Innovation in Indien
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, Study: How real is innovation in India?

Indian innovation and its impact on developed nations is a topic of increasing relevance in today's world. A recent study published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and carried out by the international consulting firm Roland Berger illustrates the landscape of innovation in India and offers recommendations for establishing meaningful innovation cooperation between Germany and India.


Nine months of work show that innovation in India is both real and complex, and that it is gaining in monumentum. The study identifies two major characteristics of innovation in India.

First, "innovative imitation", which involves adapting products and services offered in developed markets to a heterogeneous and underpenetrated Indian market, is a key feature of many successful Indian companies. For an emerging economy, copying or imitation is a natural and inevitable part of economic development. In fact, a number of developed countries have begun their journeys by imitating others. Notable examples include South Korea, China, Japan and even Germany.
Second, innovation in India is typically "frugal", meaning that firms create sometimes radically new products, services and business models with limited resources. That resourcefulness is today driving a systematic mindset oriented toward innovating with less, which is one of India's exceptional strength in order to develop goods for emerging markets.

Five organization types are at the forefront of innovation in the country, namely Transnational Innovators (multinationals with R&D centers in India), Corporate Titans (large Indian companies which are 'institutionalizing innovation'), Smart Spartans (companies leveraging India's frugal innovation advantage), Meteoric Mavericks (start-ups with disruptive offerings), and the Relentless Researchers (select group of leading research institutions).

Innovation at the industry level

The study also tried to understand how innovation is driven at an industry level, focusing on the automotive, engineering, pharmaceutical, finance and IT-sector. It identified the following main trends:   

  • Automotive Sector: India is expected to become the third-largest passenger vehicles market in the world by 2020, surpassing Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany. The number of captive R&D centers and R&D intensity among automotive manufacturers and suppliers is expected to increase. Currently, 62 multinationals in the automotive industry have set up R&D centers in India. 
  • Engineering Sector: So far, India trails most developed markets with regard to the degree of automation and industrial development. Indian companies, especially those with global customers, are slowly realizing the importance of Industry 4.0 mechanisms and the impact this could have on their productivity, quality and competitiveness. As a result, some are laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 within specific parts of their manufacturing operations. Moreover, engineering-related start-ups are becoming increasingly common in India, though they remain fewer in number than those in e-commerce or other Business-to-Consumers (B2C) sectors.
  • Pharmaceutical Sector: It is true that Indian examples of “first in the world”, globally scalable product innovations are few. However, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, the industry has steadily grown and the country is now one of the leading sources of generics (non-branded pharmaceutical drugs) in the world. As a consequence, companies are beginning to invest in drug-discovery research and innovating in the area of vaccines as well as exploring new business models so as to lower the cost of innovation.
  • Finance sector: This sector is mainly driven by the underlying need to increase financial inclusion and financial-service penetration within the country. India’s financial account penetration rate is just 53%, significantly trailing countries such as China (79%), US (94%), Japan (97%) and Germany (99%). The country is projected to become the fifth-largest banking market globally by 2020. It is therefore expected that there will be a) a boom in the online/mobile banking market; b) an ongoing disruption in the payments sector; and c) the emergence of innovative players in the financing and insurance area.
  • IT-sector: Intensifying competition from countries like Vietnam and the Philippines is pushing Indian companies to move up the value chain and focus on technology. The main innovation trends here include a) increasing efforts to create Intellectual property (IP) in areas such as the IoT and augmented and virtual reality; b) growth in the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and c) growth in the number of start-ups focusing on hardware such as 3D printing. 

Implications for Germany

Innovation in India has implications on the developments in Germany. The study observes that in the context of innovation, India plays multiple roles for Germany: 

  • Customer - Thanks to its large customer base, India is an ideal location to develop and test affordable goods for new markets and emerging middle classes.
  • Competitor -  The frugal mindset of Indian companies could prove to be competition for German companies in the future, especially in frugal engineering.
  • Collaborator – Germany is India’s second-largest partner in terms of collaborative research. India’s strength in software and engineering services and Germany’s dominance in heavy and precision-tools engineering could be harnessed to drive further co-innovation.
  • Talent hub - With over a million engineering graduates every year, India serves as a vast talent hub for skilled manpower, particularly in light of Germany's current demographic profile.
  • Ecosystem - Indian cities like Bengaluru offers German companies a diverse market along with collaboration and co-innovation opportunities.

For Germany, it therefore becomes paramount to leverage India’s complementary innovation skills such as those found in the area of frugal engineering. German research organizations should access the Indian market and the German government should develop a clear R&D internationalization strategy focused on India.

Based on assessing India's current innovation ecosystem and its implications for Germany, the study develops a number of actionable recommendations for Indian and German companies, academia, and policymakers to leverage the Indian innovation ecosystem. The study also derives recommendations on how Germany and India can work to create a synergistic innovation partnership. 

Please find the complete study with case studies and best practices here.

Approach and Methodology

Approach and Methodology

This study is the first in a series on innovation in Asia and Israel published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung. It is based on interviews and workshops involving 80 companies and more than 150 representatives drawn from politics, business and various interest associations. The interviews were conducted in Germany and India in 2016.


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Europe is keen to unleash the potential of closer ties with India. Many hope that cooperation in the field of Artificial Inteligence (AI) and data driven businesses could lead the way. But a new study cautions about unrealistic expectations: If you’re looking for quick wins, look elsewhere.

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Automating Society Report: Vast increase of algorithmic systems in Europe: Transparency, oversight and competence still lacking

The deployment of automated decision-making (ADM) and AI-based systems in Europe has vastly increased over the last two years. Used by public authorities and private companies alike, they affect the lives of millions of citizens. But transparency, oversight and competence are still lacking. There is an urgent need for policy makers at EU and member state level to address this gap, otherwise they risk to jeopardize the potential benefits of such systems. This is the result of the most comprehensive research on the issue conducted in Europe so far, AlgorithmWatch and we compiled for the 2020 edition of the Automating Society report.

jakob-owens-isCDC9Q1hbY-unsplash(© / Jacob Owens - Unsplash License,

US Elections: The Threat of a Chaotic Legal Fallout

President Donald Trump’s chances of reelection do not look good, even after his miraculous bout of corona. But even if Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s wins the election, it could plunge the nation into a serious democratic and constitutional crisis.

2018_10_24_Stiftung_Masterclass_0035.jpg(© © Kai Uwe Oesterhelweg / Aufnahme vom Meisterkurs 2018)

Event: For the first time, NEUE STIMMEN’s international master class will support opera talent through an all-digital format

As part of a new online format, rising opera singers from all over the world will receive invaluable support helping them on the way to successful careers. From 26 to 30 October, they will work with high-profile opera experts, both individually and in groups, to further develop their skills. Communal activities will play an important role and build on NEUE STIMMEN’s network ethos, even in the digital environment.

IMG_5108.JPG(© Archiv Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Event: #NextGenerationEU: Creating a New Strong European Economy

“Next Generation EU” (NGEU) has been introduced by the Commission and the Council to counter the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. As it is still up to the Parliament to implement it into legal basis, there are uncertainties about how NGEU is concretely going to work. In a virtual event organized by the Espacio Bertelsmann in cooperation with the Europe’s Future programme, the German embassy in Madrid and the European Commission, European experts came together to discuss the design of NGEU in order to achieve a new strong European economy.

AdobeStock_84943428_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpeg(© © Nightman1965 -

Policy Brief: Geopolitical Ambitions in the Black Sea and Caspian Region

It’s common knowledge that the Russian Federation annexed Crimea in a flagrant flouting of international law. Less widely known, however, is the manner in which Russia is going about consolidating its position in the Black and Caspian Sea region. Increasingly, this part of the immediate EU Neighborhood is being transformed into a conflict zone. Our new policy paper examines how Russia, Turkey, China and other powers in the region interact there and explores Europe’s opportunities for action.

tobias-reich-_2bHXTz3j-E-unsplash_bearb_Aus_ST-LK.jpg(© Tobias Reich / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Open Data in Communities: Communities want to make more open data available, but see obstacles

A growing number of Germany’s cities and towns are already making open data available to the public. Together with Difu, the German institute for urban affairs, we conducted a survey to identify which opportunities and challenges German communities associate with open data.

AdobeStock_332969670_KONZERN_Rido_Motiv-7_V1_ST-DA.jpg(© © Rido -

Literature Review - October 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict 10/20

Democratic states are increasingly challenged by assertive authoritarian powers. China has become an economically successful, technologically advanced autocracy and an ambitious global geopolitical actor who promotes its model as an alternative to liberal democracies and their values. Other authoritarian governments like Russia or Turkey pursue similar narratives. At Bertelsmann Stiftung, we think (and worry) a lot about this new systemic conflict and its consequences for Germany and Europe and so do many of our peers in politics, think-tanks, academia or media. In this compilation, Peter Walkenhorst maps the ongoing debate and points to important contributions we consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement our selection.

