Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

October 2018. Germany is currently in the driving seat when it comes to innovation – thanks in part to the speed it’s developing new technologies like driverless cars.

In the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report, Germany came top as the world’s most innovative economy, with a score of 87.5 out of 100 in the Innovation capability pillar – one of the 12 drivers of a country’s productivity.

German homes

Deutsche Welle – What sets German homes apart? That’s what Rachel want to find out for this week’s Meet the Germans. From cake forks to tiny homes and BYO kitchens – join her for a snoop around a typical German home.

Rachel moved from the UK to Germany in 2016. As a relative newcomer she casts a fresh eye over German clichés and shares her experiences of settling into German life. Every two weeks she explores a new topic – from unusual bans to meaty cuisine or haunted castles. This week: come on in and make yourself at home with the Germans.

At 0:24 unfortunately a small error has crept in. This house is the famous Rietveld Schröder House and is located in Utrecht in the Netherlands and not in Germany. Sorry for that.

German bread, again

The Germans are extremely proud of their bread culture – and pretty scathing about bread from most other countries (don’t get them started on Toastbrot.) Since moving to Germany, Rachel has discovered the delights of fresh German bread from the local bakery.

But there’s still one thing getting between her and a bag of crusty bread rolls. Rachel moved from the UK to Germany in 2016. Back then, as a relative newcomer she casts a fresh eye over German clichés and shares her experiences of settling into German life. Every two weeks she explores a new topic – from unusual bans to meaty cuisine or haunted castles. This week: bread.

German bread

What do most Germans miss when they are abroad? Their bread! Hannah Hummel at Deutsche Welle explains why people in Germany are so crazy about it, how Germany developed such a huge bread diversity and why so many bakeries are under threat nowadays.

Her German father baked bread for the family in Scotland. It is very common for Germans living outside of Germany to bake their own bread.

Dieter Rams – German Design

As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, Dieter Rams (1932-) emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products.

Rams had Ten Principles of Good Design: Innovative. Usable. Aesthetic. Understandable. Discreet. Honest. Durable. Consistent to the last detail. Environmental. Minimalistic. Watch this excellent long-form interview with Dieter Rams on YouTube.

Hans Holbein the Younger

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543) was a German painter and printmaker who worked in the Northern Renaissance style, and is considered one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century.

Holbein was born in Augsburg, Bavaria, but he worked mainly in Basel, Switzerland as a young artist. Holbein travelled to England in 1526 in search of work, with a recommendation from the great European thinker, Erasmus of Rotterdam.

Holbein was welcomed into the humanist circle of Thomas More, the Archbishop of Canterbury, where he quickly built a strong reputation. By 1535, he was King’s Painter to none other than Henry VIII of England.

Of particular interest to us as students of German culture are minutes 22:20 to 25:00 in this very interesting mini-documentary about Hans Holbein. Pay particular attention to the segment 24:00-24:37. “If you wanted precision, quality and Vorsprung durch Technik (the current motto of Audi) you bought German.”

And by the way, the documentary is done exceptionally well. Tudor England. Henry the VIII. Thomas More. And, of course, Thomas Cromwell. Very much worth watching in full.

selbständig – independent

“The team at Minderleinsmühle opened up their hearts to me. From the first minute onward I felt very comfortable. In my area I work independently. My colleagues, however, are always there for me should I need help. Every day I learn something new.” Anna, Intern in Quality Control, 2019

Minderleinsmühle near Nuremberg, Germany. From their website:

“Our mueslis & cereals, pastries, sweets, chocolates and snacks stand for high-end quality, sustainability and best taste. Under leading of the Hubmann Family, the Minderleinsmühle was arisen from a craft mill with connected agriculture to an established manufacturer in the sector of organic food. As a grown enterprise with a vision, we unify craftsmanship and experience with technology and innovation.”

Germany’s future? Look at its cars

A well-done description of the current – September 2021 – situation in Germany. By the economist. Using the German automobile industry as a window into the wider challenges to the German economy and to German society.

It’s bottom-line question is whether the German people are capable of responding to the challenges of today and the near future.

“Not the consumers’ job“

Harvard Business Review. October 31, 2001. Tom Davenport, Business Professor at Babson College: Was Steve Jobs a Good Decision Maker?

„He (Jobs) also didn’t believe in analytical decisions based on extensive market research.“ Quoting The New York Times’ obituary: „Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: ‘None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.’”

Steve Jobs was not of German descent. It was known, however, that he had great respect for German design and technology. He and his family, it was reported, had debated for weeks what brand of washing machine they should choose. His arguments won out. Miele.