German industrial enterprises most innovative in the EU

In terms of the innovative strength of its industry Germany is top in the EU as well as in comparison with Asian industrialized countries like Japan or South Korea. The recent “Innovationserhebung 2006” study conducted on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research revealed that there is no other European country in which there are as many innovative industrial enterprises as in Germany.

Also in terms of turnover generated on the basis of new innovative products Germany is leading in the EU. In the year 2005 German companies spent 106.8 billion Euros on innovations and in 2006 this amount was even increased to 108.1 billion Euros. For the year 2007 experts expect similarly high investments in this respect.

According to experts, one reason for Germany’s top position in Europe is the high innovative power of small and medium-sized entities. In Germany the number of SMEs launching new products and introducing new production processes is higher than in any other country. Thus, besides reduced unit labour costs innovations are a crucial pillar of Germany´s success in the export business.

Nevertheless, experts warn Germany not to rest on its laurels. In their opinion Germany’s top position has to be secured by always new innovations. Therefore it is worrying that the pace of innovation efforts is decreasing as was also revealed by the study. According to companies another wave of innovations was rather unlikely in 2007.

The study was conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research in co-operation with the Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung as well as the infas-Institut für angewandte Sozialwissenschaft. About 20.000 industrial companies were questioned in the course of this study.

Detailed findings are available for free-of-charge download. GERMAN