German industry gets lost in innovation projects – Study

July 27, 2015 | News Germany

75 percent of industrial companies complain about too many parallel innovation projects. A major problem is a massive investment in activities that after a long advanced development phase prove little suitable for the market. On the other hand, there is often a lack of capacities for really promising innovations: Almost every other company has not enough qualified staff with the skills and expertise to advance innovations. This is what the Staufen Management Consultancy found in its 2015 Innovation Study. More than 150 German industrial enterprises were surveyed about this. Nine out of ten companies see innovations as crucial step for success. However, not many are able to achieve the objective of launching ever more new products within ever shorter periods of time. “For innovation in particular, there is a wide divergence between theory and practice,” explains Martin Haas, Executive Board member at Staufen AG. “Most industrial companies know that new products, processes or business models are extremely important for their success, but on the way there, they often hold themselves back.” This is evident in another result of the study: 45 percent of those questioned admitted to a lack of internal flexibility in their work on innovations. In that way they are insufficiently able to direct capacities quickly towards promising new projects. “Even though this may at first sound contradictory: creativity in the work on innovation follows a structured process. The aim must be to derive promising projects from a wealth of ideas within a short period of time in order to start as quickly as possible on the actual development. There is no contradiction between efficiency and creativity in this Lean approach to innovation. On the contrary, by complementing each other, they ensure that more new products achieve market maturity,” continues Staufen Executive Board member Haas. A structured approach generally also goes hand-in-hand with a significantly higher number of ideas, because each innovation project starts with a thorough analysis. This involves the systematic identification of opportunities, for example with the help of a trend radar. The central focus in all of this is always on customer benefits. “Most successful innovations are guided by customer or market requirements and not by what is technically possible. This is not always the easiest approach for engineers enthusiastic about technology,” Haas concludes. 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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