Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vienna Linchpin Meetup - June 14, 2010

MuseumsQuartier Vienna from my flickr photos.

We held our Vienna Linchpin Meetup at the MuseumsQuartier. The highlight was meeting a group of people who wanted to discuss Seth Godin's ideas. On the way home I was amazed to note that three hours had passed, although the fact that they pretty much had to throw us out of the cafe should have been a hint.

We discussed a wide variety of subjects, listed below. We decided to meet again in September to continue our discussion with more people.

Can cleaning people be linchpins? We think that it's possible to bring art to cleaning and cleaners can be an important connection between people working in an office. Our model is not the outsourced cleaning companies, but rather the cleaners who were really part of the organization, like the janitors in our elementary schools in the old days (Mike Mulligan of steam shovel fame). Maybe not forever, but being a linchpin cleaner (to pay the bills) while you are doing some other art at night.

How do you transfer Seth's ideas to old businesses and institutions? An especially important question in cities like Vienna with long traditions.

Can you be a linchpin in a large business or do you need to work for yourself? Of course Seth discusses this, but it was on our minds. We felt that learning to get along in existing structures can provide you with the freedom to implement innovative ideas. But, it's a balancing act.

We should always ask, "Where's the fun?" at work. Work should be a playground where you can fail. Interestingly some organizations allow failure but sweep it under the carpet preferring to ignore it rather than learn from it.

What about colleagues to whom work is simply 8 hours plus a paycheck?

Finally, as a mixed German and English speaking group, we had a lot of fun translating and debating how to interpret Seth's work (starting with "What does linchpin mean?") in another language.


Didier Daglinckx said...

What does linchpin mean?

Well, in french it's not that obvious and the french version of the book edited by Diateino doesn't solve it.

It's great to know that your meeting was a success.

(from Belgium)

Andy Nash said...

Linchpin is the name of Seth Godin's latest book. We had all read the book or parts of it and our discussion focused on how to explain the English term (a small fastener (pin) that holds a wheel on an axle) in German. The idea is that without this small piece the wheel cannot stay on the axle and the vehicle does not work, hence the idea that this piece is "indispensable". The main idea of Godin's book is to help people think about how they can become indispensable in their work and personal life. It's a great book and I highly recommend it.

Merisi said...

I love to watch the Orange Men (MA48 clean-up crew), they definitely are linchpins of Vienna's inner and outer workings, I'd say.

Next time, go to Cafe Drechsler at Wienzeile, they are pretty much open around the clock (infact, going there early in the morning, "leftover" guests from the night before do happen there quite often).