“Focusing on strategic topics has had a positive impact”

Katja Lasch © DWIH Neu-Delhi

Dr. Katja Lasch, Director of DWIH New Delhi, on strategic priorities and current developments at her institution – and the standing the DWIH New Delhi has achieved among Indian partners.

Dr. Lasch, in order to strategically prepare your 2022 programme at DWIH New Delhi, you held a number of informal discussion sessions as early as 2021 with the aim of positioning yourself in India by focusing on specifically selected topics. Did this approach pay off?

Yes, it was a successful strategy – as was illustrated by three events in particular. In addition to providing broad-based information and promoting Indo-German networking, we organised theme-based panel discussions at the very beginning of 2022 as part of our online Indo-German Research Day, and these were received very well. We also came up with the idea of an invitation-only online dialogue with experts focusing on the topic area of small and medium-sized enterprises and on opportunities for collaboration and technology transfer between India and Germany – as well as running an online discussion on the subject of science communication. Thanks to the brainstormings and discussions held previously, we were able to ensure these dialogues were focused and we could get the “who’s who” of the German and Indian research and innovation scene as experts for them.

How did the external perception of DWIH New Delhi develop in 2022?

As before, it is important for us to work with a holistic approach. This means we continue to provide information and to ensure a broad outreach with our open events such as the Indo-German Research Day. But we balance this well by applying a thematically focused perspective in our information work, too. We no longer focus our activities just around events. We focus on strategically defined topics for longer periods of time and systematically develop our activities, including networks and communication work on it. This has definitely had a positive impact. It has significantly raised the visibility of our public events and our media work, too. Noteworthy is a really nice boost in interaction on our social media channels, overall engagement and performance. One thing that has proven particularly effective is the interactive material such as interviews, clips, photos we produce during our events which are also posted on our media.

What other key developments are happening at DWIH New Delhi?

After the pandemic became endemic, one major point for us in 2022 was to try out which events were better suited to being held online or on site in the long term. We tested various event types to find out the strategy that was best for us and our target group. What is remarkable is the excellent reputation we’ve earned as an institution in India in the field of the internationalisation of entrepreneurship: we’ve managed to firmly establish the DWIH as one of the important stakeholders in this topic.

What is it exactly that has brought about this more deeply rooted success in the field of entrepreneurship?

I would highlight a couple of reasons: We have narrowed down the topics and formats for events, for eg. expert discussions and workshops by invitation. This has allowed us to progress to a level where you’re not just conveying information but actually producing concrete outcomes. One concrete example of this is the Innovators Connect Tandem project we developed with our partner incubators. Entrepreneurs from Germany and India met in India for ten days to engage in dialogue and work on innovative ideas. One of the ideas was taken ahead faster than expected – and the first patent has already been filed. The success of our focused work in this field is also evident from the fact that I was invited to a major entrepreneurship event in December organised by KIIT-Technology Business Incubator in Bhubaneswar. I was on a panel on Global Start-up Networking alongside key persons from the Indian entrepreneurship scene. A great outcome of our entrepreneurship related activities was my appointment as Co-Chair of the Taskforce Alliances as part of the “G20 Startup and Engagement Group”. This is great motivation for me to continue pursuing our strategic approach at DWIH New Delhi in 2023.

Interview: Bettina Mittelstrass