How we became who we are
It all started with the realization that non-profit organizations need a specific kind of consulting. With this idea in mind, Rudi Piwko founded SOCIUS in 1998 as a non-profit corporation supported by the legendary inventor, Prof. Artur Fischer. In this initial stage, practical tasks such as fundraising and public relations were the main focus. With the help of the Theodor Heuss Foundation (Hildegard Hamm-Brücher), the Robert Bosch Foundation and Stiftung Mitarbeit, SOCIUS undertook its first consulting projects in Germany and Eastern Europe.
As our team expanded – Christian Baier and Andreas Knoth joined in 2002, and Nicola Kriesel and Kerstin Engelhardt in 2005 – we were able to extend our services to include more process-oriented topics such as team development and mediation. In 2009, our legal status was adjusted to reflect our expanding structure; all our consultants became co-owners of the non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH). This increased stability fuelled the idea of initiating SOCIUS spin-offs under the umbrella of the newly established legal form, the SOCIUS cooperative. Hence, in 2010 new branches were founded in Hamburg, Cologne and Munich.
However, after three years, we concluded that this ambitious plan had overstrained our capacities and that the key element of our collective efforts – personal relationships and exchange – could not be scaled up indefinitely. Whilst we maintain professionally connected to our colleagues across Germany, we have now shifted our focus to the sustainable organic growth of our Berlin team. Since 2005, SOCIUS has provided trainees and interns with a professional home and learning space, and this will continue for the foreseeable future.
In 2010, Ralph Piotrowski, Joana Ebbinghaus and Britta Loschke joined the team bringing with them additional competencies and new perspectives. At the same time, a generation change took place as Andreas Knoth and Christian Baier became the new managers of SOCIUS, taking over from founder Rudi Piwko. This development, like most of the processes we support, required a mixture of respect for history and an orientation towards the capacity to act within new structures. The SOCIUS cooperative, as a political model of equal co-determination, constitutes the main compass and framework for the internal development of our cooperation. It provides scope for further development from the pioneering phase towards a model in which all stake-holders jointly assume responsibility and define their roles.
In slow ‘organic’ cycles, SOCIUS has developed into a robust and consistent organization without losing any of its dynamism or agility. A mix of public tenders, self-initiated development processes, active acquisitions, as well as both tailor-made and open-entry training courses have ensured a healthy balance of work, both in terms of content and financial stability.
Our changes in location have also reflected our organization’s growth. So far, we have moved to new premises every eight years: our first office in Charlottenburg was 70sqm (1998-2006). We doubled our office space when we moved across the street in 2014. Now, we breathe life into a spacious 220sqm of centrally located office space next to the Landwehr canal in Kreuzberg. Our seminar rooms and lounge with a wood-burning stove provide an inspiring ambience for professional exchange and social encounters.
We have a continuing ‘desire for development’ and wish to expand moderately by incorporating two or three new colleagues and exploring new working forms and fields. In addition, SOCIUS regularly offers trainee positions. Our current trainee, Simon Mohn, complements our team through his endeavors to experiment with different media and means of presentation.
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SOCIUS Organisationsberatung gemeinnützige GmbH
Tempelhofer Ufer 21, 10963 Berlin
Tel: +49 +30 40 30 10 2 - 0 (Main line)
Fax: +49 +30 40 30 10 2 - 20
Team members and direct dial telephone numbers:
Christian Baier - 24
Joana Ebbinghaus - 29
Kerstin Engelhardt - 26
Andreas Knoth - 23
Nicola Kriesel - 25
Denise Noerenberg (Accountent) - 27
Dr. Ralph Piotrowski - 25
Dr. Rudi Piwko - 22
Personal Email: [Surname]@socius.de