Calling: Sekem’s Need for Higher Levels of Self-Organisation and Self-Management
The burning issue at SEKEM lies in its call for transformation from the current centralistic structures to better self-organised units in the organisation and improved self-management of its individuals. Projects are the link between the organisation and the society that respond to social needs and transfer SEKEM’s holistic approach toward human development into society. Today, most project managers work individually, have single responsibility over the success or failure of projects and face difficulties in accessing the potential of collaboration between projects and their managers. Therefore, SEKEM calls for greater transformation toward a more self-managed organisation catalysed through a new integral approach of its project management to release the full potential of projects and project managers. Trans4m Junior Fellow Annina Hunziker took on this challenge, and the project was launched in early 2016.
Innovation Ecosystem: Building a Local-Global Support System
To co-create a new integral project management (IPM) approach, various actors were included in its development and implementation. At SEKEM, Maximilian Abouleish, the former head manager of the Sustainable Development Department, is one of the core researchers of this innovation ecosystem. He currently writes his PhD with Trans4m and is highly involved in the co-creation of the generic model of IPM. During the stay of Annina Hunziker a first generic model was developed and implemented in a pilot project but will be further developed by Maximilian Abouleish and a potential future Trans4m Junior Fellow in order to truly adapt the model to SEKEM. The project managers of the Sustainable Development Department contributed to the development of the approach by sharing their knowledge about local, cultural and SEKEM specific issues. Furthermore, they started to work with the approach on a pilot project, hence, developed the approach by applying it. Trans4m’s Co-Founders Alexander Schieffer and Ronnie Lessem supported the process on an ongoing base by sharing their thoughts and knowledge about the integral approach and their experience with SEKEM.
Integral Innovation: Towards Integral Project Management and the IPM Manual
The integral research-to-innovation journey led to the IPM Manual – a handbook for project managers to integrally develop and implement their projects. The IPM approach is outlined in the Manual in great detail for the project managers to apply in their projects. IPM is divided in three levels: an actor, process and content level. The actor level introduces an integral project management team of five roles that work on a project (see Figure 1).
Each role takes on a different perspective on the project according to the Integral Worlds theory by Schieffer and Lessem. The role of the animator is concerned with the southern, the catalyst with the eastern, the specialist with the northern and the implementor with the western reality. The central role of the integrator aims to include each role in the project and meets the need of end-responsibility for the project and the further development of IPM. Each individual role then also has an integral set of four dimensions, that need to be included: Core Competencies, Purpose, Tools and Accountabilities (see Figure 2)
The IPM process follows the GENE-ius rhythm in several rounds to guarantee a Grounding in the project community, the evolvement of connections and synergies during Emerging, the outline of plans, methods and strategies in Navigating and the taking into action in the Effecting phase. By letting the project run through the GENE-ius rhythm in several iterations, the project is enabled to adjust to happenings and changes and is reflected the last round to guarantee a learning process for the integral team. The content level includes an IPM matrix (see Figure 3) which displays the impact of the project in the four dimensions of SEKEM (ecological, cultural, societal and economic).
It is a tool to envision the various forms of impact at the beginning of the project, as well as an instrument to compare and reflect upon the impact at the end of a project: it also serves to visualise the project’s activities to foster synergies and an overview between different projects.
Integral Impact: Forthcoming Pilot Group as the First Level of Implementing IPM at Sekem
The core research ecosystem implemented the IPM approach in a first pilot project called Hand-in-Hand Tree Planting project. Through this application phase also the IPM approach as well as the respective IPM Manual was further developed. The project was still in the preparation phase when the fellowship ended in August 2016. Additionally, the IPM Manual was presented to and launched together with the higher management at SEKEM and the Business faculty from Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development. Present was Helmy Abouleish (CEO of SEKEM), Dr. Kadria Moataal (director of academic research), several project managers from the Social Innovation Lab of Heliopolis University and staff from the Business Faculty. Even after the stay of Annina Hunziker at SEKEM the approach will be taken forward by Maximilian Abouleish-Boes in order to adapt it to the different companies, teams and reality at SEKEM.