This is the finding of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (institute for SME research, IfM) in Bonn, which each year publishes up-to-date data from SMEs in Germany, together with an EU comparison. The IfM investigates , among other things, activities relating to technological product, service, and process innovations and non-technological organization and marketing innovations, drawing on the data collected every two years for the European Union’s Community Innovation Survey (CIS).
According to the Bonn-based institute, in 2014, approximately 22% of SMEs optimized their internal technological processes; in 2016, this figure had risen to almost 26%. In the same period, however, the percentage of SMEs launching their product and service innovations on the market fell (2014: 33%; 2016: 30%). This could be attributable to the digitalization of production processes. The transition to Industry 4.0 appears to be taking up most of the human and financial resources available to SMEs for innovations.