AdobeStock_281690419_KONZERN_ST_MT.jpeg(© © Studio_East -

Online Discussion: Getting the WTO Back on Course and Into Safe Waters

What the Selection of a New Director General Means for Global Trade Governance

migration-3129387_1920.jpg(© Capri23auto – Pixabay License,

Migration to Europe : Europe’s Latest Immigration Plan Unlikely to Heal Rifts

After years of bitter division on how to deal with migrants, the European Union has finally unveiled a new plan. But it is unlikely to gain widespread traction, not least as attitudes towards refugees have hardened amid the corona crisis.

AdobeStock_182232288_KONZERN_be_ST-DA.jpeg(© © Montage: blackzheep -; Matthias Enter /

Study: Exploring a “Green List” for EU-China Economic Relations

A new study assesses which areas of the EU’s economic engagement with China are safe from being drawn into discussions about sensitive sectors, critical infrastructure or national security.

iStock-1215988312_MPL_ST-MT.jpg(© © Getty Images/iStockphoto/imaginima)

Megatrend-Report: The Corona Transformation: How the pandemic slows globalization and accelerates digitalization

Our second megatrend report outlines the central effects of the Covid pandemic on the medium and long-term development of digitization and globalization. It also examines the interactions between these megatrends, which have been particularly hard hit by the crisis, and demographic change, and their impact on our economic and social system.

shutterstock_1193208634_Premier_ST-ZD.jpg(© © Shutterstock / nexus 7)

Policy Brief: The UN at 75: Germans call for international cooperation instead of national egoism

The United Nations (UN) is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Two-thirds of Germans have a positive view of the UN. But the overwhelming majority also see an urgent need for action. They demand international cooperation in solving global problems.

thomas-park-6MePtA9EVDA-unsplash.jpg(© Thomas Park / Unsplash, Unsplash License,

Digitalization: Estonia in IT consultant mode

After the summer holidays, schools across Europe are fretting about if and when they will have to switch back to digital distance learning. The only country where people are more relaxed about the topic is Estonia, where high levels of digitalization are easing the impact of pandemic restrictions.

Achenbach_change_Vinnova_1029.jpg(© © Valeska Achenbach)

International research: To the very top with innovation – Sweden

Sweden once again won the title of European innovation leader last year, a feat the country owes not least to its state innovation authority Vinnova: “We help increase Sweden’s innovative capacity and sustainable growth. We strive to turn Sweden into a driving force in a sustainable world.” Author: Benjamin Dierks

tyler-casey-CkZF0-etxU8-unsplash.jpg(© Tyler Casey / Unsplash - Unsplash License,

Study: Protectionism is the wrong answer to Corona – Globalization increases prosperity

Globalization has increased the gross domestic product per capita in 45 countries between 1990 and 2018. As the Globalization Report 2020 shows, industrialized nations have achieved the greatest income growth. In relation to their income level, however, emerging economies are also among the winners. Current estimates show that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could partially cancel out the gains of globalization in Germany.

200907_besimmazhiqi_website.jpg(© Besim Mazhiqi)

Web Discussion: Digital Democracy – What Europe can learn from Taiwan

Taiwan’s first Digital Minister Audrey Tang has made Taiwan—with the help of the tech community and civil society—a world leader in innovative citizen participation. Europe can certainly learn a lot from Taiwan and Audrey Tang. We spoke to her.

AdobeStock_117333020_KONZERN_ST-LW.jpeg(© © Rawf8 -

Projekt News: Imbalance in mutual perceptions between Europe and Israel

According to a Bertelsmann Stiftung survey, Europeans are much more critical toward Israel than is true of the reverse. There is also a lack of agreement on the issue of Europe’s responsibility for Israel.

Lab4Land_Impressionen_2.jpeg(© Imke Dressler)

Smart Country: Lab4Land: Supporting start-ups in rural areas

September 7 marked the beginning of the Lab4Land accelerator, the first program in Germany specifically designed to support start-up founders in rural areas. Lab4Land wants to move the start-up scene forward in rural regions throughout Germany, making it more appealing for young people to live and work in non-urban areas. SmartCountry is supporting the lab in the town of Schöppenstedt east of Hannover.

AdobeStock_176719688_KONZERN_ST_LW_bear.jpg(© © moofushi -

Study: Thirty years later: East and West split over German unification

After three decades, Germans in the East and West still have very different perspectives on reunification and a unified Germany. This is the finding of our current study. However, the distinction between “East” and “West” is eroding with the shift in generations.

shutterstock_305848433_Premier_Titel_Populismus_2020.jpg(© © Shutterstock / wellphoto)

Populism Barometer: Sharp decline in populist attitudes in Germany

In the year before the 2021 federal elections in Germany, fewer and fewer people are populist, especially in the political center. The decline of populism is putting populists on the defensive. At the same time, the dangers of further radicalization on the right are increasing.

corona-warning-app-5336108.jpg(© iXimus / Pixabay - Pixabay License,

Report: Algorithmic systems in the coronavirus pandemic

Technologies such as contact-tracing apps and facial recognition software are raising hopes for improved containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, several algorithmic decision-making systems (ADM) have been rapidly implemented throughout Europe. In this special issue of the Automating Society Report, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and AlgorithmWatch provide an overview of European ADM systems designed to combat the pandemic as well as a classification of the various digital tools in use and the consequences they have for society.

shutterstock_723944149_Premier_ST-EZ_pastellblau.jpg(© © Shutterstock / maradon 333)

Research Paper: European public goods as a guideline for European policy-making

Especially in times of a global recession, the EU should prioritize spending where it provides the most benefit to citizens and Member States in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework. In their paper, Michael Thöne and Helena Kreuter show how the concept of European public goods allows such a prioritization of EU politics and provides a compelling narrative for a reorganization of EU politics towards more sovereign decision-making – but only where it is truly needed.

Offiziell_Mohn_Brigitte_2016__160218__MG_5886.jpg(© © Jan Voth)

Impulse: Germany and Europe must turn more innovative

Brigitte Mohn, Member of the Executive Board, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Innovations are driving forces for prospering economic development. Germany and Europe offer great potential for improving our innovative strength. Increasing our innovation capability is more than just a relevant economic dimension.

_R8P0770_Den_demographischen_Wandel_gestalten_2012.JPG(© © Thomas Kunsch)

Online Event : Joint Workshop with Monopolies Commission: "Market power trends: Evidence and implications for Germany and Europe"

The US-American tech giants can further expand their market power even in the corona crisis. But what about competition in Germany and Europe? We have discussed this with international scientists.

352_2GL_2019-10-09_Mittwoch.jpg(© © Hochschule Osnabrück)

YOUTH EXPERT TEAM: Participation from the beginning

Young people have a say at ACT2GETHER: 15 young people are part of the ACT2GETHER initiative and are actively involved in the planning processes and events.

AdobeStock_322230356_KONZERN_ST-MT_be.jpg(© © NicoElNino -

International Survey: The social and ecological dimension of globalization needs more attention

The Corona Crisis has many people worry about the negative side-effects of economic interdependence. Our 2020 Globalization Survey shows that public attitudes toward international trade and investment had already turned more negative by the start of the pandemic. Concerns about ecological and social ramifications, such as growing pollution or rising inequality, have come to the fore.

Europawerkstatt-9382.jpg(© © Sebastian Pfütze)

Interview + Publication: More citizen participation within the EU

The European Union likes to see itself as a “Europe of the Citizens”. But for many it remains remote, elitist or even undemocratic. In a time when the EU needs the support of its citizens more than ever, it is vital to develop new ideas and strategies for participation. A conversation with our experts Dominik Hierlemann and Anna Renkamp.

AdobeStock_141945947_KONZERN_ST-AND.jpeg(© © AboutLife -

Study: Digitalization permeates the entire working world

The demand for digital skills has increased markedly in recent years, even in industries and occupations in which digitalization previously played only a limited role. That is one of the findings from an innovative data analysis that evaluated 26 million online job postings from Germany for the years 2014 and 2018. The study was conducted by us in cooperation with Burning Glass Technologies.

IMG_20191029_112951.jpg(© Jakob Mardell)

Asia Policy Brief: China’s footprint in Central Asia

European thought traditionally imagines Central Asia as a remote and disconnected “hinterland”. It is no less of a cliché, but it would be more useful to think of the region as a Eurasian core. “Great game” metaphors neglect Central Asian agency, but the geographical centrality of the region and competition between great powers do imbue Central Asia with greater relevance. The EU has designated China as an “economic competitor” and a “systemic rival” (as well as a partner). If the new “geopolitical Commission” truly wants to mitigate Beijing’s influence, Central Asia, where actors welcome balancing forces, is a good place to exercise its nascent geopolitical muscle.

AdobeStock_78480771_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpg(© © ii-graphics -

Analysis: How can the EU help the Western Balkans and itself?

