LLLight’in’Europe in South Africa


Research in Africa: In the following days we will present an update of our research projects. First is Alma.

A research process:

As a closing line of one of our meetings back in Friedrichshafen the group stated: “Everything begins with an e-mail”. In the evolving of my research I have been confronted to this truth way more often that I could ever wish for. Between 145 mails, 67 responses and follow-ups you find yourself immersed in an ocean of information. For my research information was the new currency, the new gold.

During the last Sommerfest of the Zeppelin University in 2013 I went to the LLLight’in’ Europe presentation held by Peer Ederer with the ambition to combine my Humboldt research with their a new measurement tool: the Complex Problem Solving Index, short CPS. Later during a seminar in Ethiopia  I had the possibility to strengthen the partnership and started with the organizational part.

So it all began.


With the support of the European Commission the LLLight’in’ project  is looking at new and quantifiable measurement of skills and competences for innovation and flexibility. LLLight’in’Europe uses an innovative measure of human capital, which is designed to test the individual’s ability to deal with complex and quickly changing problems. By assessing a skill constantly required in an individual’s daily and working life, CPS provides a more direct measure of human capital as a source of economic and social value to the individual and society.

My focus was to extend the research to a Cape Town outpost and concentrate on firm-cultural embedded elements as factors of influence on innovation, flexibility and creativity of individuals. In fact, places differentiate people.  The questions that guide me daily through the Humboldt journey are: How can you make innovation and flexibility visible and measurable in a company? What measures can we take to increase innovativeness and flexibility towards change in organizations? And furthermore, how does an organization’s culture influence the CPS results of an enterprise’s employees?

But in order to start such a research you need any type of company that has a need for such a testing process. The personalization of our research proposition was always the first step I had to make in order to create a suitable version of the LLLight’in’ Europe project for South Africa. In the running for companies’ agreements I have been confronted to various series of obstacles, TIA (This is Africa) cases and ironically: applied Complex Problem Solving methods. If the barriers of South Africa are really low for a business to start and make business the same can’t be said about the ease of corporate research.

Thanks to my previous stay in Cape Town during 2013 I have been able to meet several companies that agreed to participate in the research. Fortunately & unfortunately personal experience and direct contacts always helps and through my participating observations I was able to gather precious information about the company’s corporate culture.

The fact that most of the companies don’t have the time and resources that allows them to take 1 day off their work schedule was one of the biggest barriers I faced. My search for new companies was never over. After 16 networking events, 169 requested research partnerships, 45 meetings and research pitches and two last-minutes drop-outs I was starting to feel the limit of my human resource capacity. Fortunately the best comes to those who are patient. The testing session started this week and will take place from Monday 31st of March until the 8th of April. For this purpose one of the Luxembourg team members arrived to process the testing series with me, running the test-game of 16 different micro worlds, collecting the data, making the interviews and pushing ourselves even more. I am particularly exited about the testing process of our Humboldt Journey Team that I hope will allow me to get a better insight on our project management strategies and reflect upon our, oh so dear Research journey!

#researchhasnolimit or #pushresearchtothelimit ?