Germany is known worldwide for excellent product quality and innovative engineering. The name of the country, I grew up in, has become to many others a brand in it itself. „Made in Germany“, „German made“, „Innovation from Germany“ and other phrases like this are put onto German products to increase their perceived value.
On the way of loosing a unique competitve advantage
Growing up in Germany and being able to study in one of the top Business Schools of the country, I fear that future generations of leaders in Germany are leaning back on past achievements of their ancestors. It is becoming most probable that an image like „Made in Germany“ is slowly vanishing, if we don’t read signs early enough.
In business schools of today, teachers and professors don’t emphasize enough students to create their own businesses and start innovating. It has become the mainstream path to just follow the forerunners of your school and join a big company and wait for the R&D department to come up with some new innovations.
However young students all walk through the world and have good ideas, that might bring value to society. And though, most of these ideas will never be realized, because the students never learned the courage to do things on their own. Well, how could they, if schools of today only present how to manage big complex firms, but never teach the uniqueness of running small businesses, or so called startups.
If fellow students or friends never started their own businesses, how could we actually expect today’s business students to start their own business? We need to help those existing and few young entrepreneurs to become more visible at business schools of today. Students have to hear their stories to actually realize that being an entrepreneur is actually an option for the future.
Call for more entrepreneurs
In Germany, I feel students are missing exactly these role models and idols, or if you want heroes, they can look up to. I am missing the spark in students’ eyes to change the world, and to push society and human race forward. Where are the Carl Benzes, the Albert Einsteins, the Robert Boschs of today? Where are the future business leaders that are risk takers and want to be Game Changers?
It won’t be the big ships like Siemens, Bosch, Mercedes etc., that are going to bring real innovation to today’s society. Those who always brought new ideas to the world, were the ones that thought about things differently and didn’t take the status quo as God-given; such as in some compliance construct at big businesses. Steve Jobs shook up his employees and customers in 1997 by saying in his „Think Different“ ad: People who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. Today Apple is the most valuable brand in the world.
We need more of those crazy ones, especially in Germany. We need the right incentives to motivate future business leader to take more risks and create businesses of their own. We need to find for students new idols and role models they can relate to. We need to empower young people and give them the right tools to make a difference in their society.
Germany, you need more entrepreneurs and innovators.