the ground like the Newtonian apple and stops swinging. If you transfer the characteristics of a pendulum to other facts, you get an intuitive understanding of the possibilities that we have in daily life, in the economy, and as society.


Let’s limit the behavior of a pendulum to the following three characteristics.

  • Engine
    The strength of the provided energy determines the areas that are reachable for the pendulum. A lot of momentum leads to a large amplitude and small pushes result in to close circles. If more and more energy is steadily added, the whole never stops.
  • Unpredictability
    The actual oscillation of the pendulum cannot be predicted, since the influence factors could be so small that they are not purposefully measurable or controllable. This leads to random results.
  • Borders
    At the same time the range, where the pendulum can move, is firmly given by the string. As long as the weight dangles at the end of the thread and is hanging at the same place, the deflection and courses take place within a clearly defined space.

The opportunities that you have personally, or your team, or your company, are likewise determined by the framework that resembles that of a pendulum.

People can do with their life, what they want. How far or close the borders are, is determined above all by the energy that you spend. The more you exert, the more effect is happening. If you stop adding energy, the opportunities will shrink likewise. The incentive for this you find at best within yourself. In advance, of course, it is difficult it to predict, what the outcome will be. But you can affect the direction. If you feel limited by the current options, perhaps you have to overcome your limits, by changing your suspension and find your opportunities somewhere else. The new scope of oscillation offers new starting points, but again limited by new borders.

A work group consists of many individuals, who bring along their possibilities. Depending upon that variety of characters and abilities the team covers a larger or smaller surface. Contrary to the usual approach of putting similar people into a team, it is better to integrate completely different people, in order to get the maximum deflection possible. The driving forces of a group are those which give the other people the energy, so that they keep on moving. Even with best planning it cannot be said in advance, how far the group can get. At least with the right setting the course is aligned. With the appropriate suspension the space of possibilities is determined. If you take it out of the usual environment, the borders dissolve until they are fixed again by appropriate rules. Because of this, besides other things, agile teams are effective.

An enterprise generates advantages from a strong energy source. This does not have to be the ingenious head á la Silicon Valley. This can also be the appropriate culture that loads with large efforts each individual employee, each team and each department with energy – the attracting vision, the intriguing goals for all or the pleasant work environment. It is also valid here: the more varieties that you allow, the larger the possibilities. The future is uncertain, as long as you do not prepare it pro-actively. Who lets oneself drift, falls behind – even if some desire this position. The border for an enterprise is the world. More is not available yet.

The pendulum swings continuously – from centralization to decentralization, from anarchy to dictatorship, from growth to the stagnation, from determined too open. The borders, within which we move, do not simply arise, but are the result of the possibilities of all participants. The pendulum swings again and again back and forth. Actually the patterns should be clear. But it never swings back into the previous position, but into a slightly different one – but nevertheless similar.

Bottom line: On the basis of the pendulum the basic conditions that we have to deal with daily can be clarified. Without continuous provision of energy everything stops. And what will happen is difficult to predict, although it moves within certain borders. Perhaps the pendulum helps us looking further ahead within the search for our possibilities, by finding the required energy sources, by looking ahead more generously and by being aware of the borders.