The core of the TOP 100 innovation competition is a scientific selection process that participants must undergo. On behalf of compamedia, the organiser of the comparison, innovation researcher Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke and his team examined IST METZ based on more than 100 innovation indicators from five categories: Top Management Promoting Innovation, Innovation Climate, Innovative Processes and Organisation, External Orientation/Open Innovation and Innovation Success. Basically, the TOP 100 analysis is about the question of whether a company's innovations are just a product of chance or are systematically planned and thus repeatable in the future. Special weighting is given to the question of whether and how innovations and product improvements succeed in the market (for more information on the test criteria see www.top100-germany.com).

IST METZ is among the top innovators for the second time. For more than 40 years, the family-owned company has been producing systems that cure printed products and coatings by means of UV irradiation. One of its most important customer groups is the printing industry. In recent years, this industry in particular has had to face up to digital change.

IST METZ has not only adapted to this change, but has also changed itself: Consequently, the top innovator has expanded its business field, for example, the coating of touch displays or UV air sterilization. The UV technology developed for the displays is also used by the medium-sized company to finish wooden surfaces. In addition, IST METZ has developed a new curing solution called FREEcure that makes it possible to cure without photoinitiators.

One of the managing directors, Tim Sterbak, explains that a good climate of innovation and a great deal of freedom for employees are important for working at the cutting edge of technology. Here, the Nürtingen-based company relies on employees with an inventive spirit when selecting personnel. Such self-runners benefit from the 280-man company's large scope for project implementation. The families of the employees are also taken into consideration: In the "parent-child office", employees can work during care bottlenecks, while their children play in the same room at the painting table or in the craft corner.

"How focused is a company on innovation? How consistently do its structures follow this goal? With TOP 100 we examine this," explains Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke, the scientific director of TOP 100. "The most innovative SMEs receive the seal. It shows that they are excellently equipped for future challenges."

On 24 June, there will be a second cause for celebration: then the top innovators of the 2022 cohort will come together in Frankfurt am Main for the award ceremony at the German SME Summit to receive congratulations from Ranga Yogeshwar. The science journalist has been mentoring the innovation competition for eleven years.

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. The scientific management has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke since 2002. Franke is the founder and director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. With 25 research awards and over 200 publications, he is one of the leading innovation researchers internationally. The mentor of TOP 100 is the science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar. Project partners are the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research and the BVMW association of medium-sized businesses. The magazines manager magazin and impulse accompany the company comparison as media partners. More information and registration at www.top100.de.