DACH Innovation Landscape Study

Insights on corporate innovation from 104 companies headquartered in the DACH-region.


The Focus Of The Study

The survey data was collected from senior managers (mainly Innovation or Digitalization managers) across 104 companies averaging over 1,000 employees and over €500m in revenue. Each participant responded to 35 closed and open-ended questions about how their company drives innovation. Questions were focused on the areas of

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Innovation Governance

How do DACH corporates govern their innovation activities?
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How do DACH corporates take advantage of the innovation power of their own employees?
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Open Innovation

How do DACH corporates work with startups and other corporates?

Innovation Governance

Top-level management support is crucial for the success of DACH innovation projects.

Top-level management support is seen as a key aspect of success in intrapreneurship as stated by 79% of study participants, with 53% also stressing its importance in open innovation with startups. Therefore, top-level management should be responsible for providing the long-term, strategically aligned direction and the necessary resources to scale up innovation efforts.

Governance structures vary strongly between DACH corporates with rise in Innovation Labs.

10% of study respondents operate innovation without a clear strategy and only one dedicated person. On the other hand more than 25% of corporates have a clear strategy with timeline and measurable KPIs. In terms of team we also see a strong variety. Most corporates operate cross-units teams with a trend to build larger entities and teams outside the core business. This gives innovation a place for experimentation while acting within the boundaries of the long-term strategy.


German companies are leading the way in intrapreneurship.

Overall, the majority of DACH companies have at least tried once to innovate with the power of their own employees through intrapreneurship. Companies headquartered in Germany are leading the way with 87% pro- viding employees time, space or resources to act like an entrepreneur within the orga- nization. In contrast, only 84% of corporates in Austria and 56% in Switzerland engage in this practice.

Employees need time, resources and flexibility to drive ventures inside the firm.

The majority of companies offer employees budgets (63%), mentorship opportunities (51%) and dedicated time (51%) to work on their own ideas. However, the results show that few companies actually allow their employees to develop their own ventures full time and with a dedicated team with interdisciplinary skills. Together, with top level management support, this is however, seen as critical for success.

Collaboration With Startups

Pitching and Hackathons are used for Scouting, Accelerators for Collaboration.

The study showed that collaboration with startups happens in two stages:
Firstly, get to know the right partners and secondly starting initial PoCs and pilot projects.
Most used formats are Hackathons and startup competitions while Accelerators are widely used to start several PoCs at once. With 40% of corporates using CVC we also see a growing trend in corporate investments.

Startup Engagement – Long-term collaborations are accelerating.

While a few years ago, startup collaboration was mainly a Marketing activity, the study results show that today collaboration is the main goal of startup engagement. With a strong focus on developing new products and services, corporates report positive outcomes also in the area of new processes, markets and cultural change within the company.

Multi-Corporate Innovation

Multi-Corporate face tough times to find the right partners to build innovation ecosystems.

Multi-Corporate Innovation is still a rather new concept for many large firms in the DACH region. Nevertheless, we see that already 48% of DACH corporate engage to build innovation ecosystems with their peers. The study found that while product innovation is the goal number #1, finding the right partner with similar goals and way or working is the biggest blocker to success.

More detailed insights

& best practice cases from corporates as well as tipps from innovation heroes in the final report.

Study Participants

Among others the following companies participated:

Get The DACH Innovation Landscape Study

DACH Innovation Landscape Study

Read corporate innovation insights about startup collaboration and intrapreneurship based on a study with 140+ DACH corporates