Corporate innovation is more than just a business challenge. Particularly in times of crisis, economic and societal sustainability depends on companies being willing and able to change, and on their ability to stimulate transformation – even beyond the economic sphere – through their innovation.
Innovation is therefore the key to creating a climate-neutral and resource-conserving economic system. By contrast, weak innovation activity hinders economic growth and societal change, increases dependencies, and inhibits socio-ecological transformation. Not every innovation brings positive societal change, but without innovation, societal change risks coming to a standstill.
It is therefore worrying that innovative capability and activity have steadily declined, particularly among German SMEs. According to the KfW, Germany’s state-owned investment bank, only 22% of German SMEs can today be regarded as innovators, just half the level seen 15 years ago. Innovative German companies are now clustered in seven milieus.