Business and Innovation

Business and Innovation

Shaping a World in Upheaval through Innovations

We have a duty to think in generations and to build a solid foundation for a happy future for our children and our children’s children.

Ludwig Erhard, Economist, