Innovation is the driving force behind industrial success. Knowledge workers are increasingly critical for the innovative power of industry. This applies not only for workers in research and development departments, but along a company’s entire value chain. A continuous education, training and professional development system is therefore crucial for a prosperous place of industry.
Global competition amongst industrial countries is, to a great extent, competition in terms of innovation. This is because innovations are the key to solving our economic, ecological and social problems.
The Hessen Business Association has compellingly described the climate in which innovation thrives using ten general principles:
- Innovation needs continuous idea management.
- Innovation needs unwavering drive to implement business ideas.
- Innovation requires the entire organisation.
- Innovation needs courage to take quick action.
- Innovation needs on a policy of small steps.
- Innovation needs training and lifelong professional development.
- Innovation needs a corporate culture that promotes innovation.
- Innovation needs healthy collaboration between business and government.
- Innovation needs highly functional cooperation between business and science.
- Innovation needs innovation networks.
Within this competitive culture, Hessen is already positioned in an excellent way. So that this remains the case, employees and companies as well as decision makers from business, science, and government all have a part to play.
Currently, approximately 90 per cent of all research and development activities within the German economy are initiated by the industrial sector – this is where innovation happens. Despite a few large companies that serve as important anchors within the industrial sector because of their demand, industry in Hessen is generally characterized by medium-sized businesses.
The R&D in this sector has less to do with basic research and much more to do with research focused on markets and customers. The advantage of this kind of development work lies in the quick ‘time to market’, while the disadvantage is the short-term nature of the competitive advantages achieved in this way. Both of the following are important for the further development of industry in Hessen:
- Needs-based further development of existing value creation with the main goal of meeting complex demand in order to maintain competitive advantages for longer. This is first and foremost the responsibility of industry, along with the related service providers themselves.
- All this must be supplemented by greater efforts towards and funding for innovation that is geared towards future-oriented topics. With the development of the Innovation Strategy 2020, the State of Hessen is already integrating and strengthening efforts in this area, while building on an already dynamic and highly performing research landscape in Hessen.