Fact or Fake? How the «Liberal Arts» serve the Search for Truth

René Descartes (1596–1650), French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician; Donald J. Trump (born 1946), 45th President of the USA.

Do you Remember the Birth of «Alternative Facts»?

In January 2017, Kellyanne Conway, then advisor to 45th US President Donald Trump, had used this phrase for the very first time. This, to justify false statements made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about audience size during Trump’s inauguration in front of the Capitol. Conway’s statements, made during an interview on the American political talk show «Meet the Press», hosted by Chuck Todd, should go down in the history books as a frontal assault on the core values of the Enlightenment: The former «Cogito, ergo sum» («I think, therefore I am») of the philosopher René Descartes had suddenly turned into «I feel, therefore I am right», which was to characterise Trump’s entourage style during his presidential years. How could it have come to this?

Conway: You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

Todd: Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

Conway: If we’re going to keep referring to the press secretary in those types of terms I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

Conway: Press Secretary Gave ‘Alternative Facts’

Back to the Roots of the «Liberal Arts»

With her statement, Kellyanne Conway has swept away the frameworks of thought from antiquity and the Middle Ages in a dash. More so-called “Alternative Facts” should follow. However, since the Middle Ages there have been tried and tested means against distortion of reality, namely the so-called “Liberal Arts” (“Septem Artes Liberales”). With their help, crude logics of thought can be seen through and falsified, even in the post-digital age. Let’s listen to our brand new friend, ChatGPT, and its definition of the “Liberal Arts”:

​If you want to delve deeper and listen to my keynote (in German) at this year’s Learning Innovation Conference on 13 April 2023, you can benefit from a discounted price: Get your voucher here!





Further information: www.learning-innovation.ch

Factors for Successful Innovations – Even in Times of Crisis

The current COVID 19 situation in the economy and society is characterised by numerous imponderables and uncertainties. What will happen after the Corona pandemic, and what role should innovation management play in this to move your company forward? Innovation management means questioning the status quo, consistently adapting it, even proactively changing it, because companies that dominate a market today may be doomed to be spectators tomorrow! We will show you 10 strategies on how to say goodbye to the status quo again and again, even in challenging situations.

This article by Prof. Claus W. Gerberich and myself was originally published in German in KMU Magazin 02/2022.

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Back to «New Normal»: Facing the Intrinsic Roots of Learning

«Song for Abdullah» (Kenny Barron), originally released in 1985 on the Album «Scratch».

Now that the light at the end of the COVID 19 tunnel is beginning to shine, the question remains as to how companies will adapt to the «New Normal». It has been shown that remote or flex work turns out to rule particularly well when all employees are aware of the purpose of the company and actively implement it in their daily work. Nevertheless, «Purpose» should not be confused with individual willingness to actively engage. As Friedrich Nietzsche already knew, the individual is highly dependent on his personal intrinic motivation:

«He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.» (Friedrich Nietzsche)

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DisruptHR Talk: «Designing the Organizational Groove»

Designing the Organizational Groove – a DisruptHR talk by Daniel C. Schmid – March 4, 2021 in Zurich, CH #DisruptHRZRH

Interview by Lena Schwerzmann, SPOT ON, with Daniel C. Schmid:

QUESTION: You’re talkin about the «Groove» of an organization or company. How can I check/measure whether or how well my company is in the groove?

ANSWER: On the one hand, the “Groove” of a company can be perceived subjectively, e.g. quite specifically in the application process by the candidates:

  • How long does it take to get qualified feedback on my application?
  • Do I have to constantly ask various people?
  • Is there a recognizable rhythmic structure to the entire process or is everything improvised and “ad hoc”? 

On the other hand, “Groove” can also be objectively measured by quantitative methods, e.g. by means of KPIs on fluctuation or absenteeism parameters. New digital and swarm-intelligent methods aim to determine real-time data on employee satisfaction, for example the “Happimeter” technology by Dr. Peter Gloor, Research Scientist at MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, and Founder of Galaxyadvisors.

QUESTION: What are the most common reasons when a company is “off-beat”?

ANSWER: My observations from more than 15 years of training consulting essentially show the same picture: poor leadership role models, poorly designed digital business processes, and uncertain market prospects form a dangerous mix of uncontrollable “syncopes” that can throw a company completely out of rhythm. Analog, appreciative (management) communication beats unsystematic, digital actionism by far. My motto is: “Trust cannot be digitized!”

QUESTION: What do you think is the most important change in the near future with regard to HR that companies better not miss?

ANSWER: In view of the current hype surrounding “purpose,” “agility,” “VUCA,” and the like, companies should return to their original DNA in order to position themselves successfully on the scarce market for skilled workers: Attractive employer branding must actively incorporate the company’s entrepreneurial and idealistic roots; role models here are especially family businesses that cultivate traditional analog values and elegantly lead the way into the post-digital future.

QUESTION: As a musician, what other parallels can you draw to corporate culture and management?

ANSWER: Here I quote Duke Ellington, the “Godfather of Jazz”, that says it all: “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing!”

Charlottesville or the Betrayal of Enlightenment

Source: Keystone-SDA

The unprecedented events of recent days in Washington have struck at the very heart of the constitutionally guaranteed values of the United States. To what extent has the outgoing 45th president of the United States permanently changed the political discourse in the United States and shaken the foundations of the Enlightenment using the example of “Charlottesville”? Is the land of unlimited possibilities turning into the land of unlimited facts in the post-Trump era?

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