Dear Readers,

The current economic situation in Germany – particularly for small and medium-sized businesses – shows all the signs of completely overheating and there’s a sharp rise in economic volatility.

Aside from the challenges of changing business models and shifts in cross-domain ecosystems, largely fueled by advancing digitalization, the SMEs of the nation are confronted by changes in international politics and geostrategic developments. This is exacerbated by the fact that SMEs are extremely dependent on export markets.

With so many issues to cope with, not only does this affect the Mittelstand – the broad foundation of SMEs in Germany – it is also shifting the goalposts of entire business ecosystems. Partners who were the previous stakeholders are changing at a different pace and intensity. Organizations and the business partners who until now stood by the Mittelstand are increasingly relinquishing their role as the ones who provide orientation. Being a technology leader is no longer enough for companies to maintain the agility or competitiveness they need.

These challenges are initially resulting in the disappearance of traditional business ecosystems. When this happens, the long-standing sense of trust starts to wane. Companies find themselves challenged – perhaps for the first time – with fundamental issues of entrepreneurship. Simply “managing” the business enterprise is no longer enough. To not just be driven by change but actually drive change yourself, one key ingredient is an ability to derive business capabilities from core competences and turn these new capabilities into corporate competences. A large number of firms are overwhelmed by this multilateral challenge. They have to keep operations up and running and safeguard their ability to deliver to customers while at the same time tweak their business model or forge new paths into different ecosystems – and perhaps even create new business ecosystems themselves.

This latest edition of TRANSFER magazine provides you with a variety of examples and ideas for possible ways to forge new paths. Coming up with solutions together and exploring realms off the beaten track take different ways of looking at things and interdisciplinary expertise.

With kind regards, Uwe Haug