Potentials of Innovation in Eastern Germany: High Levels in Urban Centres and Dynamics in Rural Regions
Processes of innovation are usually complex, risky, and require a number of inputs, typically research and development (R&D) and a highly qualified workforce. The resulting inventions are the basis for patents that can be further developed into marketable products and real innovations. For example the spending for R&D, the number of highly skilled employees, and the number of patent applications can be seen as relevant indicators for the innovation power of firms. The sum of these measures can identify the innovation potential of whole regions. Because of the interdependence of these variables for the process of innovation, it is self-evident to summarize the measures in one index, which is presented in this article. There are substantial differences between East German regions in terms of the identified innovation index for the period 2002 to 2006. The overall index indicates a north-south gap of the innovation potential. Bigger cities, such as Jena and Dresden, show up on top places. The view on the dynamics of the regional innovation potential (sub-index dynamics) reveals, however, that some more rural areas are very well off, for example Bernburg, Stollberg, Hoyerswerda, Dahme-Spreewald, Wernigerode and Bad Doberan. This is mainly caused by the innovative sphere of regional centres, but also due to the low base level of some regions.