Wellbeing in the West

The Nürnberg company xit has had a branch office in Berlin‘s City West for six years

Die Gesellschafter von xit: Prof. Klaus Schellberg, Prof. Bernd Halfar, Stefan Löwenhaupt (v.l.) Foto: xit GmbH

The Hackescher Markt area was too conventional, recalls Stefan Löwenhaupt. It only had those typical, old-school offices. But things were different on the west side of Berlin, in the heart of Schöneberg, in the Bülowbogen industrial park right behind Gleisdreieck. Löwenhaupt remembers the moment as a stroke of luck. Today, he‘s still raving about the location: „We feel right at home here.“ The ‚we‘ he‘s referring to is the Berlin branch office of the Nürnberg company xit GmbH. Six years ago, the Franconians opened an office in the Bülowbogen. Back then, a funding program called „Using Social Inclusion to Avoid Prison“ was being initiated by twelve social agencies and launched in Brandenburg. The program was designed to re-socialize convicts and individuals just out of jail by means of work and training programs. The experts at xit coordinated the project – and they‘re still doing it today, six years later. „For a long-term project such as this, it was necessary for us to be on-site,“ explains the managing director.

xit – at first, it sounds like exit. But the intention of the name is exactly the opposite. It‘s about sustainability and innovation. The company was founded exactly 30 years ago. Back then, a total of seven individuals employed at the University of Bamberg as economists, industrial engineers and sociologists got together to launch a research association known as Gesellschaft für sozialverträgliche Innovation und Technologie (Society for Socially Responsible Innovation and Technology). GSIT for short. Or also xit. In the early years, they developed concepts for ecological urban renovations, building-biological databases and prevention strategies for Bundesliga clubs, including 1. FC Nürnberg. „Today, traditional management consultancy in the social economy is one of our core brands,“ explains Löwenhaupt. Indeed, if there is one thing our social economy does not lack, it‘s idealism. But idealism alone is not enough to successfully operate a facility for the disabled, a nursing center or a retirement home. These things involve personnel planning, processes, IT, controlling and marketing. And it‘s precisely in these areas that the company provides nationwide assistance, strategies and concepts. „Our goal is always to improve quality for the individuals who take advantage of social offerings. And, if possible, to do so in a cost-neutral manner.“ For example, when an individual lives in a home and orders his lunch himself via a computer system, it is supposedly more efficient. But it‘s not necessarily better. Especially not when that person can‘t even operate the system. This kind of approach is not quality-neutral. We have to ask ourselves, who is benefiting from doing it this way or that way?“ he explains.

But Löwenhaupt and his colleagues provide more than just advisory services. They make it possible to „measure impact.“ Using social-return-on-investment studies. „There is a preconceived notion that every euro that goes to social projects is a wasted euro,“ says the managing director. The studies published by xit prove the opposite.

Stefanie Paul
Kluge Köpfe 2015