According to the Roman philosopher Seneca, progress essentially consists in progress want, According to a study, Germany could lack that.
In the Innovation Indicator 2020 of the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI), the country still ranks fourth among the most innovative economies behind Switzerland, Singapore and Belgium. Economically, it also performs better than in 2019.
However, there is cause for concern overall, because the index uses indicators to show the entire breadth of an innovation system. And in the four other areas of science, education, government and society examined alongside the economy, the development was less positive.
Overall, according to the study, a downward trend in the dynamics of German innovations has been observed since 2014. In contrast to smaller countries in terms of area, Germany also lacks openness to foreign technologies, according to the study – this would create incentives for innovation. So it is hardly surprising that Germany is nowhere among the top group of the 35 economies examined.
“Germany’s dynamic of innovation threatens to slide into the middle of the field,” said BDI President Dieter Kempf. “Compared to our competitors, we are treading water.” According to the study, Germany is losing in the area of science, for example, so excellent research must be promoted more. Kempf called on the federal government to develop “clever instruments” so that the planned increase in research funding also works.
Distance to Belgium is growing
Despite good economic development, Germany has not been able to make any progress in innovations for years and the gap to third place Belgium (60 index points) is growing. In 2010 Germany still had 57 points, in 2015 it was 55, now there are only 54. For the ranking, for example, public and private education expenditure per student or the share of expenditure on research and development in the gross domestic product were analyzed. A total of 38 individual indicators were analyzed across all areas detected.
The survey drawn up by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) with the Center for European Economic Research recommends, among other things, investments in research on artificial intelligence, young professionals and tax breaks for research and development in companies.
China is again ranked 26th in the ranking. The authors write: “The high ambitions of Chinese innovation policy continue to be limited to lighthouse technologies without broad impact.”
In Germany, in turn, a lack of innovative capacity is likely to affect small and medium-sized companies in particular. A representative study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung recently revealed this. They would have to invest more – otherwise “hundreds of companies and thousands of employees could slide to the side”, said the innovation atlas.
Small and medium-sized businesses are particularly important for the German economy: they employ almost 58 percent of all employees subject to social security nationwide. In Germany, however, only a few companies currently have the necessary innovative strength to secure their competitive position in the long term.