The German Federal Government has spotlighted standardization as an important means of attaining its economic-political goals. The new “High-Tech Strategy for Germany” approved by the Cabinet in August 2006 states that “The success of German high-tech products on world markets must be supported with a vigorous standardization strategy. Giving standardization early consideration in the research process and when translating research findings into high-tech products and services creates competitive advantages for Germany.”
Norms and standards are to be used as instruments for quickly and efficiently turning research findings and innovative technical developments into products that can be placed on the market. In this manner the strategy puts research funding and general conditions such as regulation, the protection of intellectual property, and standardization in the same context, thus introducing “a seamless new innovation policy”.
In connection with this specific promotion of innovation, the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology initiated in mid 2006 the longterm project Innovation with Norms and Standards (INS). This project is coordinated and conducted by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN). The Ministry’s financial support sends a positive signal, clearly underlining standardization’s potential as a strategic instrument for accessing markets.
The aim of the planned measures is to create an innovation structure for German standardization, while achieving a sustainable integration of standardization in the research process itself. Studies are being carried out to identify innovative fields needing standardization, accompanied by workshops and seminars on the relevant issues; more specific projects covering key technologies have also been initiated.