14. June 2016

Innovation is the key to business success

What role does innovation play in the success of businesses? This was the main question addressed at the 78th Annual Meeting of the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB), which took place on May 18, 2016 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Strengthening cooperation between science and business

At the opening of the conference, Bertram Brossardt, Chief Executive Officer of the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw), emphasized that cooperation between research institutions and the business world must be strengthened further in order to maximize the commercial value of scientific findings and to apply them in the real world.

Brossardt also highlighed the work of the Council for the Future of the Bavarian Economy, which was established two years ago by the vbw and which is chaired by Alfred Gaffal, President of the vbw, and by Professor Dr. Wolfgang Herrmann, President of TUM.

Innovations are vital to the discussions of the Council for the Future. In particular, the Council aims to guide small and medium-sized businesses through the technological challenges of the coming years.

Moreover, Brossardt said that the vbw and TUM joined forces to create the Competence Center Mittelstand (Kompetenzzentrum Mittelstand GmbH) to initiate, shape and finance research and development projects across all industries.

Embracing the digital challenge

The point that innovation is a key enabler in business in the 21st century was also underlined by Dr Wolfgang Büchele, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. In his remarks, he said that Germany is an innovation leader in many areas and that Munich offers one of the best clusters for the Internet of Things. However, he also warned that other regions – Asia in particular – are catching up fast.

To make sure not to fall behind, Germany and Europe must successfully embrace digitalization. Studies have found that the German desire for perfection often gets in the way of companies’ bringing new business models and ideas to market maturity.

Dr. Büchele explained that the first digital revolution saw analogue products being digitized, for example photos, films, books and music. Today, though, we are in the middle of the second wave in which services, processes and workflows are being changed by digital media.

This second wave is marked by the emergence of new business models with the power to sweep away entire companies – including universities who now face the competition of online academies.

He closed by saying that all established companies and organizations must remain flexible, anticipate market trends early and get close to their customers to succeed in the digital age.


Dr. Lutz Korndörfer

Hochschule, Projekte

Lutz Korndörfer