Even without the Corona crisis, the economies of the Balkan countries did not get off the ground. Time and again, democratic and constitutional reforms fell by the wayside. The research report "Pushing on a string? An evaluation of regional economic cooperation in the Western Balkans", written jointly with the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), examines why the EU strategy of regional cooperation has had little impact in the Western Balkans and makes recommendations on how the economic development of these countries could be better served by new forms of differentiated EU integration.

iStock-1070513916_MPL_AdobeStock_232891299_KONZERN_ST-LW.jpg(© Montage: © Getty Images/iStockphoto/Orbon Alija; –

Study: Social cohesion improves during coronavirus crisis

Findings from the Social Cohesion Radar 2020 show that social cohesion in Germany remained robust during the coronavirus crisis and actually increased in the first few months following the outbreak of the pandemic.  At the same time, however, the crisis has rendered differences more visible and exacerbated the problems faced by certain groups in society.

AdobeStock_262320063_KONZERN_ST-ZD.jpeg(© © Nicola -

: SHORTCUT 4 – February 2021

French Citizens’ Convention on Climate

AdobeStock_271095735_KONZERN_ST_NW_Ausschnitt.jpg(© © peshkov -

Publication : Competition is a driver for innovation in Germany

The Corona pandemic is hitting the German economy hard. In many crisis-ridden sectors, there is a threat of market power being concentrated in a few companies. And this will have consequences for Germany as a location for innovation.

8556475365_5f372d031d_o.jpg(© Basma / Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr - CC BY-ND 2.0,

Analysis: Nine years of war
Who is helping the Syrians?

Twelve million Syrians need humanitarian aid every day, a sombre figure that conceals much suffering and high costs. Europe bears 80% of those costs. The financial aid planned for 2020/2021 is not enough. The EU is mobilising donations and counting on civil society. But to stop the suffering, Brussels must take a stronger stance politically.

shutterstock_723944149_Premier_ST-EZ_quer.jpg(© © Shutterstock / maradon 333)

Policy Brief: Digital Sovereignty as a European public good

"Digital sovereignty" is a declared goal of the German EU Council Presidency. However, for a term that is so central to the current political debate, it is very vague. What exactly can digital sovereignty mean? What are the necessary framework conditions to enable the EU to assert its values and legal concepts in the digital space?

IMG_0014_be_ST-EZ.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Event: Virtual #BarTalk on the Stability of the European Banking System in the corona crisis

For the first time, the latest instalment of the #BarTalk series took place online. The event was organized as part of "Repair and Prepare: Strengthening Europe", a joint project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Jacques Delors Centre. 14 experts on banking and financial markets discussed the impact of the corona crisis on the stability of the European banking system.

AdobeStock_92231382_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpeg(© © helmutvogler -

Study: ECB policy spurred economic reforms in euro area countries

The European Central Bank (ECB) has repeatedly been the focus of debate: The background are low interest rates, bond purchase programmes and other unusual measures. However, our new study shows that the ECB's monetary policy during the euro crisis has not only helped stabilise the common currency but also led to more structural reforms.

pixabay_flag-2608475_1920.jpg(© pixel2013 / Pixabay License,

German EU Presidency: Coronavirus Challenges Focus on Climate

Action on climate change was long slated as a priority for Germany’s six-month presidency of the European Union which starts in July. As European nations struggle to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, is Germany really going to maintain momentum on climate?

AdobeStock_314348719_KONZERN_ST_ZD_Ret_engl.jpg(© © Mykola Kuklyshyn -

DEMOCRACY AND THE EU: The EU and its Conference on the Future of Europe

The EU institutions decided to hold a two-year conference on the future of the European Union. Together with the (at the time) French State Minister for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin, her Austrian colleague Karoline Edtstadler, 50 MEPs, and experts on EU policy from Member States and think tanks, we discussed during an online dialogue: How can citizens be involved in the conference? What topics should be addressed? And how can and must the results be implemented?

expertgroup_Virtuellekonferenz_1240x600px.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Event: Beyond GDP: What counts for economic & social performance? Understanding different daily life challenges of Europeans

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed major challenges for Europe and shed new light on some areas of daily life. What is really important to us? Are people in systemic professions adequately paid? Can we currently think about sustainability and digitisation, or is it primarily important to preserve jobs and economic power? In a virtual conference organised by the "Europe's Future" programme and the OECD-hosted "High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress" (HLEG), members of the HLEG and other experts came together to discuss well-being indicators and their relevance in the crisis. Amongst others, Nobel Laureate Stiglitz and State Secretaries Schmidt and Kastrop participated. 200 attendees from all over the world followed the event.

euro-sculpture-2867925_1920.jpg(© Hans Braxmeier / Pixabay - Pixabay License,

Study: Stability of European banks: the fortune of the European banking system depends on the upcoming economic recovery

Covid-19 has put a huge burden on the economy. So far banks have weathered the storm. But will they withstand a prolonged economic downturn, or will they end up worse than after the Great Financial Crisis? A new study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in cooperation with the Jacques Delors Centre investigates the stability of banking systems in the euro zone.

2390666040_5a9d52b896_o.jpg(© Rock Cohen / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0,

EU-Consultation Input: The Urgent Need for Robust Trust: Cultivating an environment in which algorithmic decision-making serves society

We welcome the European Commission’s effort to harmonize AI regulation and create an ecosystem in which algorithmic decision-making systems work for people and become a force for good in society. In this paper we want to share our findings from the “Ethics of Algorithms project” as part of the consultation on the “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and  trust.”

AdobeStock_45290692_KONZERN_ST-MT.jpeg(© nicknick_ko -

Web-Meeting: What do we need a World Trade Organization for?

The WTO is the bedrock of the global trading system. Yet it is increasingly in need of reform. In this web-meeting, we will discuss with Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Chad Down and Elvire Fabry how to take the WTO forward.

shutterstock_1195131325_Premier_ST-MT.jpg(© © Shutterstock / HQuality)

Study: USA still patent Superpower – But China is catching up fast

The international balance of power in innovation is shifting. When it comes to world-class patents in important cutting-edge technologies, the United States still occupies the leading position in almost every field. But China is catching up fast or has already overtaken the United States in some areas thanks to its much greater dynamic. This is the central finding of our new study on the development of national and regional portfolios of patents in cutting-edge technologies since 2000.

amanda-dalbjorn-MCoX6d7ZtO0-unsplash.jpg(© Amanda Dalbjörn / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

eupinions: Europeans are personally optimistic, but pessimistic about their own country

A majority of Europeans look positively into their personal future, but negatively into the future of their own country. This optimism paradox runs through all social groups, age groups and countries. At the same time, the strong tendency of Europeans to have a pessimistic view of their own country's future has clear political implications - especially in terms of party preference. This is shown by our new eupinions study "The Optimism Gap". The Belgian versions of this study in Dutch and French were produced with the support of the King Baudouin Foundation.

AdobeStock_53051589_KONZERN_ST_NW_1240x600px.jpg(© © Tsiumpa -

Index: BTI informs US development policy

Starting in October 2020, data from the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index (BTI) will be included in the country roadmaps of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This will make the Bertelsmann Stiftung the data provider for a central strategy tool of one of the world's largest development agencies.

photo-of-crowd-of-people-in-the-market-757432.jpg(© NICE GUYS / pexels – Pexels License,

Focus Paper: Economic consequences of the corona pandemic for developing countries and emerging markets

The spread of the corona virus (COVID-19) causes not only a high number of illnesses and deaths but also enormous economic damage. For many developing countries and emerging markets, whose economic development is fragile irrespective of this pandemic, the economic consequences may be even more serious than for most industrialized nations.

AdobeStock_294882262_KONZERN_ST-DA.jpeg(© © Lewis Tse Pui Lung -

Asia Policy Brief: The Struggle for Democracy in Asia – Regression, Resilience, Revival

Aurel Croissant

Worldwide, democracy is under pressure. The slow but steady erosion of democracy in many places in the last decade seems to be accelerating since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. As political leaders seize powers to fight the virus, worries grow if they will give up accrued powers readily once the crisis eventually subsides. In addition, the uneven performance of many democracies in fighting the pandemic rekindles questions about the superiority of political systems and if authoritarian governments do a better job in handling this or other mega challenges than democratic governments. The Asia-Pacific region is of crucial importance for the future of democracy and its global contestation with autocracy in the twenty-first century. The region is not immune to the impositions of authoritarian populism and other illiberal threats to democracy. Yet, it provides both major examples of democratic regression and failure as well as inspiring stories of democratic resilience and revival.

iStock-898951380_MPL_ST-MT.jpg(© © Getty Images/iStockphoto/Mehmet Şeşen)

Expert opinion paper: Improved governance of digitalization – what might it look like?

