Schlagwort-Archive: Resources

The A7L – the ideal metaphor for basic needs

So far, 27 people were 300,000 km away – twelve of them were on foot and motorized on the moon. Survival was ensured by the Lunar Module and the A7L spacesuit (the seventh and fireproof version of the Pressure Suit Assembly (PSA) of the Apollo missions). In an environment that makes survival impossible without special equipment, people must carry all the necessities of life – the air to breathe, the mandatory pressure balance, air conditioning for the required temperature, supply, and disposal units, and all other necessary functions for the time when they cannot leave the suit. At the same time, freedom of movement, a panoramic view, and the exchange of data should be maintained. Even if business life does not seem so threatening to life, particular basic needs should also be ensured.

The workforce’s basic needs, including executives and business partners, imply the vital building blocks to survive in the VUCA world.

  • Resources
    Sufficient resources to be able to work are essential. These consist of all supplies, such as capable and dedicated staff, knowledge accumulated over time, an up-to-date and sound infrastructure, and sufficient financial resources. As with A7L, survival is seriously threatened if vital resources are missing.
  • Elbowroom
    On the Moon, ALL crucial systems must be carried. Fortunately, they weigh only one sixth of the weight measured on earth. At the same time, maneuverability must be maintained. Just as a spacesuit restricts freedom of movement, bureaucracy limits in business. Myriads provide the necessary tools. If something fails, these employees provide an interim solution until everything is up and running again. The elbowroom is narrowed down by lavish procedures for their approval. This would be equivalent to a long, stiff cable that restricts range and maneuverability on the moon. In all cases, this makes tasks much more complicated.
  • Transparency
    To get an overview of the overall system, you need comprehensive monitoring. Apollo Mission Control included 20-30 experts in Houston and hundreds in the back office. Before powerful computers could take over these roles, employees had to observe and report individual sensors’ deviations. In the past, watchdogs took on the task of collecting measured values and summarizing them in reports. Today, networked IT systems pull data from databases and feed overviews and alerts. In any case, an essential basic need is the availability of data, at any time and ANY place.
  • Communication channels
    To enable all participants’ interaction, data regarding status, problems, ideas, solutions, and other impressions must be exchanged. Even with the Apollo program, voice and image data were exchanged along with a stream of automatically determined digital data. Today’s fast-moving business requires many short-term decisions, which can no longer be made with traditional reporting and decision-making channels. For this, the employees who make the decisions on site need a timely supply of data.
  • Authorities
    However, the best data supply is of no use if on-site decision making is NOT ALLOWED. In hierarchical companies, this is the default mode. Surprisingly, this is also true for companies that think of themselves as customer and employee focused. There is scope for decision-making with short reaction times when excessive reporting and decision-making channels are avoided. The management team does not practice micromanagement, and the acting employees have the necessary authorizations. If Neil Armstrong had not been allowed to take over the lunar module’s manual control, the Eagle would likely have crashed on the moon.

Bottom line: The essential needs of a company are indispensable for the continuance of the business. Just as the A7L ensures astronauts’ survival on the moon, similar building blocks must be provided in the enterprise. It needs the essential resources, without the restriction of movement, with the appropriate transparency, a trouble-free exchange of data, and, above all, sufficient authority for the acting people. Bureaucratic reporting and decision-making, a traditional leadership style, and corrupted resources by exaggerated stinginess further burden unsatisfying basic needs. If the A7l were in a comparable state, astronauts would not be conducting field missions on the moon or in space. In business, a few dedicated employees ensure that the survival of the company is not threatened. The A7L, with its life-supporting functions, is the ideal metaphor for basic needs.


That’s all there is

On 24 December 1968, a photograph, taken by William Anders while orbiting the moon with Apollo 8, changed its global identity. Through this unusual change of perspective, mankind was suddenly presented of how finite our lifeworld is. At the same time, computers made it possible to carry out simulations that facilitated the anticipation of the development of the world. The study The Limits to Growth appeared in 1972 and predicted that the absolute limits of growth in terms of world population, industrialization, environmental pollution and food production would be reached by 2072. At the same time, the Gaia hypothesis emerged, which sees the Earth as a self-regulating organism that resists its destruction when necessary. Regardless of what idea we have, we should be aware that we are on the only planet we can reach. Everything that happens here always happens to everyone sooner or later.

Given this interconnectedness, it is difficult to understand why some people still think they are not affected by the fundamental developments.

  • Shared atmosphere
    Without this air cover that surrounds the earth, there would be no life on earth. The interaction of fauna and flora is crucial for the 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. Natural chemical and physiological processes maintain the vital balance. Some people seem to think that the borders of their country also apply to the airspace and that they are not part of the problem.
    The Earth, though, is a closed system in which, at first glance, problems are pushed from the left pocket into the right pocket – without realizing that you cannot get rid of the disadvantages.
  • Shared water
    We have 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water on earth – 97% salt water, less than 1% of fresh water in the groundwater and thereof just three thousandth in surface water. Life on Gaia depends on fresh water. Polluting this resource hurts everyone, also those contaminating.
    To ensure that we will still have the quantities of fresh water we need tomorrow, we have to take care by ourselves, i.e. not to destroy this resource with nitrate from fertilizers, microplastics, oil, medicines and fracking for the benefit of a fistful of dollars.
  • Shared resources
    We are sitting on finite resources – coal, oil and gas, copper, lead, gold and rare-earth elements. Without these materials we cannot maintain our current standard of living – food and water supplies, energy, mobility, as well as information and communication. The related estimates are limited to the deposits known to us. These are sufficient between 30 and two hundred years. After that, game over.
  • Shared destiny
    The spaceship Earth is so large that it seems to us as if it were a flat disc. We are protected and kept alive by the atmosphere. Our vital supplies are what we produce on land and draw from the soil and the sea. That’s all there is. We consume more than twice as many raw materials nowadays, as we did fifty years ago. Every year, twelve million hectares of agricultural land gets lost through overgrazing, unsuitable cultivation methods, erosion as well as road and urban development. At the same time, the population will rise to nine billion people, who want to be supplied by 2050. Whatever happens on one side of the earth has an impact on the rest – without using the current, magic keyword.

Bottom line: The view of the rising earth has shown mankind how limited our scope of action is and will remain for a long time. There is only one atmosphere, shared water reservoirs and finite resources that make us ONE community of fate. Shifting resources from one side to the other harms the other side and adds nothing to the earth. Despite all the clues, influential people still haven’t understood the limits of growth, although they are also affected, because that’s all there is.

P.S.: At this point thanks to Greta.