Überlingen – The innovation leaders in Germany's SME sector are dusting off their evening wear in preparation for the 25th TOP 100 awards. The winning companies have been selected following independent scientific analysis by Professor Nikolaus Franke, who will be joined by the competition's mentor, Ranga Yogeshwar, and its initiator, compamedia, at the fifth German SME Summit on 29 June in Ludwigsburg to present the winners with their awards. After success in 2016, WENZEL Group now returns to the ranks of Germany’s most innovative companies. In an independent selection procedure, the company and its 390-odd employees particularly impressed the panel with its innovation processes.

WENZEL Group GmbH & Co. KG is a leading manufacturer of measuring machines offering a wide range of measuring technologies – from coordinate metrology to high-speed scanning and on to computed tomography. The company, which has now made it into the TOP 100 for the second time, employs around 390 people who work on turnkey solutions for quality assurance processes in almost all branches of industry.

Over the past two years, the Wiesthal-based company has restructured its innovation management to make it even more effective, for example with the creation of the management position of Chief Digital Officer. A multi-project office (MPO) was also set up to assume responsibility for coordinating innovation projects as well as project manager coaching. It acts to select and prioritize projects together with the business management. “At companies of our size, a separate MPO team is not yet an established norm,” says Managing Director Dr. Heike Wenzel. The benefits it offers, however, are clear to her: expert project managers are complemented by a method-oriented team that also takes care to ensure that project teams comprise the right interdisciplinary mix of people. WENZEL Group also has five internal think tanks with access to “innovation pools” from which they can obtain everything they need to test out new ideas independently of normal order processes.

"The way the TOP 100 companies approach challenges is really fascinating. They are using their creativity, determination, and audacity to achieve what we need as a society: novel solutions to problems, resulting in prosperity, growth, and employment," commented TOP 100's scientific director, Professor Nikolaus Franke, on the occasion of the awards.

Competition mentor Ranga Yogeshwar was equally impressed: "The TOP 100 are small and medium-sized businesses that are willing to shake things up and aren't afraid of letting go of the old. People who don't fear new ideas and practices, and indeed embrace change. Entrepreneurs, whose businesses remain stable and successful, precisely because they are constantly evolving."

 

The TOP 100 competition

Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 seal of approval to SMEs with a particular ability to innovate and above-average success rates for innovations. Professor Nikolaus Franke has coordinated the project since 2002. He is the founder and director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and worked as a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is one of the world's leading innovation researchers and has won 18 science awards and published over 200 articles. The TOP 100 is mentored by science journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar and organised in partnership with the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research and the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW). Media support for the company benchmarking competition is provided by manager magazin, Impulse, and W&V. Further information is available at www.top100-germany.com.Image

(Image: KD Busch / compamedia)