What do Dieselgate and forums that self-organize the internet have in common? And what can we learn from both in terms of shaping digital transformation for the good of society? In the expert opinion paper published today by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Dr. Carolina Ferro and Dr. Ben Wagner present their research on four case studies and proposal for an improved framework of governance for digitalization at the European level.

wikimedia_Covid-19_Tunis_Tunisie_kassba_18-04-2020_photographed_by_Brahim_Guedich-2633.jpg(© Brahim Guedich / Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0,

Analysis : How Europe’s southern neighbours are experiencing the corona crisis

Surprisingly, the corona pandemic has not hit the crisis- and conflict-ridden societies in the EU’s southern neighbourhood as hard as was originally feared. This may be due to the early and strict lockdown implemented by those societies, and to their relatively young populations, the high level of commitment evinced by their civil societies, and their experience dealing with crises.

IMG_2887-04_b_ST-IB.jpg(© © werkzwei Detmold)

Policy Brief: Giving fresh impetus to Germany’s collaboration with Africa on migration

Cooperation with African countries on migration policy is becoming increasingly important for Germany. It has been dominated by a restrictive approach to migration in Europe in recent years and characterized by a wide range of challenges, but it has a new and promising dynamic at the same time. In this year of the Germany EU Council Presidency, it is decisive to use this momentum for partnership-based and dialogue-oriented cooperation on migration.

20951125245_bdcac9c9e3_o.jpg(© Victor Choueiri / Flickr - CC BY-NC 2.0,

BTI 2020: Inequality and repression undermine democracy and market economy worldwide

Restricted freedom of expression, a gagged press or disempowered constitutional courts – as a rule, these are characteristics of autocracies. But our latest Transformation Index shows that the rule of law and political freedoms are also being eroded in an increasing number of democracies. The effects of the corona pandemic threaten to intensify these developments.

Flickr_35121482_3772686704_o.jpg(© Peter Burgess / Flickr - CC BY 2.0,

Corona crisis: Why we need citizens participation in the time of Corona

During the COVID-19 pandemic we witness the increased use of rapid executive decisions by governments, based on scientific advice. What role does that leave for citizens participation? An important one. Because good policy solutions depend on scientific expertise and the lived reality of citizens.

RMP_2013_11_06_Symposium_A01B4920_1240x600px(© © Jan Voth)

Event: Ceremony for 2020 Reinhard Mohn Prize postponed

Our Executive Board is postponing the award ceremony for this
year’s Reinhard Mohn Prize, planned for September 3, 2020, until 2021. The decision was made in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

EU_to_go_Virus_vs_Wirtschaft_ST-EZ.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Event: EU to go special. Virus vs. economy - a European answer? Webinar with 200 guests

The current situation stemming from the corona virus pandemic was not only the thematic focus of the "EU to go spezial", but also determined the setting of the event on April 23, 2020: For the first time in digital webinar format with over 200 participants, our experts presented European developments and measures and examined a possible instrument at EU level to mitigate the pandemic.

AdobeStock_294015561_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpeg(© © REDPIXEL -

Analysis: How can EU member states and the EU alike improve their external crisis and conflict management capabilities?

With the book "Europe's Coherence Gap in External Crisis and Conflict Management. Political Rhetoric and Institutional Practise in the EU and Its Member States", the Bertelsmann Stiftung, together with the Centre for European Policy Studies and other experts from the EU member states, is presenting a comprehensive inventory of European civil-military capabilities in crisis and conflict management.

AdobeStock_230054555_KONZERN_be_ST-EZ.jpg(© © lazyllama -

Online Editorial: Online Editorial on the European Union during the corona crisis

In an online editorial, Christian Kastrop, director of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Europe's Future program, and Thomas Wieser, long-time chairman of the preparatory committee of the European Council of Economic and Finance Ministers and the Eurogroup, argue that the Corona crisis provides an example of how the European Union must change to survive in the 21st century.

andreas-dress-hell-unsplash_Musterdatenkatalog_ST-LK.jpg(© Andreas Dress / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Open Data: Sample data catalogue provides first-ever overview of open data in communities

Population growth, free parking spots, drinking water quality: Many of the digital pioneers among Germany’s cities publish local-level information as “open data.” A new sample data catalogue provides, for the first time, an overview of data that German communities are making available to the public. As an initial step, the online catalogue offers information on cities and towns in the state of North Rhine–Westphalia.

cdc-k0KRNtqcjfw-unsplash.jpg(© CDC / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Web-meeting : Web-meeting Recording: Whatever it takes – Germany and the US tackle the lockdown economy

On Thursday, April 9th, the Bertelsmann Foundation of North America and the Global Economic Dynamics project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung hosted a web-meeting on the response to the CoVid19 crisis in the US and Germany.

49672402331_6d3f06106d_o.jpg(© Francisco Àvia / Hospital Clínic / Flickr - CC BY-ND 2.0,

Analysis: In the corona crisis, who is the more reliable international partner?

The corona pandemic is affecting people in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood later than in other areas. Yet poorly equipped health-care systems and weak social programs mean the entire region will be severely impacted by the crisis. Some heads of government are already using the pandemic to expand their power.

jiangxulei1990-eIzzzwtkBjU-unsplash.jpg(© jiangxulei1990 / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Policy Paper: Flattening the Recession Curve

While the ongoing pandemic affects all European economies, we show that it is likely to cause much more economic damage in some member states than in others. Early fiscal crisis responses by EU governments do not reflect these differences. If anything, countries which are likely to be especially vulnerable are currently committing fewer fiscal resources to fighting the economic fallout than others. A joint European policy response to share the fiscal burden of this crisis is, therefore, urgently needed.

william-warby-WahfNoqbYnM-unsplash.jpg(© William Warby / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Algo.Rules : From principles to practice: How can we make AI ethics measurable?

Discussions about the societal consequences of algorithmic decision-making systems are omnipresent. A growing number of guidelines for the ethical development of so-called artificial intelligence (AI) have been put forward by stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and the scientific and policymaking spheres. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Algo.Rules are among this body of proposals. However, it remains unclear how organizations that develop and deploy AI systems should implement precepts of this kind. In cooperation with the nonprofit VDE standards-setting organization, we are seeking to bridge this gap with a new working paper that demonstrates how AI ethicsprinciples can be put into practice.

002_2GL_2019-10-07_Montag.jpg(© © Hochschule Osnabrück)

Project description: ACT2GETHER – Fair Opportunities for Young People

TOWARD A COMMON GOAL In Germany, social injustice among young people is a serious, complex and persistent problem that cannot be solved by individual projects. Rather, it requires the long-term cooperation of many partners. The Bertelsmann Stiftung therefore proposes that a partner consortium should develop and promote effective solutions to social inequality for deprived young people.

airam-dato-on-6AIqx8S1ml8-unsplash.jpg(© Airam Dato-on / Unsplash - Unsplash License,

BOOK PUBLICATION: Social Cohesion in Asia. Historical Origins, Contemporary Shapes and Future Dynamics

Social cohesion in Asia has a Janus-faced quality. Depending on the political and social framework, it can have both positive and negative effects, a new study shows.

corona-4912807.jpg(© Alexandra_Koch / Pixabay - Pixabay License,

COVID-19 Preparations: Europe Braces for Coronavirus Spread

As the COVID-19 gets a foothold in Europe, health services are being put through their paces. Are they up to the job dealing with the unpredictable enemy?

iStock-861891052_MPL_bearb_Teaser1240x600x300_ST-LK.jpg(© © Montage: Getty Images/iStockphoto/ricochet64; Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Study: A Fading Institution

When the World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded, expectations of this new forum were high. But its 25-year history has not lived up to these great expectations. This is shown by an analysis of the media coverage on the occasion of the founding anniversary of the WTO. 

North_East_Delhi_Riots_2020_1.jpg(© Banswalhemant / Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0,

COMMENTARY: India's fragile cohesion

In India the conflict between Hindus and Muslims escalates. It threatens the cohesion of Indian society - and the trust of foreign countries. A policy of accommodation between religious groups has served the country well for decades.

Europawerkstatt-0251.jpg(© 92806)

European Conference: For a Strong, Sovereign and United Europe

Under the heading “2020: Shaping the Future of Europe Together”, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the German Foreign Office invited citizens, politicians and experts to a joint Event. The Citizens from Poland, France and Germany discussed with Foreign Ministers Heiko Maas and Ekaterina Zaharieva

land_lights_16384_zugeschnitten_2.jpg(© NASA / Visible Earth - Visible Earth Image Use Policy,

Stakeholder Dialogue: The EU and its neighbours:
How to strengthen the economy and civil society?

Learning from each other in order to strengthen their own economies through more partnership with the EU. In Marrakech, the Saham Foundation and the Bertelsmann Stiftung discussed possible solutions for achieving more intensive social and economic cooperation.

IOM_MGR0005_ST-IB.jpg(© © Amanda Martinez Nero/International Organization for Migration)

Study: Chasing Efficiency: Can operational changes fix European asylum systems?

