Integration

human diversity is a resource, not a handicap
M. Mead

diversity

We currently stand before enormous social and economic challenges. Mastering these requires a new understanding of social coexistence and appropriate forms of work. Debates and the first exemplars for future-oriented, sustainable organisations are very current, for example in the dialogue about Work 4.0 or the growing start-up scene in Berlin, with its several highly promising forms of organisation.

In both organisations and in social discourse, it is important that people practise and value basic values of our collective life, such as an attitude of acceptance, respect and regard for different people with the realities of their lives, views, talents and resources. It is equally important to uphold cultural accomplishments such as equal rights, safeguarding individual rights, and the principles of a social market economy.

In the integration debate, the term ‘integration’ is often brought into question. Because, unlike in individual integration, this is not first and foremost about the incorporation of all skills and views into one mass, but rather the recognition – and sometimes the toleration – of differences, thereby understanding all talents, resources and life plans as social development resources. Strength lies in the recognition and acceptance of a broad range of talents.

Social and organisational development processes, in order to succeed, need to question previous positions, structures, procedures, institutional forms, and attitudes: are we still up-to-date?

In the course of this assessment, as many social groups as possible should be taken into account, with their values and their anxieties, in order to create a social, dynamic, democratic, economically healthy and sustainable society.

These are complex problems and questions. The answers will not be simple, yet we need practicable solutions. Complexity requires high tolerance of ambiguity from individuals and the collective. This also requires the ability to be in the present moment, to actualise ourselves socially, economically and individually, and to respond proactively to given realities.

Let us begin to put questions to ourselves and enter into dialogue. Recognising our truth as our truth and being open to the perspectives of others, in order to craft a shared process of anticipating the future. Thus can we head down paths together, yet with personal responsibility.