Building bridges to India
- Name: Dr. Markus Wiencke and Birgit Metzger
- City of origin: Berlin
- Position: CEO and Founders
As a backpacker Markus Wiencke visited India for the first time in 1999. Fascinated by the diversity of the culture and impressed by the idea of building a bridge between Germany and the newly industrializing nation, the ethnologist and psychologist founded the company Bluebilities together with his wife Birgit Metzger. Their goal was to bring Indian graduates from management and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) closer together with German companies and to establish sustainable partnerships between India and Germany. In this interview they talk about experiences with two different working envirnoments and how they help to bring them together.
Why did you decide to establish your company Bluebilities in Berlin?
The technology park Adlershof in the southeast of Berlin combines the perspectives of a university, research facility and technology-oriented companies. This corresponds with our core concept that it is important for the development of innovations to make use of the given diversity. This is also something we experience at the business incubator from which we as a non-tech business drop out. For this very reason, we can learn a lot about the requirements for talent acquisition in the tech-industry in conversations with our neighbours.
What perks does Berlin hold for your company?
In our perception, certain districts of Berlin, such as Kreuzberg and Neukölln, offer a lot of diversity, which leads to synergies. This is very stimulating for the growing startup ecosystem in Berlin. Currently, we’re organising an Indo-German Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition together with Heidelberg Indian Students Association, Z Nation Lab and various other partners, which will take place at the same time in Germany and in Mumbai (https://bluebilities.com/epc18/).
In the process, we’ve noticed how easy it is to connect with startups once you’re based in Berlin. Plus, Berlin is certainly the best location to get international candidates to notice you. We offer talent acquisition in the sectors of digitalisation and digital competences and in these areas, Berlin has a great reputation with foreign stakeholders.
What are the differences between the German and the Indian working environment you notice every day?
Our Indian candidates often emphasise the high quality of German manufacturing processes. The quality is usually associated with a planned and strategic approach, and with thinking about the results well in advance. This can lead to slow, expensive and complex processes. In India, however, there are exciting developments with regard to the so-called frugal or jugaad innovations. Complexity is significantly reduced, products are tested on the market faster and therefore adjusted during the manufacturing process.
What can Germany and India learn from each another?
To us, there is a natural fit between the German and the Indian working culture. In the field of job training, Germany offers a proven model with its practice-oriented universities and the dual training system. We like the Indian approach to try new, unusual ways, reflected with the term “jugaad innovation” which is used by the Indian startup scene. Our clients mostly appreciate the application-orientated and resource-efficient solutions, developed by STEM experts with an Indian background.
Last but not least: What are your favourite Asian locations in Berlin?
We live in Neukölln and both like the Indian temple, located at Hermannplatz and in Britz. At Oranienstraße, Kreuzberg, there are various Asian restaurants, which offer delicious food and are colourfully and brightly decorated. That’s where both cultures get together.
Images: Janine Escher / Bluebilities