As Brussels seeks fresh ideas to reform the Common European Asylum System, innovative responses by member states offer a wealth of lessons – and some caution.

jakob-owens-isCDC9Q1hbY-unsplash(© / Jacob Owens - Unsplash License,

Pre-election campaign USA: A Stress Test for US Democracy

The Democratic pre-election campaign is entering its decisive phase. March 3, 2020, or "Super Tuesday", will determine almost a third of the delegates who will take part in the summer Democratic national convention to decide who will challenge Donald Trump in November. The election campaign takes place against a backdrop of extreme party-political polarization in the USA.

shutterstock_593137157_Premier_be_ST-EZ.jpg(© © Shutterstock / rawf8)

Commentary: Nine years after the end of dictatorship: Making international financial aid to Tunisia more effective

Tunisia is still the only functioning democracy in the Arab world. But the country urgently needs structural reforms. Europe should make its future financial injections dependent on the implementation of reform steps, recommend Christian-P. Hanelt and Isabelle Werenfels (SWP).

Trilogue Salzburg 2020: Rethinking Relations - Innovative Diplomacy in an Uncertain World

This year's Trilogue Salzburg is focussing on trust and deals with the question how politics, business and culture can build up innovative ways of promoting understanding and relation management.

pixabay_pants-1255851.jpg(© kalhh / Pixabay – Pixabay License,

Involuntarily Freelance: Social Justice and Labor Market Policy

The creation of better jobs is one of the U.N.’s demands to mark World Justice Day on February 20. Non-standard forms of employment are on the rise in the industrialized countries and the growing precarity is threatening the future of social welfare.

Award: Nechemia Peres to receive 2020 Reinhard Mohn Prize

The 2020 Reinhard Mohn Prize on "Fostering Innovation. Unlocking Potential" is being awarded to Nechemia ("Chemi") Peres, Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. In bestowing the prize, we are recognizing the entrepreneur for his outstanding efforts to promote innovation that serves both business and society. Due to the corona pandemic, the award ceremony will take place in 2021.

simon-maage-tXiMrX3Gc-g-unsplash.jpg(© Simon Maage/ Unsplash – Unsplash License,

International Women’s Day: Odds Still Stacked against Working Women in Europe

International Women’s Day on March 8 is around the corner again, offering Europe’s decision makers a fresh chance for Europe to admit that women still lag men in the workplace. Childcare provision is often in short supply and women are still much less likely than men to sit in the boss’ chair - but is Europe moving in the right direction?

20200204_BBB7912.jpg(© © Philippe Veldeman)

Event: Starting the Planning Process for the Conference on the Future of the European Union

The European Union has initiated a two-year process of meeting with European citizens to discuss and determine its future agenda and policies. Together with the King Baudouin Foundation and Open Society Foundations, we invited European Union politicians and other experts on democracy and European affairs to a Dinner Dialogue on
4  February 2020. The subject under discussion was the conceptual planning of the Conference on the Future of the European Union. Among the guests were the Vice-President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, and the German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth.

45839024715_30c29d80a3_o.jpg(© CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2019 – Source: EP ;

Interview: Brexit – "After they leave is when the negotiations will really start"

It's now final, right? In 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU. Now, three-and-a-half years, two prime ministers and one European election later, the divorce papers have been signed, which means Great Britain will exit the European Union on January 31. To find out what comes next, we spoke with our Europe expert, Christian Kastrop.


Climate Goals: Wind Power Slump Blows Germany off course on Climate Targets

Germany has forged a reputation as an energy transition pioneer, with its “energiewende” (energy transition) policy to flip over to renewables. But as construction of new wind energy turbines stagnates, can it still strike its ambitious climate targets?

GettyImages_89772921_XXL_ST-CC.jpg(© Getty Images/Cultura RF/Echo)

Think Tank Netzwerk: Vision Europe Dialogue

The Bertelsmann Stiftung and seven of Europe’s leading think tanks and foundations have initiated Vision Europe to enhance their cooperation. Vision Europe aims at fostering European integration and at promoting innovative solutions to Europe’s most pressing public policy challenges. Through research, publications and an annual summit, Vision Europe is a forum for debates and new ideas at both national and EU levels.

AdobeStock_254465277_KONZERN_ST-MT.jpeg(© © Gorodenkoff -

Focus Paper: Learning from Trump and Xi? Globalization and innovation as drivers of a new industrial policy

Technological innovations are essential drivers of long-term and sustainable growth to ensure prosperity. Accordingly, there is currently a debate in Germany and the EU as to whether a new, strategic industrial policy can be an answer to the complex dynamics of digitisation.

AdobeStock_297805661_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpg(© © motortion -

Innovative formats: Communicating Europe

Our short film "Zurück Zu Europa" and our interactive online game on Europe, the "Unionslabor" address the younger generation to help them better understand Europe.

(© <p>(©&nbsp;Shutterstock / maradon 333)</p>)

Reflection Group: A strong and sovereign Europe

A high-level Reflection Group brings together a group of politicians, representatives of key European institutions and independent experts several times a year to discuss and develop proposals for "new" European policy from the perspective of European public goods.


SGI: The Ranks of the Working Poor

The simple equation of the past that reducing unemployment is poverty alleviation is no longer true. Despite rising employment figures in many Western economies, poverty is not declining. What’s wrong with labor market policies?

AdobeStock_176045307_KONZERN_ST-DA_bearb_N1a.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Survey: Conflict between the US and China: Europeans want a stronger Europe

The tensions between the US and China are a source of great concern to people living in the EU. At the same time, the uncertain global situation is increasing their desire for a more sovereign Europe. The world’s two superpowers are viewed differently by Europeans: While the latter continue to feel a bond with the US, they see China largely as a competitor. One area where the EU’s citizens are particularly critical of the People’s Republic is data protection.

Study: Social cohesion in Baden-Württemberg: strong and stable – but not for everyone

More than 80 percent of people in Baden-Württemberg perceive social cohesion in their community to be either good or very good. A representative survey of 1,398 people shows that cohesion in the federal state remained stable in the period between 2017 and 2019. For some groups in society, however, life circumstances remain challenging.

WTO_DSCF0224_ST_MT.JPG(© © Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Study: What has the WTO Ever Done for Us?

On January 1st, the WTO will celebrate its 25th birthday. Whether it is looking forward to a rosy future is however uncertain. Their largest members, the US and China escalate their tariff disputes outside the organization. At the same time, the US’s blocking of the Appellate Body risks damaging the whole institution. The US and China should think twice though: together with Germany, they are among the largest beneficiaries of the rules-based trading system.

011119 SGC Inclusive Innovation and Social Cohesion Round Table-064.jpg(©

High Level Round Table: Inclusive Innovation and Social Cohesion: Challenges and Solutions in Asia and Europe

Technological innovations and other transformation processes are changing our societies at an unprecedented pace. What effects does this have on social cohesion and how can it be strengthened? At the invitation of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, experts from Asia and Europe discussed these questions in Singapore.

Fotor_157666249599995.jpg(© Archiv Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Event: EU to go spezial "Industrial policy: digital, productive, European?"

“Industrial policy: digital, productive, European?” – was the title of the latest version of “EU to go spezial”, which took place at the Q-Club in Berlin on 13 December 2019. During this event, which was organised by the Jacques Delors Centre and Bertelsmann Stiftung, our experts presented their proposals on how the new European Commission can shape European industrial policy over the coming years.

IMG_20190510_134246(© Jacob Mardell)

Asia Policy Brief: China's Economic Footprint in the Western Balkans

Geopolitics has returned to vogue, and the EU does not enjoy a monopoly on influence in the Western Balkans. China is the latest player on the scene, and although its economic footprint is still relatively small, Beijing’s growing presence is a new reality that Brussels needs to contend with. China’s “no-strings attached” financing of infrastructure potentially undermines the EU’s reform-orientated approach.

AdobeStock_232204648_102168061_Montage_KONZERN_ST-EZ_bearb.jpg(© © Montage: Christoph Burgstedt; Jonathan Stutz -

Commentary: Moldovan “Groundhog Day”
Pro-European Forces Failing Yet Again?

By Mihai-Razvan Corman  The Moldovan experiment of a coalition across geopolitical lines is over. Only five months after its inauguration, the country’s government, to which many have attached high expectations, collapsed. Similar to the movie “Groundhog Day”, yet another Moldovan government failed to push through a European reform agenda. Moldova continues to be a state captured by vested interests. Concern is warranted regarding the country’s future European orientation.

AdobeStock_294982049_KONZERN_ST-LW.jpeg(© © Pugun & Photo Studio -

Study: Silicon Wadi meets the hinterland – how Germany’s Mittelstand and Israeli startups can benefit from working together

Germany and Israel face similar challenges and opportunities when it comes to globalization and digitalization. Which synergies could result from an innovation exchange? What would successful cooperation look like? As our study German and Israeli Innovation – The Best of Two Worlds shows: Networking is crucial for shaping German-Israeli partnerships. Innovative platforms, moreover, facilitate the interactions that can make those partnerships happen.

