German industry too conservative in research and development

September 15, 2015 | News Germany

Almost two thirds of German industrial companies describe themselves as innovation pioneers. However, hardly any companies as yet devote any time to so-called disruptive innovations that permit entirely new business models. Traditional product innovations still hold the top of the agenda in development departments. This is evident in the 2015 innovation study conducted by the Staufen consultancy. More than 150 German industrial enterprises were surveyed about this. 70 percent of companies currently work intensively on product innovations. 44 percent currently also research new systems and processes. But only 18 percent are also concerned with possible new business models. “Companies currently experience great uncertainty in their innovation effort. They are aware that Industry 4.0 and digitalisation will also result in massive changes to their own industrial sector. But they don’t know how best to approach these topics and how to prepare for these new times with innovations,” explains Martin Haas, Executive Board member at the Staufen AG consultancy. “Terms such as ‘disruptive innovations’ cause a great deal of confusion especially in small and medium-sized enterprises.” With a few exceptions, companies still place their trust in incremental innovations. They improve existing products and technologies or make them cheaper and more efficient. “However, that is not enough for companies these days. In their innovative effort, they have to focus on how disruptive innovations can turn their market inside out and provide it with new rules. It is pertinent to keep such developments in mind, however unrealistic and unusable they may appear at first glance,” Martin Haas emphasises. Developing such innovations themselves before it is too late thus becomes a crucial matter of survival for small and medium-sized companies, too. Even if many of them have not got as far at present – the starting position for German industry is a favourable one. With Apple, Google and Co., they share an unconditional passion for innovation. A total of 62 percent of companies described themselves as innovation pioneers. Only one in three companies prefers to leave innovation to its competitors and then to follow suit. The study can be requested from the address below: Press graphics on the topic of innovations are available from:    Award and innovations forum for GERMAN INDUSTRY: At the GERMAN INDUSTRY innovations forum in Stuttgart on 3 and 4 November, experts from companies and science show how medium-sized companies can make new products, services or business models ready for the market in a better and faster way. At the same time the “GERMAN INDUSTRY Prize for Innovation” will be awarded for the first time. Outstanding, application-related innovations from medium-sized companies will receive awards. Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, is the patron. For more information about the event, please go to:

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