Innovation in SMEs – measurement and performance

The objective of this study is to assess the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to innovation in Germany. The paper reviews the empirical literature on SMEs' innovation activities and conceptualises indicators to identify the key dimensions of innovation processes and outputs. The analysis of statistical data and surveys from various sources shows that large enterprises on the whole are more often innovative than SMEs. This is particularly the case for technological innovations. As new data based on the OECD wider concept of innovation reveal, the strength of SMEs lies in their non-technological innovation capacity. Covering both types of innovation activities SMEs turn out to be innovative more often than presumed. Indeed, 78 % of all small enterprises with 10 to 49 employees engage in innovation activities. The share of innovators is even higher among the enterprises with 50 to 249 employees (84 %) and the large enterprises with more than 250 employees (95 %).

Maaß, F.; Führmann, B. (2012): Innovationstätigkeit im Mittelstand - Messung und Bewertung, in: Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn (Hrsg.): IfM-Materialien Nr. 212, Bonn.

Full Version