German Innovation Award 2018: New Competition Brings Product Innovation to the Forefront

It’s the first prize to honour impact — the first to select winners based on added value and small details and to make way for completely new product solutions. The German Design Council’s German Innovation Award is an exclusive forum for one of the most important drivers in business success and serves as a valuable instrument for companies to communicate their capacity for innovation to the industry, to experts and to the media. The criteria for winning are just as demanding as they are simple: The prize nominates products which can demonstrate the potential for lasting impact.

German Innovation Award Logo

From start-ups to established companies, corporations to small businesses, and B2B to B2C:  The German Innovation Award is open to all companies with innovative products that promise genuine impact. And this is precisely what sets the award apart from all others. Prize winners are not selected on the basis of novelty; rather, it is those products which can demonstrate an enhanced experience for the user which the prize seeks to distinguish — even if it’s just in the details. Because at the end of the day, the market decides what is truly innovative.

In this way, the German Innovation Award is designed to promote better, more efficient communication of product innovations.


Impact and awareness

For the public, the award represents a look into the time and energy companies invest in bringing about product improvements for users. ‘The German Innovation award helps company innovators achieve more visibility, both publicly and within their own companies. It honours their boldness — the very foundation of our economic strength’, said Kupetz, highlighting another positive aspect of the award concept.

In the grand scheme of industry-level progress, plenty of truly innovative products, such as small safety components for electric vehicles, are overlooked. This is where the German Innovation Award seeks to shift the public focus — when it comes to innovative products with the greatest impact, real improvement is often all about the details. And this is true across a range of industries and sectors and applies to both analogue and digital services as well.


On the road to nomination

The nomination process of the German Innovation Award is nuanced and transparent. This, says Kupetz, generates a level of credibility for the prize. ‘We’re taking our time and scouting the market in detail. We’re really looking at projects, products and market newcomers in a wide range of industries’. Companies can also submit their own products for nomination to the German Design Council. The deadline for applications is 2 February 2018.

The award’s evaluation criteria include topics such as level of innovation, user benefits and economic feasibility. Aspects such as social, ecological and economic sustainability, as well as the use of energy and resources, are also taken into consideration. And factors such as location and employment potential, durability, market readiness, technical quality and functionality, materials and synergistic effects will also play crucial roles in the jury’s decisions.


Innovation made in Germany: a sign of quality

The prize’s winners will be selected by a high-profile jury of physicists, patent agents, computer scientists, finance experts, product designers, historians of technology and marketeers. ‘This allows us to guarantee that the evaluation process is individualized, neutral and professional’, stressed Kupetz. Known as ‘Germany’s design expert’, the German Design Council is an important promoter of trade and industry, a driving force in the future of design. For nearly 65 years, the Council has been committed to improving the competitiveness of German companies. ‘We operate with the needs of the market in mind: Being named an “Innovation made in Germany” is a global quality seal. It communicates future-oriented thinking’, said Kupetz, summarizing the importance of the German Innovation Award.