Raidboxes sustainability workshop part 2

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

More common good please! This was the topic of our first impulse workshop on the topic of corporate vision. On the second workshop day, we took four hours to work out the contribution of Raidboxes to more common good. Follow the example!

The consequences of climate change are now also being felt on our own doorstep, for example through enormous drought, flooding, storms or forest fires. Politics will not be able to solve the problem alone. Everyone is called upon to do so! Businesses in particular, with their great influence, can play a special role.

Therefore, in 2018 we thought a lot about how we can give Raidboxes more meaning step by step and do even more for the common good. The first step was our impulse workshop, which made everyone want to get more involved. The following article shows how you can also develop the topic of sense orientation and common good orientation as a workshop in your company.  

The workshop in five steps

  • Set context and explain the "why
  • Work on the mission
  • Common good / surplus check
  • Formulating the vision
  • purpose statement

Step 1: Set context and explain why | 20 min.

For the workshop leader - in this case me - it is very helpful to have already dealt with sustainability and purpose. To familiarise yourself, I recommend the reading I have listed at the end of Part 1.

After all, it is the leader's job to set the context for the workshop and explain why they are addressing the issue in the first place. You can't just expect all participants to be motivated if it's not clear what the overall context is.

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

It is important for the workshop to concretise the terms. There are usually many things that get mixed up here. It is important to explain how you understand it in your company. In my opinion, it is important to have a good balance. Under the terms I understand the following:

Turnover - as a symbol for an economic key figure - is particularly important for investors, employees, founders and suppliers. A company without significant turnover cannot operate sustainably. Therefore, from my point of view, it is absolutely legitimate, in fact indispensable, to concentrate on this figure, especially at the beginning. Turnover and profitability create the basis and the necessary security to be able to act sustainably.

The mission is primarily focused on the client. Our mission is to create freedom for our clients, partners and employees. Society has nothing to gain from this. At the same time, decisions for the mission can be bad in purely economic terms, if only short-term profits are taken into account.

In my view, the vision is almost completely focused on society. In the article on Workshop Part 1, I explain the criteria for a good vision.

The purpose combines the mission and the vision in a common statement. In my view, certain purpose statements are more of a mission. It is important to clarify what you mean by the terms.

Important: In my view, an organization can always develop further in order to serve society to a high degree in the final stage. However, this requires that the company creates a high value for its customers (mission) and that they are willing to spend money on it (turnover). As an organization, one therefore always has to manage a certain trade-off and cannot completely swing in one direction (e.g. only the common good).

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

Furthermore, there is a structural problem in our society with capitalism. This has been known in economics for a very long time and has been a topic for ages. Private actors often make profits at the expense of the general public. Negative externalities such as climate change are paid for by the general public, for example with billions in subsidies for crop losses in 2018. These should actually be priced in and significantly reduce profits.

Example Lufthansa

The example of Lufthansa illustrates this somewhat. I do not want to directly reproach Lufthansa in particular. The problem exists in the entire aviation industry and other sectors.

Whereas there is at least 30% tax on normal petrol and diesel for cars and trucks, there is no tax on paraffin. Moreover, emissions trading for long-distance flights, which are largely responsible for CO2, has been suspended.

Since paraffin is one of the main cost factors, along with personnel and depreciation, it is easy to calculate what would happen to the profit of 3.3 billion euros if this cost factor became 20-30 per cent more expensive. It will definitely be diminished even with certain price increases. Consumers would in turn pay "correct" prices.

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

If aviation is a negative example here, one can imagine what would happen if every company not only served its customers and direct stakeholders, but also the general public. What would happen if it is socially desired that companies serve the common good and this is not just a voluntary side effect?

We as a society accept that the invisible hand takes the common good into its own hands. It would be better if everyone were obliged to work towards it.

The result would be that corporations and a broad mass of small and medium-sized enterprises would contribute to positive change instead of being forced by politics to reduce the negative effects somewhat.

Workshop To-Dos

This is where the common good economy comes in, which becomes relevant in part 3 of the workshop. As a workshop leader, you should be able to present this topic in a short lecture. In preparation for this, I recommend reading the book Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie by Christian Felber.

Step 2: Work on the mission | 1 hr.

In the founding team, we have often thought about our mission in small circles. However, we have never discussed it as a team.

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

The question was therefore first of all whether everyone was emotionally comfortable with the mission of "giving creatives more freedom" and understood the same thing by it.

The discussion here was open-ended and I, as the workshop leader, could also make statements. However, as the workshop leader, you are primarily responsible for working towards a consensus and synchronising different words that may mean the same thing.

Results of the workshop unit

After our discussion, our mission was amended as follows:

To give you more space

The team could clearly relate more to free space than to the term "freedom" and we replaced the unclear meaning of "creative", which was very broad for us anyway, with the word "you". Knowing full well that this also refers to us as a team.

Bringing Mission to Life

What is a mission on paper worth if it is not lived by? The next question in the round is therefore:

Have there ever been situations where we have chosen our mission?

This question is extremely important. Because, if no decisions are made after a mission, it is worth nothing.

Write this question on a flipchart and collect examples. I myself was positively surprised at how many cases came together. The best example for us is the implementation of "domains" and "emails". Our clients have always wanted these features in order to gain more freedom. From a purely economic point of view, however, they are rather unfavourable for us.

