Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel 274
Today, hardly anyone still denies the enormous importance of technological innovations for both national economics and business administration. Their influence on the development of the general economic objectives of economic growth, employment, productivity, and international competitiveness has been thoroughly analyzed and confirmed empirically. Likewise, it is crucial for a firm to protect and consolidate its competitiveness for the long term by improving its production technologies as well as opening up new markets and producing new products and processes. Certainly, nobody disputes the paradigm according to which innovations take place within a contextual frame. Innovation management can adapt to contextual influences reactively, or try to shape them actively according to its own objectives. Therefore, it is imperative for innovation management to know the context-related key factors, because only if they are known the management activities can be oriented appropriately. The aim of this paper is to systematically work out key factors of innovation management from empirical studies. Expanding from this basis, an empirical analysis will show whether the large number of key factors, which are certainly not free from overlap, can be condensed to a small number of independent main influencing factors. Finally, the relevance of the extracted key factors of innovation management to success will be examined. The aim is to find out in which key spheres, above all, successful innovation management must be active. For this purpose, we refer to an empirical study in which we examined 88 firms whose innovation projects were subsidized by the Federal Ministry of Economics within the frame of its "First Innovations Program". The sample of firms interviewed is dominated by medium-sized mechanical and electrical engineering firms.