Innovation Study: Number of Participations in Startups Stagnating

  • As in the previous year, every tenth industrial company invested in a young technology company
  • In almost 40 percent of the companies, the willingness to take risks is low or virtually nonexistent

The biggest challenge currently facing German industry managers is the need to differentiate themselves. Nevertheless, the number of networks with innovative startup companies did not increase compared to 2015. In 2016, as in the previous year, eleven percent of industrial companies invested in young technology companies. Instead, the number of networks with customers promoting innovation grew vis-à-vis the prior year. These are the results of the study “Industry Innovation Index 2016” conducted by the Forsa institute. In the study, commissioned by the special chemicals group ALTANA, 500 managers and entry-level professionals were surveyed.

“Established industrial companies can learn a lot from startups”

An important prerequisite for investing in startups is a willingness to take risks. But according to the study, business courage is less widespread in German companies than other innovation-promoting measures. Only 9 percent of the managers consider this aspect to be very strong in their company, while 38 percent considered it to be weak or not pronounced at all. Unconventional thinking and action, and targeted use of external knowledge, were the measures implemented for an innovation culture that finished in second-to-last and third-to-last place, respectively. This is another indication that cooperation between established industrial companies and innovative startups needs to be reconsidered.

“The challenge is to continually reinvent yourself in order to remain innovative. In this regard, established industrial companies can learn a lot from startups. The prerequisite is a corporate culture that is open to the new and to different opinions,” says Martin Babilas, the CEO of ALTANA, summing up.

Background to the “Industry Innovation Index” study

In the spring of 2016, the market research institute Forsa conducted 500 telephone interviews with representatives of industrial companies with at least 250 employees for a study commissioned by the specialty chemicals company ALTANA. A total of 250 management board members, managing directors, and division heads were interviewed. In parallel, Forsa surveyed 250 entry-level professionals from industrial companies aged 18 to 35 with one to five years of professional experience.

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ALTANA is a global leader in true specialty chemicals. The Group offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and packaging industries, the cosmetics sector and the electrical and electronics industry. The product range includes additives, special coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins and varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments. ALTANA's four divisions, BYK Additives & Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, ELANTAS Electrical Insulation, and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants, all occupy a leading position in their target markets with respect to quality, product solution expertise, innovation and service.

Headquartered in Wesel, Germany, the ALTANA Group has 47 production facilities and more than 50 service and research laboratories worldwide. Throughout the Group about 6,000 people work to ensure the worldwide success of ALTANA. In 2015, ALTANA achieved sales of more than 2 billion euros. About 6 percent of sales are invested in research and development every year. Its high earning power and high growth rate make ALTANA one of the most innovative, fastest growing, and profitable chemical companies in the world.