Handmade in Germany

Avantgarde Acoustics - Lautsprecher UNO XD

The indus­trial “Made in Germany” is getting on in years. For a long time, Made in Germany was a guar­antee for values such as preci­sion, solidity and stability, the quality guar­antee of the German economy. For years, industry and small and medium-sized busi­nesses have set them­selves apart from the compe­ti­tion by price and level. But the old Made in Germany is an exhausted concept: glob­al­iza­tion is entering a new phase, the infor­ma­tion tech­nology industry is advancing, in which the classic quality features of “Made in Germany” are receding into the back­ground. The new, data-driven busi­ness models in the flex­ible digital ecosys­tems require different values, different speed and also a different finan­cial and polit­ical-struc­tural basis.

  • Bisch-Chandaroff, Serie BC2

Most of the successful digital, plat­form-based busi­ness models so far have been devel­oped in the USA, followed shortly there­after by China, a country where 15,000 new compa­nies are founded every day. One doesn’t need any partic­ular inge­nuity to predict that in the next few years a tech­no­log­ical lead will be achieved in these tech­no­log­ical fields outside Europe that Europe can hardly catch up in this form.

The inevitable reac­tion in Germany and parts of Europe is to catch up on what has been missed. We are talking about new networks and, above all, the connec­tion between the phys­ical world and the world of data. Since Chinese industry will be able (or already is) to produce equiv­a­lent excel­lence in indus­trial prod­ucts and plants in the fore­see­able future and, at the same time, can demon­strate signif­i­cant advan­tages in terms of manu­fac­turing costs in a large domestic market, hope is being shifted primarily to three strategic fields:

  • New archi­tec­tures for smart prod­ucts, i.e. machines and systems devel­oped specif­i­cally for the plat­form economy.
  • New digital engi­neering and manu­fac­turing methods that deliver massive manu­fac­turing cost advan­tages
  • Real-time analysis of oper­ating data as a basis for higher prof­itability.
Minus 181 — Artesic water from Meck­len­burg-Vorpom­mern

The new service-promise “Made in Germany”, which is being devel­oped by manage­ment consul­tants in partic­ular, is expected to result in solu­tions that signif­i­cantly increase prof­itability — through the indi­vid­u­al­iza­tion and opti­miza­tion of “Smart Prod­ucts” in ongoing oper­a­tions through soft­ware, data and services. One can go this way and will have to go it in many indus­tries. But why is economic progress actu­ally thought exclu­sively in terms of tech­nology?

“Hand­made in Germany” is based on its promise of quality inside the growing need for consumer change. Germany can completely reeval­uate its produc­tion, which has always seen itself as quality produc­tion (not luxury produc­tion): as a produc­tion that aims at other qual­i­ties of life, that responds to the acute basal human needs, that is linked to ques­tions such as the post-economy, climate change or the anthro­pocene. The ques­tion of how humans deal with the indi­vidual elements of their envi­ron­ment and the possible futures that arise from the shift in the patterns of thought and conven­tions that have been fixed so far has not been thought through in a sophis­ti­cated, concise model with regard to Germany as a produc­tion loca­tion.

This isn’t a romantic project. “Hand­made in Germany” is not a sign of quality for special crafts­man­ship, for example in the sense of a nebu­lous “mastery”, but a program of require­ments for prod­ucts that set them­selves apart from the high-speed, simul­ta­neous and multi­tasking require­ments of the digital.

New Dates:
Colloquium “Handmade in Germany. Neue Werte”
Direktorenhaus, Berlin