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itemis AG from Lünen has won first place in its size class (companies with 51 to 200 employees) at the 26th edition of the TOP 100 innovation competition. The company was therefore honored on 28 June by the competition's mentor, Ranga Yogeshwar, as well as the scientific director of the comparison, Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke, and compamedia in the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt.

All companies that reach the TOP 100 are distinguished by above-average innovation management. The best three of these champions in each size class are then selected for the additional jury round. The TOP 100 jury selects the overall winner of its class from among them. In its reasons for choosing itemis AG as "Innovator of the Year" in size class B (51 to 200 employees), the jury wrote:

itemis AG from Lünen, founded in 2003, is an IT consulting company that develops high-performance software for companies, embedded systems and mobile applications. Its core competencies include automation in software development through model-based development processes and the construction of domain-specific languages.

The company with 198 employees in Germany and further locations in Switzerland, France and Tunisia, convinces with an extraordinary innovation-promoting culture. A key component of this is the "4+1 working time model", which has been practiced since the company was founded: employees have one full working day per week at their disposal for personal further training, further education or advanced training or for working on their own innovative projects.

However, the innovation culture is by no means limited to the internal perspective. Rather, cooperation, research projects and social commitment play a central role. This strong external orientation is reflected, for example, in the intensive involvement in open source software projects: itemis has been a member of the Eclipse Foundation since 2008, alongside Intel, Bosch, Google and other world market leaders. Eclipse is the most widely used open source development environment in the world.

For its customers, itemis AG is also an innovation partner for the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI).

"We have many good ideas and sometimes also bad ideas. Above all, however, we try to implement many of these ideas. This quickly makes it clear whether it was a good idea that can be further developed, or a bad idea that is buried again in order to devote oneself to new exciting ideas," says Jens Wagener, CEO of itemis AG.

The TOP 100 jury also focused on the corporate culture in its justification:

In innovation and development projects itemis works in an exemplary manner with agile processes and design thinking tools. The innovations are coordinated at the level of the 13 locations in total. The overall responsibility for products lies with a product manager who has no classical background for this role, but is trained in psychology, information technology, usability engineering and design thinking.

This antithesis to the technical approaches of the developers enables new ideas and possible solutions. itemis, especially due to its extraordinary corporate and innovation culture, shows impressive innovative successes and strong corporate growth development. Most notably reflected in an excellent market position.

Abdelghani El-Kacimi from the Executive Board, who accepted the award on stage together with Stephan Eberle from Research and Development, explains the innovative strength as follows: "The driving force behind innovation in the company is its employees. Most of the activities that we would describe as innovation arise between the employees in discussions or by identifying market needs in cooperation with our customers, which we in the management could never have on the radar. That's what makes us so successful.“

Jens Wagener explains: "Innovations cannot be planned. Therefore, it is not the task of the management to produce the innovations. It is our task to create a climate and a culture in which innovations can emerge. We have done this quite well in the past.“

Using a scientific system, TOP 100 evaluates the innovation management of medium-sized companies and the resulting innovation successes. itemis made its first leap into the TOP 100 in 2006.

TOP 100: the competition

Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 seal for special innovative strength and above-average innovation success to medium-sized companies. Since 2002, scientific management has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke. Franke is the founder and chairman of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. Mentor of TOP 100 is the science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar. Project partners are the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the Promotion of Applied Research and the BVMW.

398 companies applied for a TOP 100 award in the current round. The system developed by Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke as scientific director gave manufacturing and service companies the same opportunities and also considered the respective company sizes. Franke and his team tested around 120 parameters (see explanation of the criteria at www.top100.de/pruefkriterien). In the three size classes, a total of 262 companies (a maximum of 100 per size class) achieved the award. As a media partner, manager magazine, impulse and W&V are accompanying the company comparison. More information at www.top100.de.