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Berlin to go, english edition, 02/2016

  • Text
  • Business
  • Berlin
  • Startup
  • Innovation
  • Industrial
  • Innovative
  • Cooperation

DISCUSSION “MADE IN

DISCUSSION “MADE IN BERLIN” ACHIEVES Berlin products are in demand worldwide. People are even talking the success of products “Made in Berlin” has always been based Illustration: Red monkey / shutterstock.com Berlin products are in demand worldwide. People are even talking about record exports. But this isn’t the first time. In fact, the success of products “Made in Berlin” has always been based on a unique mixture of technical know-how, creativity and vision. In Berlin-Kreuzberg, a 28-year-old man tinkers with a product that will have a profound effect on the world. He only recently completed his degree in engineering, and he didn’t last very long at his first job. This man wants to make a difference. And he will. The story couldn’t get more “typically Berlin” than this. However, this young man doesn’t just work at one of the city’s many startup hubs or coworking spaces. And we’re not talking about the year 2016 either: rather, let’s head back to 1938, as this young man named Konrad Zuse tinkers with his “Z1,” which would turn out to be the world’s first electrically driven mechanical calculator. In 1941, the further development of this “prototype” would lead to the Z3, the first working computer in the world and a groundbreaking invention to this day. Whether they know it or not, almost every child alive today is familiar with globally successful and history-making examples of product innovations from Berlin: Daimon flashlights, for example, the “Litfaßsäule” advertising column, Collonil shoe crème and the egg slicer. And in 2016, product innovations “Made in Berlin” remain in demand on global markets. For example, the biological heart valves made by Auto Tissue Berlin are used in many hospitals across Europe. And the theater blood made by Kryolan is famous even in Hollywood (p. 17). More and More Berlin Products Making it Big in the World The numbers don’t lie; according to a recent study by the Investitionsbank Berlin, the volume of Berlin exports rose by 6.1% throughout 2015 – compared to just 2.9% in 2014. Overall, Berlin-based companies achieved export sales of €14.1 billion in 2015. This record value underscores Berlin’s increasing strength and competitiveness as a leading location for business. This was not the case even as late as five years ago, when the Berlin industrial sector was lagging behind nationwide in terms of its export ratio. Today, the capital has an above-average export ratio of 55.7% and counts among the top scorers in the ranking of German states. The pharmaceutical industry, along with electronics and mechanical engineering, in particular, are among the capital’s strongest export sectors. The gas turbines made by Siemens, for example, are a Berlin-based export hit. As are the roughly 130,000 motorcycles that roll off the assembly line at the BMW Plant Berlin each year and take to the road in more than 130 countries worldwide (p. 12). 8 BERLIN TO GO

DISCUSSION LASTING GLOBAL SUCCESS about record exports. But this isn’t the first time. In fact, on a unique mixture of technical know-how, creativity and vision What makes Berlin products so unique? On the one hand, it’s their high level of innovative strength that comes from that typical Berlin mix of future technologies and modernizing traditional sectors. It also comes from the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit found in Europe’s leading startup community as well as from the close collaboration between high-end research and business in the region. And then there’s Berlin’s famous blend of creativity and culture. Offering fertile ground for fresh ideas and the creation of an entrepreneurial identity, the capital acts as a magnet for creative minds and young talent from all over the world. For example, Ralph Anderl, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Berlin designer glasses manufactory ic! Berlin, describes his company as a “super-realistic art installation.” It might sound wacky at first, but the company’s success proves him right. In Taiwan, one out of every eight individuals who wears eyeglasses now owns a pair of these light-as-afeather glasses from Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg with their unique spring-hinge connector system. The product not only stands for sophisticated technology, it also represents the consistent focus on generating new ideas. (p. 14). “Visionary in their materials and design” is one way to describe the eyeglass frames made by Mykita. The Kreuzberg-based company, which now has 13 stores worldwide and does 20% of its turnover in the USA, places the emphasis in terms of development on interdisciplinary cooperation with experts drawn from the fields of fashion, the automotive industry and rapid prototyping (p. 14). And these experts are easy to find and foster in Berlin, because the city continues to be inventive, dynamic and international. This is a compelling reason to choose Berlin, not only for Mykita, but also for Europe’s largest online optician, Mister Spex (p. 15). But it’s not just “hard products” that make their way from the German capital to the rest of the world. One example of creativity as an export product comes in the form of show programs “Made in Berlin” that provide entertainment on TUI Cruises (p. 10). As early as 2008, the two heads of the Arts & Entertainment department of the cruise-ship company founded a “culturetainment” agency in Berlin. This would most definitely have pleased the art-loving Konrad Zuse. vdo BERLIN TO GO 9

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