Dear readers,

According to recent surveys, economic recovery is now in full swing. Astonishingly, businesses have so far managed to weather the storm and successfully rise to the challenge presented by the crisis. Despite the downturn, unemployment in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg stood at just 4.7 per cent last year – a good starting point for recovery.

Competitiveness counts as one of the key competencies of any company. To keep up with market demand for competitive services and products, the economy must adapt constantly – and this is especially true for exporters. By offering a broad spectrum of services, the Steinbeis Network provides rapid access to knowledge and technology, helping maintain and improve the competitiveness of enterprises. Which new strategies do they need to master permanent structural change? Partnerships, network solutions, consortiums, societies and business networks using common infrastructures and resources can provide answers that bring added flexibility and quality. This applies to both the private and public sectors.

The public sector is not happy about budget deficits, especially at the municipal level. Compared to other countries where the government share of GDP is much lower, Germany has a greater spending problem – and with it a competitiveness problem. The picture is similar in the much-debated health sector. Here, the primary issue to be addressed is how to organize and use resources efficiently. Local municipalities and government departments are increasingly asking themselves how they can continue to do their job efficiently, to everyone’s liking. What they need are sustainable, made-tomeasure solutions. As well as working for the private sector, Steinbeis Consulting offers the public sector a broad spectrum of support services. In fact, six centers from the Steinbeis Network recently attended the Zukunft Kommune (“The future of the municipality”) 2010 trade fair in Stuttgart. The centers showcased a variety of services, spanning the fields of health care provision, energy efficiency, broadband supply, and business-oriented technological and economic development.

The cost squeeze is nudging everyone, in both the public and private sectors, into partnerships with other businesses and organizations. To answer the needs of their customers, many companies – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – are having to bring partners on board. As the public sector will not be exempt from this trend, it will have to put more and more thought into intercommunity and interregional partnerships. Partnerships are often the answer to complex issues. But they have to be managed professionally, and apart from the personal qualities they require, they demand a high degree of trust and confidence. Confidence in yourself and others is a strong basis for mastering future challenges, and you’ll find several examples of this in this edition of Transfer. We hope it provides some inspiration.

August A. Musch


August A. Musch is managing director of the consulting network Steinbeis Beratungszentren GmbH, which was one of the Steinbeis representatives at the “Zukunft Kommune 2010” trade fair: Bringing insight to communities

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