Mind the Cross Innovation Gap

Cross-industry innovation is a vital issue for the future – yet very few companies still apply it in a systematic fashion, according to the results of an expert survey by Z_punkt involving sixty innovation managers at some of the world’s most important blue-chips and medium-sized enterprises in Germany.


German companies from industry and trade see the need to catch up with cross-sector innovations. When it comes to Industry 4.0, Networked Mobility, the Internet of Things or Smart Home, the majority of them considers cross-industry innovation approaches to be advisable or essential. Currently, however, only a minority of companies focus on appropriate innovation strategies.

Seventy-nine per cent of companies surveyed consider the integration of strategic partners from unrelated industries to be the most important innovation approach of the future. At present, however, only 14 per cent of companies use it frequently. A further 30 per cent sometimes adopt cross-sector innovation approaches, while 39 per cent do not use them at all.

The search for partners as an obstacle course

Those companies surveyed consider the cross-industry approach to be most important in terms of the Internet of Things. Around 64 per cent believe it to be essential, and a further 32 per cent as advisable. It is a similar story for Networked Mobility – 60 per cent regard cross-sector innovation approaches to be essential, and a further 38 per cent as advisable.

The survey also reveals that companies think that the biggest obstacle to cross-industry innovation is the selection of the right partner from a different industry sector to be the biggest obstacle. In each case, over half of the companies asked cite "Finding the right partner" and "Trust between partners" as being a barrier. The question of "fair distribution of costs, risks and opportunities" is also important, being mentioned by just under 50 per cent.

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