AdobeStock_271757177_Konzern_ST-MT.jpeg(© © Free1970 -

Study: Demographic change is leading to massive income losses in developed countries

Demographic aging will have a strong dampening effect on average incomes in Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Austria and the United States in the next 30 years. However, this effect can be mitigated by increasing investment in automation and digitalization. Our study has examined how strong the diminishing effect on individual income growth will be and how much compensatory investments would be necessary.  

02_BAJ_Bielefeld_2005.jpg(© © Thomas Kunsch)

Study: The economics of apprenticeship training

Companies are key actors in apprenticeship training. This paper provides general conclusions on costs and benefits from the point of view of companies.

founders_Foundation_1_2019.jpg(© © Francesca Seidensticker/Founders Foundation)

Event: German-Israeli Pitch Night

“Go far. Come close.” The first German-Israeli Pitch Night presented innovative startups from Israel and East Westphalia to an audience of 200 guests. Thanks to the concrete examples discussed, it also showed how both ecosystems can learn from each other.

iStock_000041375074_bearbSJI2017_ST-NW.jpg(© © George Clerk - iStockphoto; kharlamova_lv, Matthias Enter -

Social Justice Index: Bleak outlook for young generations in OECD countries

Data on employment have reached levels above those of the peak of the financial crisis in nearly all EU and OECD countries. Nevertheless, the share of people at risk of poverty has shown little decline. Stagnation is also evident with regard to intergenerational justice.

AdobeStock_176045307_KONZERN_be_EN.jpg(© © Sikov -

Citizens‘ Participation: Citizens for the Conference on the Future of Europe

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced a two-year Conference on the Future of Europe. Even citizens ought to participate. But how? In order to make participatory democracy a reality, it is essential to avoid only paying lip-service to the idea of participation — and give citizens a real say.

niclas-dehmel-kQhKMjZghms-unsplash.jpg(© Niclas Dehmel / Unsplash - Unsplash License,

eupinions: Europeans want environmental protection, but are concerned about their wallets

The new European Commission is expected to officially take office on December 1. Ursula von der Leyen, the elected President of the Commission, has already set the first priorities, but what do Europeans expect from Europe? The latest edition of "eupinions" shows that protecting the environment is very high on many citizens' to-do list. However, at a personal level, Europeans are primarily concerned about the rising cost of living and their jobs.

AdobeStock_115697028_Teaser_ST_EZ_ID_792_mitWolke.jpg(© © Monika Huňáčková -

Analysis: Europe´s Coherence Gap in External Crisis and Conflict Management. The EU’s Integrated Approach between Political Rhetoric and Institutional Practice

The end of the Cold War initially relaxed the security situation in Europe and enabled the EU to press ahead with the peaceful unification of the continent due to its enlargement policy. The situation in the EU's neighbourhood and beyond was and is different.

2019_10_16_Bild_OECD_Workshop_ST-EZ.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Event: Workshop on industrial strategy and competition policy with the OECD in Paris

Together with the OECD, the "Repair and Prepare" project organised a workshop on industrial strategy and competition policy that took place in Paris on October 16.

AdobeStock_113743079_KONZERN_ST-DA_be.jpg(© © lcchew -

Book Publication: On dealing with minorities in India

India is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world. Its experience in dealing with various minorities offers important insights for other countries as well, as a new study shows.

AdobeStock_238762744_KONZERN_ST-DA.jpeg(© © arrowsmith2 -

Study: India leads in inclusive innovation in Asia

How can innovation promote globally inclusive well-being? The "Inclusive Innovation Atlas" analyzes which Asian countries offer the best conditions for progress and sustainable development – an innovation-driven economy that simultaneously benefits all population segments. India is one of the leaders among the 21 countries surveyed.

Fotolia_128958535_X_122758757_KONZERN_ST-ZDSR.jpg(© © pitsch22; picoStudio -

Analysis: Better than its reputation? The "GroKo" fulfills its promises – and fast

It's halftime in Berlin: In the fall, Germany's federal government will present an interim report regarding the promises it made in the coalition agreement. A recent Bertelsmann Stiftung study already shows the following: In the first 18 months of its government activity, Germany's grand coalition – or "GroKo,"– has already fulfilled or started on two-thirds of its promises. But voters don't see it.

NST19_191026_besimmazhiqi-3.jpg(© Besim Mazhiqi)

Singing Competition: Anna El-Khashem and Long Long win the NEUE STIMMEN 2019

Soprano Anna El-Khashem from Russia and Tenor Long Long from China top the list at the 18th international singing competition NEUE STIMMEN. At the final round in Gütersloh, these young talents enthralled the jury of international opera experts. The three top competitors in the women and men category received cash prizes worth a total of 65,000 euros. Vladislav Buyalskiy from Ukraine won the new introduced Brian Dickie Young Singers Award.

Neue Stimmen 2019(© © Besim Mazhiqi)

SINGING COMPETITION: The finalists for the NEUE STIMMEN 2019 have been selected

Ten opera talents have qualified for the final round of the NEUE STIMMEN International Singing Competiton in Gütersloh. The final concert to be held on October 26, 2019 will be broadcast live on, Takt 1 and arte Concert. 

Neue Stimmen 2019(© Besim Mazhiqi)

Singing Competition: The NEUE STIMMEN 2019 semi-finalists have been selected

18 young opera talents have qualified for the semi-final of the NEUE STIMMEN 2019 international singing competition. We will livestream the concert on Thursday evening from Gütersloh, Germany. There the singers will compete for their participation in the final concert on Saturday.

bob-blob-1442742-unsplash.jpg(© Bob Blob / Unsplash - Unsplash License,

Ahead of U.N. Climate Action Summit: “A Race We Must Win”

Public pressure is ratcheting higher on the climate crisis, with a series of global climate strikes planned for September. But can the upcoming United Nations Summit in New York galvanize change despite international clashes?

AdobeStock_44496853_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpeg(© © Comugnero Silvana -

Study: Multinational firms spreading banking crises could cost UK economy billions

In the EU Single Market, companies operate across national borders with branches throughout Europe. This promotes competition and growth. But firm networks across Europe can help banking crises spread, finds a new study by Bertelsmann Stiftung. A banking crisis abroad would hit the UK economy by up to 30 billion euros annually through foreign firms operating in the UK – and a UK banking crisis due to Brexit would hit European economies equally hard.

shutterstock_423698074_Premier_HR_ST-DA.jpg(© © Shutterstock / Aaz Zys)

Study: Beyond Investment Screening

A new study explores how Europe could expand its toolbox to address economic risks from Chinese state capitalism.

shutterstock_255266638_Premier_ST_ZD_bear.jpg(© © shutterstock / Arthimedes)

Expert Workshop: International organizations under pressure: Scholars and practitioners discuss solutions

Although they are key players in efforts to solve global problems, international organizations are currently facing intense pressure and having to repeatedly demonstrate their legitimacy. At a workshop we recently hosted in Geneva, international experts addressed the issues of how the legitimacy of these organizations can be evaluated and which means are available to strengthen it. The event was jointly organized with the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and the University of Stockholm.

AdobeStock_254311724_KONZERN_ST-EZ_be.jpg(© © tampatra -

Policy Brief: The Single Market, welfare and population size – an analysis of EU countries and regions

The European Single Market brings about significant income gains: for instance, fewer barriers to trade are likely to increase competition and boost the productivity of firms. The income gains also make the participating countries more attractive as a place to live and work. This policy paper simulates changes in population size in the hypothetical event of a dissolution of the Single Market in order to estimate “second round” effects of the Single Market on economic growth.

_R8P2108_Trying_Times_ST-LW.jpg(© © Thomas Kunsch)

Event: Trying Times 2019: Rethinking Social Cohesion

Social cohesion is essential to creating communities that enable an inclusive sense of belonging. The megatrends of globalization, digitalization and demographic change pose challenges to the cohesion that has proved essential to communities around the world. The “Trying Times – Rethinking Social Cohesion” conference held in Berlin September 4-6, 2019 provided a forum for some 80 participants from 22 countries to network as they share their experiences with social cohesion and learn from each other.

IMG_0232.JPG(© © Olga Tanasiychuk)

Lunchtime Expert-Dialogue: "Revolution at the ballot box" in Ukraine 2019: Assessments on future domestic and foreign policy

2019 was a super election year in Ukraine - in March the Ukrainians elected Volodymyr Selenskyy as their president, in July the presidential party "Servants of the People" entered parliament with an absolute majority. With the local elections to follow in 2020, the political system is in a state of flux. But how will the new politicians, managers and deputies shape Ukraine over the next five years?

2019_09_18_BBB7764_Dinner_Dialogue.jpg(© © Philippe Veldeman)

DINNER DIALOGUE: EU politics: Participation is trending

The King Baudouin Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the Bertelsmann Stiftung issued a joint invitation to a DINNER DIALOGUE under the heading “Tomorrow’s EU Democracy – Giving citizens a say” in Brussels on 18 September 2019. 40 decision-makers and “participation pioneers” from various EU institutions, think-tanks and scientific bodies met at the Representation of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg to discuss how to give European citizens a greater say in European policymaking.

