The aim of this project is to discuss the perspectives for innovation in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany for the 2015 to 2025 period to identify major trends and challenges. The project focuses on three main groups of research questions:
(1) Which developments and trends will influence SMEs in the next ten years in terms of new technologies (e.g. digitalisation), new ways of managing innovation processes, new markets and changes in the competitive environment?
(2) Which factors support or hamper the utilisation of new opportunities for innovation in the SME sector? How do structures, processes and organisational features in SMEs match with up-coming innovation trends and which changes need to take place in SMEs in order to cope with new challenges)
(3) How can enterprises, industry associations and policy shape framework conditions for innovative SMEs in Germany in order to increase the SMEs’ innovation performance in future? In addition to the management of innovation as such, other issues such as education and training, co-operation arrangements and investment in infrastructure will be considered here.
From a methodological point of view, the study combines quantitative approaches (including existing firm-level data and a new survey of SMEs) with qualitative methods of trend research (Delphi survey, expert interviews).

Selected Publications


Astor, Michael, Christian Rammer, Cordula Klaus and Georg Klose (2016), Innovativer Mittelstand 2025 – Herausforderungen, Trends und Handlungsempfehlungen für Wirtschaft und Politik, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, Berlin. Download