Today, Baden-Württemberg is a leading high-tech location in Europe. Its industrial landscape is characterised by highly specialised technology companies that are often world leaders in their respective market segments - "hidden champions". Today, however, these often medium-sized companies face enormous challenges, triggered among other things by the effects of rapidly advancing globalization and digitization.
As a result of these developments, markets are changing more and more dynamically and radically. The resulting complexity and uncertainty requires companies to be able to efficiently optimize today's well-known core business (incremental innovation) and to test and build possible new business models of tomorrow with transformational innovation initiatives (strategic innovation). If an organizational transformation through strategic innovation does not succeed, the dynamics in the competitive environment can quickly become a threat to existence.
Transformation initiatives are aimed at building competencies and skills, some of which are far removed from current core competencies and require organizational transformation. Therefore, due to the high uncertainty in (possible) new fields of business and technology, neither the quality of the market opportunity nor the probability of implementation success can be estimated well for these initiatives. Therefore, transformational innovation initiatives work in an environment of high ambiguity and must generate new knowledge through "trial and error" in order to reduce this uncertainty.
Today, the parallel use of such experiments can be observed with increasing frequency in large-scale industry - e.g. Daimler's incubator 'Lab1886' and innovation hub 'FC Think Tank' as well as Telecom's incubator 'Hub:raum' and accelerator 'Uqbate'. These different entrepreneurial innovation initiatives - so-called Corporate Venturing (CV) forms - should support the transformation strategy in different ways. Their networking and coordination, however, represent a challenge that has not yet been mastered - not to mention the question of whether and how these CV experiments actually contribute to the implementation of the transformation strategy.
Small and medium-sized technology enterprises (SMEs) can hardly afford such broad, rather unsystematic and resource-intensive "organisational experiments" because of their typical scarcity of resources and capital. Therefore, they experiment, if at all, with individual forms - without giving guidance as to whether the chosen CV form is actually suitable for the respective objective, whether another possibly more suitable or a certain combination of several CV forms would be more target-oriented. It is therefore not surprising that SMEs are left behind by large industry in the digital transformation. To change this, the allocation of resources for transformative initiatives must be made more efficient for SMEs and suitable organisational structures must be developed.
The motivation of this initiative is to build an innovative bridge from the first experiences of large-scale industry from experiments to implement different CV forms in the specific requirements and challenges of SMEs. This is considered to be highly relevant and significant for strengthening the competitiveness of our industrial landscape by the most important technology companies in Baden-Württemberg (large industry as well as small and medium-sized enterprises). For this reason, the applicant has already won the support of these companies (Mahle, STIHL, Bosch, Aesculap, among others), the economic initiative Baden Württemberg: Connected (bwcon) and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Hochrhein-Bodensee, Ulm), which is so relevant for medium-sized companies.