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Digital communication platforms make innovation champions

Export-intensive medium-sized companies that add considerable value in their own company, so-called “added value champions”, were surveyed. They could drive innovation in a more focused manner, above all through open digital platforms.

08 Apr. 2018
HMI-ID03-080he
Digital communication platforms make innovation champions (Picture: ChampNet)

In a telephone survey as part of an empirical study , the partners of the BMBF joint project ChampNet investigated key success factors. The core results were discussed with the industry partners Wilo , Sartorius and BMW and the research partners ( Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and Bundeswehr University Munich ) in a recent workshop in Lüneburg . The results were highly surprising.

“What does innovative capability consist of?” This general question is the starting point for the study. The significance of five innovation characteristics for the added-value champions was surveyed: problem-solving competence, overview competence, integration competence, network competence and pioneer competence. The result is no great surprise. All the innovation-relevant competence bundles are either ‘very important’ or ‘important’ for more than 70% of the surveyed companies. Companies that consider themselves global market leaders in their field believe the innovation characteristics of ‘overview competence’ and ‘integration competence’ are particularly decisive for a company’s success.

One rather surprising survey result is that companies with more than 50 employees in particular believe that their staff have significant, as yet concealed and untapped competency potentials (all companies: 48%). That makes it all the more astonishing that this employee potential for innovative contributions has not been pursued by setting up digital innovation and competence platforms. Although more than half of the companies use an IT-based platform to support their cross-departmental or cross-divisional innovation processes, only 15% operate an open-format IT platform that enables external parties to access the innovation process and appropriately enhances it. The surveyed companies have a rather skeptical view of the advantages of open innovation platforms. Only just over a third would expect input from external parties to bring any real benefit.