hawo honoured for its role as an agent of progress


Top 100: hawo makes it into the ranks of Germany's most innovative SMEs and is congratulated by Ranga Yogeshwar.

hawo GmbH is a global leader in the manufacture of healthcare packaging systems and this is the third year running it has been recognised as one of Germany's most innovative SMEs.

More than anything else, the Baden-Württemberg-based company owes its success to the way it has brought innovative products to market. . “We measure innovation not by a product's technical features but by the added value it has for the user,” says general manager Christian Wolf. “We want to convince customers that our products are indispensable and to find the right product for each customer.” This is where the company's active involvement in international standards committees (such as ISO) and expert bodies comes in. hawo is also contributing to projects involving 'technologies of the future' at various development companies, enabling them to be actively involved in the shaping of technological progress. Even if innovation at hawo is primarily a boardroom issue, much store is set by the ideas put forward by the company's 66 employees. “We are very grateful for our employees' input,” explains senior partner Hans Wolf. Every year each employee puts forward an average of ten suggestions, most of which are acted upon. Developing a special rapport with clients also counts as a creative service worthy of recognition. Regular contact between the sales, service and production divisions helps to exploit potential synergies and encourage suggestions for improvement. The Top 100 award is based on academic research into the firms under consideration conducted by Professor Nikolaus Franke and his team from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. This year these innovation experts have examined a total of 245 companies. The findings of this research are made available to the participating firms in the form of a benchmark report that reveals their potential and provides practical tips for immediate application. “This success can be attributed to an outstanding team performance by senior management and the entire workforce and demonstrates that we are heading in the right direction,” says Wolf. “We will now use the results of this survey to further refine our innovations management.” In addition to hawo GmbH, a further 102 firms in a total of three size-based categories will be receiving the Top 100 seal of approval. These include 51 domestic market leaders and 21 global market leaders, such as hawo. Roughly two-thirds of these firms are family-owned businesses. All of these companies together generated total revenue of approximately €13.5 billion in 2012. The Top 100 leading innovators reinvested around 10 per cent of this revenue directly in research and development, whereas German small and medium-sized enterprises in aggregate spent only 1.4 per cent on R&D. Consequently, the award-winning firms are more successful: they generate 42.6 per cent of their revenue from products and services that they have only brought to market in the last three years, while the corresponding figure for German SMEs as a whole is a much lower 8.9 per cent. This has meant that 86 of the Top 100 firms (83.5 per cent) have generated growth that has outperformed the respective industry average – by almost 15 percentage points on average – over the past three years. Mentor The project's mentor is the journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar. Project management and partners Since 2002 this project has been managed by Professor Nikolaus Franke from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The focus of his research is on entrepreneurship, innovations management and marketing. He is one of the world's leading experts in the field of user innovation. The Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research is acting as the Top 100 project partner and the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper is the media partner. Organiser: compamedia – mentor to the best SMEs compamedia GmbH was founded in 1993 and has a team of 19 employees who organise the Top 100, Top Job and Top Consultant competitions for German SMEs. It also launched the Ethics in Business initiative. It supports and awards prizes to small and medium-sized firms for outstanding achievements in the fields of innovation, human resources management, consulting and corporate social responsibility. compamedia works closely with leading universities on these projects.