OpenDataWorkshop3_ST-LK.jpg(© © Nathan Coyle)

Open-Data-Workshop: Which advantages do open data offer nonprofit organizations?

On September 5, the Smart Country project partnered with the city of Münster to organize a workshop on the topic of open data. Participants collaborated to identify the potential that local-level open data offer nonprofit organizations.

AdobeStock_164314960_KONZERN_Montage_77536254_173988725_ST-VV.jpg(© © Montage: peshkova,, flareimages -

Analysis: Algorithms in Digital Healthcare

They support medical decisions, predict possible effects of drugs or identify signs of mental disorders among users of social media: the spectrum of potential applications of algorithms in health care is growing. However, there is still no societal debate on the opportunities and risks of using algorithms.

AdobeStock_243955159_KONZERN_ST-DA.jpeg(© © Maksim Ksenofontov -

Study: The West has long had its own "Silk Road"

China is propagating its "Belt & Road Initiative" as a development initiative for the Eurasian continent, thereby pursuing geopolitical ambitions. Yet Europe need not feel small in light of China’s efforts. As a comparison of Western and Chinese financial flows reveals: The West is investing just as much in countries of the so-called "Silk Road" and is the better partner for many countries.

AdobeStock_199660639_KONZERN_ST-NW_bearb_oT.jpg(© © denisismagilov -

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2020: Fostering Innovation. Unlocking Potential.

In terms of growth, exports and employment Germany is on solid economic ground. Yet we need more innovation to remain technologically competitive, as well as to solve the most pressing social problems of our time. For this to succeed, innovation and technological progress must always be aligned with our values. We stand for an innovative Germany and Europe that each live up to their full potential.

rock-n-roll-monkey-R4WCbazrD1g-unsplash_be_ST-MT.jpg(© Rock'n Roll Monkey / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Book: We Humans and the Intelligent Machines

The use of algorithms has long since ceased to be science fiction and has become reality. We must therefore re-evaluate the relationship between humans and machines. How does artificial intelligence affect us and our society? Where can algorithms enrich us, where must we put an end to their threatening omnipotence? A new book seeks answers to the most pressing questions.

AdobeStock_208675665_KONZERN_ST-NW_be.jpg(© © browneyesboyua -

G7 summit: French Meeting Takes Aim at Rising Inequality

The next Group of Seven meeting is around the corner and the French President Emmanuel Macron is shining a spotlight on economic polarization. But will the world’s leading politicians be able to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time?

AdobeStock_104624193_KONZERN_ST-NW.jpeg(© © Kenishirotie -

Economic Regulation: Avoiding a Repeat Performance of the Financial Crisis

As economists predict that another global recession is in the wings, have international leaders done their homework in the wake of the last global financial crisis?

AdobeStock_140714758_KONZERN_ST-LK.jpeg(© © -

Study: Digital skills will be more important

What level of digital competency do people in Germany have? A representative survey carried out on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung shows there’s still a considerable need for support – especially among the older Generation.

iStock-1140174202_MPL_be_03_Ausschnitt_ST_LW.jpg(© © Getty Images/iStockphoto/LeoPatrizi)

Religion Monitor: Religious tolerance is widespread – but it does not extend to Islam

In conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Germany's Basic Law, this edition of our Religion Monitor looks at the relationship between religion and political culture. Fundamental democratic principles and values enjoy broad support among members of the various religions. A majority also approve of religious tolerance, which is crucial for peaceful coexistence in a diverse society. However, not all religions are equally included.

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Event: Building bridges for social cohesion - Young Europeans´ Forum 2019

What holds diverse societies together? How can we determine the contours of peaceful, open and solidarity-driven coexistence in a context of diversity? This June, 100 young committed people from across Europe will come together to discuss this issue with activists, politicians and experts at our Young Europeans´ Forum (YEF19) in Berlin. We’re organizing the YEF in cooperation with the Aladdin Project and UNESCO.

10578806904_d816f6633b_o.jpg(© George Pimentel / Canadian Film Centre / Flickr - CC BY 2.0,

Policy Paper: EU Cohesion Policy – A suitable tool to foster innovation?

Across Europe, regions are divided into innovation leaders and laggard regions – the latter referring to places that lag behind in terms of GDP per capita and R&D expenditure. This innovation gap in turn threatens to reinforce existing welfare differences. The EU recently shifted its focus towards funding innovation to deal with these disparities. Is this strategy working?

flickr_2921236378_7898e461cd_o.jpg(© William Murphy, Footbridges Across The Liffey At Sunset / Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0,

Policy Brief: Local infrastructure and economic opportunities: What do Europeans think about their neighbourhood?

In a recent eupinions survey, we set out to explore what people in Europe think about their neighbourhood, the quality of local infrastructure and of economic opportunities in their area. While the results show a generally high degree of satisfaction with living conditions “on the ground”, satisfaction levels differ for example between respondents living in rural and those living in urban areas. What stands out however is the overall pessimistic judgement of economic opportunities for young people.

13_be_Stakeholder_Dialogue_2019_ST-EZ.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Stakeholder Dialogue: A decade of the European Union's Eastern Partnership – Evaluation of the present, shaping the future

The challenges in Eastern Europe relate closely to questions of coexistence in the EU. On May 29, the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s "Future of Europe" program therefore invited participants to a dialogue on the "eastern dimension of the EU," as part of regular cooperation between the Foundation and the EU presidencies, which Romania currently holds.

bob-blob-1442742-unsplash.jpg(© Bob Blob / Unsplash - Unsplash License,

SDG Report 2019: Long in words but short on action: UN sustainability goals are threatened to fail

In 2015, the international community pledged to jointly contribute to better economic, ecological and social development by 2030. In September, the heads of state and government will meet again for the first time to review the situation. The current SDG report shows that while the global community talks a lot about sustainability goals, it does not invest enough in implementing them.

2019_03_20_GSS_Panel_4_be_ST-MT.jpg(© © Global Solutions Initiative/Mathias Rauck)

Panel: Can more Foreign Direct Investments foster Sustainable Development?

In our panel “Fostering Prosperity – FDIs and Demographic Transition” at this year’s Global Solutions Summit in Berlin, we discussed the question of how foreign direct investments can promote economic progress in demographically young developing countries.

AdobeStock_229840871_KONZERN_ST-MT_be.jpg(© © ktsdesign -

T20 Summit: Is Material Prosperity Possible with Demographic Change?

This year’s T20 activities climaxed in the T20 Summit on May 26 and 27, 2019, in Tokyo. At the panel “Promoting Macroeconomic Integrity in the Face of an Aging Population,” Andreas Esche discussed how investments can promote material prosperity during demographic change.

16969008478_36ccc11324_o.jpg(© Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

Policy Brief: The EU can overcome strategic deficits in and around Syria

Since 2015, more than one million Syrians have fled their country for Europe. In order to facilitate their voluntary return, a safe and secure environment grounded in a functioning rule of law must first be established in Syria. In targeting this goal, the EU and its member states should combine their foreign policy instruments and examine carefully the details of Russian, Turkish, Iranian, Saudi Arabian, U.S. and Israeli policies toward Syria. In a new policy brief, individual country experts explain how each of these key states operate in the Middle East and identify which interests Europe can assert – and how.

2019_05_17_EU-Citizens-Dialogue-0149_ST-ZD.jpg(© © Twelve Photographic Services)

EU citizens' dialogue: A Different Kind of EU Summit: Citizens' Dialogue in The Hague

We and the EU Commission issued an invitation to a major event – the EU Citizens' Dialogue in The Hague, which took place about a week before the European Parliament elections. 120 European citizens, chosen at random from five different EU countries, met to discuss one subject in four languages: Europe. Lively cross-border interest in Europe affairs, and the efforts of numerous interpreters, ensured that the event was not a Babylonian confusion of languages, but a genuinely European dialogue.

AdobeStock_86154175_KONZERN_ST-NW.jpeg(© © Björn Wylezich -

Romania's Referendum: A Bid to Combat Corruption

This month's referendum will test Romanian tolerance of corruption. But will it be enough to stall the epidemic of political graft and impunity?

AdobeStock_199660639_KONZERN_ST-NW_bearb_oT.jpg(© © denisismagilov -

Project Description: Fostering Innovation. Unlocking Potential.

In terms of growth, exports and employment Germany is on solid economic ground. Yet we need more innovation to remain technologically competitive, as well as to solve the most pressing social problems of our time. For this to succeed, innovation and technological progress must always be aligned with our values. We stand for an innovative Germany and Europe that each live up to their full potential.

Pexels_electronics-hands-smartphone-141362.jpg(© kote baeza / pexels – Pexels License,

Publication: Sample Data Catalogue: Which open data are Germany’s communities making accessible?

A number of cities and towns in the state of North Rhine–Westphalia are leading the way in Germany in the area of open data. They have been publishing their data for a number of years. Until now, however, no overview has been available of which information is released as open data by Germany’s communities. A sample data catalogue can shed light on this situation. A prototype for North Rhine–Westphalia is now available.

