great to have you on board and thanks for being part of the corporate revolution! As an expert for psychology and someone who is highly passionate about understanding the way people think and act when it comes to work, organizations, change and communication we definitely have a few questions for you.
1789: Let’s start with a short introduction! Who are you and why are you part of 1789?
Christoph Kirsten: Uff… “Who are you?” Probably the most asked questions of all times and still the one that might be the most difficult to answer. So since you already know my name maybe we can come back to the question later?
1789: Sure! But how about your involvement at 1789?
Christoph Kirsten: Well, that I can answer! I am part of 1789 because 1789 has always been part of me.
1789: What do you mean by that?
Christoph Kirsten: To me 1789 is not a firm, it is not just a group or a name. To me 1789 is a mindset, a mindset that challenges the status quo, learns from the past without copying it, knows and stands for certain values. To me 1789 means to believe in a vision and making it real. Complexity, individuality, connectivity are keywords that are highly discussed in today’s world. Concepts on which we all have our very unique point of view – sometimes more, sometimes less explicit. So when a friend connected me to Erschad, Human and Max last year  we quickly found, how much our believes were aligned. So instead of pursuing an individual – or alternative – path into the mentioned direction, we decided to join forces and co-found 1789. That is, what 1789 means to me and why it is more to me than just starting a company but really the pursuit of my believes.
1789: You brought up the term ‘vision’. Part of our’s is that we want nothing less than the revolution from within. What will be our key to success?
Christoph Kirsten: I don’t think that a revolution necessarily feels like a revolution right from the start. In the beginning it’s usually experts and strong believers that know or stand for something very specific. These are the people who slowly evolve their idea into something bigger and better and find others who have the same values and buy into their approach. So it all happens step by step. Learning from history I would say, not a single revolution was started overnight. Sometimes it might seem like it because all the hard work and steady change isn’t visible at first sight but it has always taken time and energy to grow ideas into revolutions. And I am convinced the same goes for us and our revolution (to be).
1789: To be honest, I always thought that the field of psychology is a discipline reserved for bookworms who have an autographed photo of Sigmund Freud on their desk. So, how do you think organizations benefit from your field of expertise?
Christoph Kirsten: Books yes, Freud no. Every Psychologist has or had to read a lot – at least during their studies. However, a bookworm alone doesn’t make a good psychologist. It is the application of the learned spectrum that makes a difference. In regards of Freud, that is a tough question. He was definitely an amazing person who raised the awareness of psychology as a science and promoted this field in many ways. So the impact of his work is still remarkable. But even though he was ahead of his time, many things he said tend to have more overlaps with fairytales than today’s scientific point of view. Now, do organizations benefit from my expertise? I truly hope so. Since organizations are by definition nothing other than a group of people who interact in a defined and undefined framework, it is of huge value to understand some of the drivers behind human behavior. What are needs we all share? How does motivation work? How can we collaborate most effectively? What does change mean for the individual? Why are we going to work? It is questions like these that every organization, culture, strategy should help to answer in order to be successful.
1789: Since I’ve heard that you’re a real sports freak: how does this affect your daily life and work, and how do you even manage it to do sports five times a week? I mean – are you insane?
Christoph Kirsten: I am afraid so, but that’s a story for another time and probably not even related to sports. To answer the first half of the question, I’ve always been involved in sports heavily. It’s been part of my life since I can remember and it’s definitely a big part of who I am to. So maybe this brings us back to answering your opening question as well. Athletically, I have spend the last 12 years mostly involved in Track & Field (400m) and American Football (WR). Both of these sports were more than just a hobby to me. I would say mindset and lifestyle might describe it a little bit better. Today, all of this is still who I am but the timely involvement has shifted a lot. I am happy when I can squeeze in 3-4 runs or trainings per week and often enough my work schedule or weaker-self win the battle. Still, sports really helps me to clear my head, be more focused, balanced and energized for all the other challenges.
1789: Coming back to the mentioned opening question, is this who you are?
Christoph Kirsten: Yes, I’d say I actually am all of the above plus a few additional interests and values such as my family, girlfriend, academics, friends, science, technology, music, philosophy,…! But in the context of this interview the important part is, that in co-founding 1789 I found a profession that doesn’t just allow me to be all this, but actually requires me to bring my true self to “work” every day.