Although the German economy has been hammered — like the rest of the world — by the global financial crisis, Europe’s largest economy also has areas of strength. German cities are competing to attract international business; innovation is thriving; clean energy initiatives are moving forward; and educational reform is helping make schools more responsive to future economic needs. Knowledge at Wharton asked experts at Wharton and other German business schools to weigh in on these and other trends.
German Inter-city Competition Enters a New Millennium
While few European cities have a business-friendly reputation, German cities are an exception. Drawing upon their historic strength as competitive centers in a decentralized economy, cities are actively vying to attract global business. Düsseldorf, which has successfully courted companies from around the world, is a case in point.
Germany registers more patents per capita than any other nation. In fields such as alternative energy, the country is on track to gain recognition as a center of innovation and excellence. Still, according to experts from Wharton, Mannheim and elsewhere, the deep technical expertise that German firms inculcate among their workers and executives sometimes becomes a barrier to pursuing emerging opportunities.
While Germany’s education system has had a proud legacy, policy makers in recent years have become frustrated with a system that seems stuck in a number of ways. Knowledge at Wharton asked experts at Wharton and leading German universities to explain what’s changing in post-secondary education and the impact these changes will have on German business and society.
Already a leading player in so-called clean technology — the mix of environmentally benign power generation and environmentally friendly technologies — Germany may become the epicenter of the world’s next industrial revolution: the triumph of clean, cheap, sustainable electricity.