You heard right: the grass is greener in Berlin!

Dritan Mulla
Apr 24, 2018 · 5 min read
Photo by Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash

German version here.

The Times recently published its city report on Berlin, which called the German capital “A Titan of Europe”. The report raves about the quality of life in Berlin, the founding and scientific community, government support for technological growth, affordability compared to London and much more.

As someone who came to Berlin in 2004 and has worked as a Project and Product Manager for five different companies, large and small, and also co-founded a startup that failed, I can confirm to you that what you have heard for years about the German capital is not just hype. Berlin has the greenest grass!

Especially when it comes to the implementation and feasibility of new ideas: the DIY and Can-Do mentality permeates the entire city. If you add to the high availability of talented employees and founders who dare to start their own startups, sometimes with the craziest ideas, and the increasing funding (two thirds of the 4.3 billion euros raised by German startups in 2017 went to Berlin), you have just got the perfect storm for the lushest fields.

So it is true: the startup heart of Europe beats in Berlin.

Just a fact: Berlin now has the most startups in Europe outside London.

Corporations (and Germany) have tried for decades to understand how startups (and Berlin) can achieve so much with so few resources. Startups and Berlin would respond:

  • We are innovative
  • We are creative
  • We are tireless
  • We are on fire
  • We are like a family

Even if not all small companies and tech startups in Berlin follow these mantras, and some are quite structured, Berlin with its counterculture scene has become a magnet for the young, independent and unconventional masses.

Failure also has a different definition for them, most likely one that is limited to regretting what you have not done or tried to do. The German capital is the test field for a new generation of workers with other life goals.

So if you fall in love with Berlin, you try, fail, get up, start all over again and maximize your small budget. In Berlin, everyone is a startup, and so far, Berlin’s low economic pressure has made this lifestyle possible.

Companies and Germany, on the other hand, have a completely different way of thinking. After so many years of stability, they see a great threat coming, but they not only fail to find solutions, they also keep asking the wrong questions. At the moment they are trying to find quick solutions to start their digitisation efforts, to implement innovations in-house or to drive automation forward as quickly as possible.

However, the important questions are usually not asked, and if so, only in an elitist circle that has no relation to day-to-day business. In my experience, in large organizations, the picture follows this pattern:

  • Unfortunately, most employees are only flooded with administrative tasks, so there is no time to breathe and rethink the processes.
  • Team leaders run from meeting to meeting, and there is only time left to distribute tasks.
  • VPs do micromanagement, so they have less time to develop strategies, hire suitable employees and ultimately end up with overworked team leaders.
  • CEOs must take over the tasks of the VPs or team leaders and develop solutions.
  • The board members decide whether the solutions of the managing directors fit into their “Strategy 2050”.

If you recognize yourself in this construct, then you should be aware that all your efforts to think more like a startup, create innovations in your business, digitize your business and find a way to do the right automation will inevitably fail. Simply because nobody in the entire organization has time for innovation and digitization. And no, communication via e-mail instead of paper or the introduction of Slack in a team is not enough.

In such a scenario with these two great forces, the German corporates and the Berlin startup mentality, a solution had to be found.

GERMANTECH DIGITAL offers a solution approach in which companies can focus on process optimization and automation without giving up innovation.

We offer companies an outsourced innovation model that is more cost effective for them than managing disruptions themselves while maintaining contact with new developments as we implement them. We set up startups in 100 days for them with the help of experienced entrepreneurs in their respective industries and, thus, we guarantee that our corporate clients can make full use of the new innovative business models. When we create disruptive changes for them, we also open a window to their future sources of revenue.

The experience gained from working with us helps these large companies to set up a new internal innovation department or to better support an existing one. They can also easily develop guidelines for the rapid and cost-effective implementation of new products in the future.

We firmly believe that our offer to companies is a win-win situation for them: by working with us, a product was created for them that generates profits and with which everyone involved can identify. In the worst case, they have learned something from which they have been isolated for decades by their privileged position: falling down, getting up, keep their head high and carry on. And this applies to everyone involved, regardless of their rank: from top management to newcomers, everyone has benefited and developed professionally.

After all, we want to connect the two worlds: Corporates and startups, Germany and Berlin, by bringing together experienced minds who not only know the market figures, understand the competition, know how to help customers retain existing customers and win new ones, understand and question the customer’s strategy, propose and develop ideas, but also do not shy away from taking risks and failures, and are resilient enough to stand up again and again.

“Poor but sexy” may no longer be true for Berlin, but what will remain is Berlin in a constant evolutionary mode. We want companies to reach the same state and help them to change and disrupt themselves. Only in this way can we see that companies can remain attractive to the new workforce, which is challenging all conventions. And only in this way can Germany stop looking at Berlin grass with green, envious eyes.

I’m part of the GERMANTECH DIGITAL team and we are experts with startup and corporate expertise, offering “Innovation as a Service” and building start-up companies with your organisation in 100 days. Let us help you to learn the language!

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Dritan Mulla

Written by

Develop new products with people who believe and like to build it, the rest will love it.

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