Beyond the Buzzwords

Alain Wegmann

How to discern what matters in business and IT and find a sense in your trade. We combine practical academic theories with concrete business.

If you are a bored seasoned professional or an enterprising engineering student, listen to this show. You will discover how technology and business can be combined to bring more value and sense to society. We illustrate how to avoid out-of-touch strategies that are based on, for example, transparency and pure agility.

Today, work environments are often hard to work in due to unrealistic goals and organizational rigidity. This leads people to try to escape reality and to become unsure about what they want to achieve.

Stop chasing unfeasible IT and engineering tactics! Now is your chance to adopt practical and grounded strategies that truly yield results. Listen to « Beyond the Buzzwords ». Instead of aiming for utopian strategies - which does more harm than good – it is time to look for a refreshing approach.

This show presents the results of our applied research; guests are also invited to bring an external view to the same issues. It will open your eyes to ways to unleash your true potential in your profession. Tune in to their stories of work, perseverance, and human relationships; they will reveal how you can bring sense and develop pleasure in your profession.

The host was Alain Wegmann, who recorded 12 episodes in the last year of his life.

He began his career in the early 1980s. In 1984, he began working in Logitech; where, for over fifteen years, he worked in Switzerland, Taiwan and the US in engineering, manufacturing, and marketing dealing with industry giants such as Apple and IBM. In 1997, Alain shifted gears and entered academia. He returned to his alma mater, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where – as a professor - he taught and consulted for a quarter of a century.

In academia, his quest was to teach skills and techniques for reconciling business and technology – typically IT. Alain gained intuition from his experience in industry. Then he developed – with his research group – a method called SEAM. He did this by exploring multiple disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, and even computer science 😉. He tested the applicability of the method through consulting projects. In this way, he brought a practical academic touch to concrete business issues.

Alain combined his vast expertise in information technology (IT), engineering, manufacturing, and marketing to deliver informative and engaging discussions on his show. He used casual conversations to dissect complex topics. Alain simplified his knowledge in these multiple disciplines by presenting easy-to-digest information.

Never settle for strategies that just look good on paper; make your processes concrete, achieve adequate precision, and capture the essential issues through the appropriate levels of abstraction. Usually, abstract reasoning is not concrete and precise reasoning cannot be abstract. This leads to paradoxes and ambiguities hence misunderstandings. Amazingly, we can work with all these qualities by recognizing these paradoxes and understanding how they are the consequences of our cultural myopia. By doing so, you can transform the paradoxes into an action plan.

Some of the topics we cover are ‘service’ as a concept for reasoning about exchanges between organizations, and ‘appreciation’ as means to evaluating exchanges between organizations and their environment. As we are inspired by systems thinking and computer science, our approach speaks to engineers. We build bridges between disciplines such as strategic thinking, marketing, IT management, engineering management, and operation management. In short, we discuss service design.

Join Alain and see the industry from a new perspective by re-interpreting your reality and by better understanding the laws of nature hidden in our businesses.

Listen to Beyond the Buzzwords at

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