If there are too few examples, ask the participants in your workshop why this is and what could be done about it in everyday life.

Discussion of a real example

The most effective tool, however, is to discuss a real-life example where part of the team may have decided against the mission.

With us specifically:

"Should a customer be able to adjust the payment interval downwards, for example from six to three months?

Business economics has a clear answer here and in a discussion in a smaller group before the workshop this perspective had won. The customer should not be given the option, as this means less money is available to the company.

Immediately after we became more aware of our mission here, the answer in the group was clear: "Of course we want to give our customers the freedom to decide for themselves which payment interval they would like to choose".

Probably our most important conclusion for everyday life: Every Raidboxes team member can use our mission as an argument for decisions!

After this session of the workshop, everyone knew our mission. More importantly, everyone now had permission to argue with it when it came to business decisions.  

Shortly afterwards, we had a discussion about the procedure for PHP updates. Are the customers themselves responsible for carrying out these updates and are they obliged to do so? This would definitely be the easier solution for us.

Taking our mission into account, the result was that we developed a check mechanism for the PHP update that automatically checks after an auto-update and restores the old version if necessary. At the same time, our customers are given the freedom to keep their old, somewhat insecure PHP version in case of problems.


Breaks are a must. It is important to be able to take a breath after a certain amount of input and exhausting discussions.  

Step 3: Common good- and surplus check | 1 hour

The next workshop section is about sensitising the team to the different areas of sustainability. The common good balance sheet is an excellent tool in this context, as it gives a 360 degree view of an organization and at the same time is an open yet very well developed tool to assess sustainability.

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

This is a welcome change for participants as the workshop format shifts from discussion to group work.

Workshop To-Dos

The procedure is as follows:

  • Briefing on the common good balance sheet and explanation of the categories
  • Common good assessment Quick test in groups of 2-3 with evaluation of the status quo and improvement measures
  • Short presentation of the results in the group

As additional support for the group work, there was the common good balance sheet of an agency, which could create a very concise overview. For the details there was also the workbook of the common good balance.

First results of the workshop unit

Overall, this aspect has led to an initial awareness of the issues.

On a particularly positive note, the workshop has resulted in the team's first fundraising campaign for disadvantaged families during the Christmas season. In addition, on the initiative of Leefke and Virginia, our BiteBox, which contains individually packaged small snacks, was replaced by large candy jars, which we fill with healthy snacks from the wholesale market in order to save on packaging waste. We now use toilet paper from Goldeimer. Goldeimer is a young company that works with Viva con Agua to support sanitation projects run by Welthungerhilfe.

Overall, this aspect has led to an initial awareness of the issues.

In my opinion, this demonstrates very well that it is important to make it clear from the management level that sustainability is expressly desired and may be implemented.

But also larger areas, such as the introduction of an employee participation program as well as the recording of working hours for documentation and the reduction of overtime, were introduced.

Overtime was a point of discussion, especially in the assessment of the common good balance, as the consensus of the team was that it was normal to work a lot in a start-up. While this may be true, it still reduces the value of the common good balance and action should be taken to improve in this area in the short to medium term.

Step 4: Formulating a vision | 45 min.

The last unit of the workshop was a short session in individual work.

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

Here, everyone could answer the above questions in writing. Especially for the development of a corporate vision, guided meditations can also help to let oneself be emotionally transported into the future. It is important that you mentally put yourself in a distant future, at least 10 years.

I consider the second question "What points can we implement today to take the first steps?" to be equally important. This has led to a number of points actually already being implemented.

At the end, everyone transcribed their vision into a shared document and presented it to the group.

Results of the workshop unit

Overall, this part of the workshop produced the fewest concrete results that are noticeable in everyday life. In my opinion, it is therefore necessary on the part of the management to continue working on the concretisation of the vision and to also include it in the company strategy.

In our specific case, this means:

How do we contribute to more equal opportunities with Raidboxes ?

The concise statement comes from Part 1 of the workshop. Part 2 helped to show a variety of ways to make this possible.

In particular, there was agreement to offer free hosting to initiatives and non-profit associations in order to contribute to more equal opportunities. Some sponsorships already exist in this area, but this should be further developed.

Step 5: Formulate Purpose Statement

Unfortunately, we did not get to the last step due to time constraints and are only taking it up again this year.

All in all, the scheduling was already very sporty and required active moderation from me as the workshop leader. The sessions could theoretically be held over a period of four weeks for one hour each, then with a five-minute repetition of the first part.

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

The purpose statement combines, in my opinion, the customer and society perspectives very nicely in one concise statement. This enables better communication among all participants and, just like the mission, creates a reference to it in everyday life.

Conclusion: Walk the talk

More Common Good, Please! Second Workshop on More Sustainability

This picture was rightly made fun of by my colleagues. Nevertheless, I think it makes it clear what it is all about. You won't save the world in four hours. Nor in four days. It is important to take the first steps and keep going. It's a marathon!

We have achieved all the goals of the workshop and it has already positively influenced our everyday life. This is already a great success. At the same time, the workshop gave us an idea of how we can shape positive change as our company grows. And this makes us want to do more and gives our work even deeper meaning.

Conclusion: Copying and imitating expressly encouraged! If you have any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment.

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