Award-winning innovation

Recognizing a flair for innovation and quality in Baden-Württemberg

Companies throughout Baden-Württemberg are being invited once again to demonstrate their innovation skills and quality standards – and their ability to achieve world-class business performance. The Baden-Württemberg “Kompetenzpreis” – or Competence Prize – for innovation and quality will be awarded again in 2009 to manufacturing and service companies. The Competence Prize is an initiative of the Steinbeis Foundation, trade fair services company Schall and TQU Business GmbH from Ulm.

Companies are evaluated on a series of criteria relating to key innovation prerequisites, implementation standards, and ongoing success. Applications in 2008 covered a wide variety of topics. Apart from product developments, innovations were pinpointed in terms of business processes as well as how well companies converted existing technology into new types of products. The jury places particular emphasis on how companies deal with the sometimes conflicting issues of innovation and quality.

The award has been structured to reflect the underlying philosophy of the EFQM Excellence Model which was introduced throughout Europe: innovative business processes translate into implementation excellence with long-term benefits to the bottom line. In particular, a company’s ability to solve the conflicting needs of innovation and quality through exemplary operation is decisive in choosing the winners, explains Prof. Dr. Heinz Trasch, Chairman of the Steinbeis Foundation Board and member of the 2009 jury.

The innovation processes taking place at each company can be highly varied, ranging from the restructuring of an entire company hand-in-hand with its business fields to a sharper focus on employees to “set the innovation ball rolling.” The award looks at new technologies as well as ways existing technology can be transferred from one sector of industry to another. Central to the jury’s deliberations are the role of the customer, be this through involvement in panels, cooperation with scientists, or joint product development. There should be a distinct link to the policies and strategy of the entire company, paving the way for other areas of the company to adopt these processes as best practice.

Winners of the Competence Prize for Innovation and Quality must not only demonstrate a proven ability to innovate and translate their breakthroughs into everyday business – this must run over at least three years with a positive influence on a variety of key criteria: achieving business goals and holding one’s own in the market.

The Baden-Württemberg Competence Prize for Innovation and Quality will be awarded this year for the second time and will coincide with the trade fair Control 2009 in May. The 2008 prize was won by Paul Hartmann AG for its Duo Sensor Technology, which provided the company with a unique edge over its competitors. The application of the technology in new products demonstrates clearly how qualitatively superior innovations have a proven effect on market success.

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