AdobeStock_205549568_KONZERN_ST-NW.jpeg(© © JeanLuc -

Study: EU Single Market boosts per capita incomes by almost 1,000 euros a year

The EU Single Market is the world's largest economic area. On paper, it guarantees the free movement of goods, services, people and capital. But what does the Single Market actually bring to Europeans? A comprehensive study by us has examined the impact of the EU's internal market on real incomes in European regions.

BM_TT-6463.jpg(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Event: Trying Times 2019: Pre-Conference Workshop

From September 4 - 6, 2019, we will be exploring the future of social cohesion at our international conference “Trying Times - Rethinking Social Cohesion” to be held in Berlin. In preparing for this event, the project team held a pre-conference workshop in Berlin in April with a group of personalities invited to take part in the conference this fall.

shutterstock_719906446_Premier_ST-EZ.jpg(© © shutterstock / Spok83)

Commentary: Ukraine as a European oasis of prosperity – Vasyl Holoborodko’s vision proved convincing

More than two-thirds of Ukraine’s voters believe Volodymyr Zelensky can put the country squarely on the path to becoming a modern state – just like Vasyl Holoborodko, the admirable history teacher and recently elected president in Zelensky’s TV series “Servant of the People” did.  

Pixabay_strasbourg-1166650.jpg(© you_littleswine Moritz D. / Pixabay – Pixabay License,

Study: Rejection of parties shapes the voting decisions of Europeans

Our analysis of the European elections has revealed that many Europeans take a negative stance. A majority could therefore vote against certain parties in May, rather than voting for a party. At the same time, supporters of the extreme and Eurosceptic margins are more strongly mobilised than the political centre, which still suffers from voter fatigue. This could shape the election results and make it difficult to form positive majorities in the new EU Parliament.

AdobeStock_168106216_144499710_KONZERN_ST-VV.jpg(© © tinyakov, ohmega1982  -

#SmartHealthSystems: Digital Health: Europe is moving at different speeds

Electronic health records prevent dangerous drug interactions, telemedicine connects doctor and patient no matter where they are, health apps strengthen the chronically ill. In the digital transformation of the healthcare sector, however, European Union Member States are advancing at different speeds.

joshua-sortino-215039-unsplash.jpg(© Joshua Sortino / Unsplash - Unsplash License,

Vision Europe Dialogue 2019: How could we make Europe a pioneer of the fair data economy?

The Vision Europe Dialogue 2019 took place in Helsinki, Finland on 1 and 2 April 2019 to discuss the theme “Making Europe a pioneer of the fair data economy”.

flag_993627_1920_ST-NW.jpg(© jackmac34 / Pixabay - Pixabay License,

European Elections in France: In the Shadow of National Politics

President Emmanuel Macron's call for a "renewal of Europe" made a splash in the media but got a muted reaction from other national leaders. Is his European political offensive in fact a tactical move, aimed to resonate within France as well as beyond its borders?

AdobeStock_187224601_KONZERN_ST-MT.jpeg(© © IRStone -

Study: Brexit: The Weakest Link in the Production Chain?

Germany and the United Kingdom have forged close production networks, which are threatened by Brexit. A new study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung shows in which sectors particularly tight value chains exist and therefore the highest costs are to be expected due to Brexit.

AdobeStock_216409941_KONZERN_ST-CC.jpeg(© © teksomolika -

Eupinions: Europeans are divided on the state of their society

Europeans will primarily determine who set the tone in Brussels and Strasbourg in the future. However, they are divided on their assessment of society and the EU. The pessimists among them have more sympathy for the national-populist movements, while the optimists support pro-European parties. One thing unites both camps, however: The vast majority wants to take part in the European elections.

Gideon_Rachman_ST-DA.jpg(© © Alistair Hall/Weltkiosk)

Asia Briefing: Easternisation – Is Asia’s Rise the West’s Decline?

The Bertelsmann Stiftung invites you to a public lecture by the Asia expert and bestselling author, Gideon Rachman, as part of the "Asia-Pacific Week Berlin 2019": On Tuesday, May 14, 2019
from 18:00 – 20:00 followed by a reception at the Bertelsmann Premises Unter den Linden 1
10117 Berlin

IMG_0123_tunesische_Delegation_ST-EZ.jpg(© © Saloua Hsoumi Ep Majdoub)

Stakeholder Dialogue: Tunisian DCFTA negotiation team meeting in Georgia to share experiences

On DATE, in advance of the fourth round of negotiations on a free trade agreement and deeper economic integration between the EU and Tunisia, 12 representatives of the Tunisian negotiating team and their chairwoman convened in the South Caucasus. The objective of the meeting was to learn more about Georgia’s experience with the EU free trade zone.

pixabay_flag-143157.jpg(© lmaresz / Pixabay - Pixabay License,

Democracy in Hungary: First Signs of Waning Support for Viktor Orbán

Viktor Orbán’s nativist rhetoric and attacks on the constitution and the independent media have triggered international censure, but he has retained his strong standing in Hungary – until now. Has a turning point been reached?

Flickr_114018461601_354f38bb47_o_be_ST-EZ.jpg(© Andrew Malone/Networking/ – CC BY 2.0,

Policy Paper: Tackling practical challenges of EU financial integration

25 years ago, the European Union agreed to complete the European Single Market. Its substantial contribution to growth and prosperity in Europe since then is undisputed. However, some important hurdles are still in place. The policy paper analyses some of the practical challenges to European financial integration that remain.

AdobeStock_172148161_KONZERN_ST-EZ.jpeg(© © tostphoto -

Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to 40 billion euros annually

Our new study examines the impact of Brexit on incomes in Europe. It shows that the British would have to shoulder the biggest income losses. But in export-oriented countries like Germany and France, Brexit would cost citizens billions of euros. The US and China, on the other hand, could even benefit from the British withdrawal.

eutogo_ponattu_und_jasper_ST-EZ.jpg(© © Thomas Lobenwein)

Eu to go special – 07.03.2019: On the way to the EU digital tax?

Today, the ongoing debate on this topic is not only taking place in Brussels, but has also been discussed in our latest edition of the "EU to go spezial" series of events in Berlin.

Bild_1_A_European_unemployment_re-insurance_ST-EZ.JPG(© © Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Report: How do EU citizens feel about an unemployment re-insurance?

At the invitation of the Future of Europe Programme, researchers from the University of Amsterdam presented a new survey: Citizens are in favour of an EU-wide instrument against unemployment. The Bertelsmann Stiftung had previously calculated the macroeconomic effects of a European reinsurance scheme.

EU-Demonstration_London_32881934188_4ab01848ee_o.jpg(© Jonathan Cronin / LeoLondon / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

eupinions: We'll be fine. How people in the EU27 view Brexit

The political drama called Brexit leaves observers in London fascinated, appalled or exhausted. Whereas in the UK, the tension seems to intensify with every twist and turn the British take on their way out of the European Union, Europeans on the continent seem to be surprisingly detached. They support their country's membership in the EU in ever greater numbers, and calmly carry on with their daily business.  

Foto_EU_to_go_spezial_Paul_Dittrich_ST-EZ.jpg(© © Jacques Delors Institute Berlin / Paul-Jasper Dittrich)

Eu to go spezial – 06.02.2019: How are you doing, Europe? Mapping social imbalances in the EU

How is Europe currently doing? This question was at the heart of our new edition of “EU to go spezial”, which focused on social imbalances in the EU.

IMG_0054_Lunch_Expert_Debate_2019_ST-EZ.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Conference: Assessing Ukraine's Anti-Corruption Results Since the Euromaidan

Five years ago, at the Euromaidan and several other Maidans across the country, the people of the sovereign state of Ukraine impressively demonstrated their decision in favour of a future of European values, fundamental rights and the rule of law. Fighting corruption has been one of the driving powers of the Revolution of Dignity and, according to opinion polls in the run up to the upcoming election, remains a priority for Ukrainians.

louis-reed-779919-rodion-kutsaev-79994-unsplash.jpg(© Montage: Louis Reed, Rodion Kutsaev / Unsplash – Unsplash License,

Trilogue Salzburg 2019: Fragmented Realities - Regaining a Common Understanding of Truth

Mis- and disinformation, propaganda and manipulation have always been part of human communication – they are as old as the lies one is sometimes tempted to tell. 

_R8P5896_YEF19_ST-LW.jpg(© © Thomas Kunsch)

Event: Building bridges for social cohesion: Young Europeans’ Forum 2019

Social cohesion doesn’t happen by itself – it has to be actively shaped. How to achieve that goal was the topic discussed by 100 socially committed young adults from 24 European countries at our Young Europeans’ Forum (#YEF19) on “Building bridges for social cohesion,” held from June 25 to 27 in Berlin. The Bertelsmann Stiftung organized the #YEF19 together with the Aladdin Project and in cooperation with UNESCO.