What do we actually want to achieve with our work? How can we become effective on an equal footing and with maximum individual responsibility? What do we need for this in terms of structures, knowledge and support? We enjoy experimenting in an attempt to approach these questions in our day-to-day work. Rather than regular classic meetings, we have developed a kind of mini BarCamp – called Sync Friday – in which all Summers introduce and moderate topics and exchange knowledge. We select rotating lead roles on a temporary basis – all together.
How did all this come about? The founding of Summer&Co in 2014 was motivated by an idea that was still very progressive at the time: building an organization without classic hierarchies in which people could on the one hand develop their own abilities, optimally incorporate their skills and thereby be effective. On the other, this would allow better decisions to be made aligned to the market and the clients.
Inspired by Frédéric Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations, Bernd Oestereich and Claudia Schröder’s Das kollegial geführte Unternehmen, and the concepts of sociocracy and holacracy, Summer&Co’s structure is thus based on a role model, which permits a fluid and temporary assumption of internal and external duties with or without management responsibility. Because there are still so few examples of this kind of so-called “self-organized” organization, we see ourselves as something of a “New Work Lab” – we test, adjust and exemplify. We have thus already developed three evolutionary levels for our organizational structure within the first six years – and are continually learning. The aim is to develop core problems and approaches for the design of sustainable economic, people-oriented organizational forms as pioneers. We pass on the core of our experiences – adapted to the context and job – to our clients.
Here, we see ourselves as part of a new-work movement with exciting and progressive pioneers, from and with whom we learn and wish to achieve a fundamental rethink. We are therefore founding members of the shift collective with which we wish to take these efforts to the next level. More information can be found here.
We look forward to discussion, networking and inspiration.
Here are some videos in german language from and about our New Work Lab.
Once during the summer, we indulge Summers with a week working at a special location. This takes place – take note! – without partners, but with children. Something that was born of a childcare question quickly became the favourite format for all Summers. At the “Summer&Kids Camp”, the focus is on our organization – we talk about marketing, about individual circles and roles, about our objectives and visions, or we exchange knowledge. Combining family and work, getting to know one another better, learning from the children and also supporting the autonomy of our partners proved to be extremely valuable.
At the Summer&Kids Camp, the children get an impression of how our job works and we get to see each other not just as colleagues, but also in the role of nurturer, of playmate, of comforter or of role model. Roles that are also happily played and tried out by Summers who don’t have children. We allow the children to remind us what it really means to approach problems in an unbiased way and to continually try out new things.
Essential to success is stable WLAN, discipline regarding punctuality and timeboxing, a clear prioritization of the topics and projects to be worked on, playing an active part in meal preparation, and a good dose of give and take, flexibility, humour and patience in the face of possible cabin fever or noisy children.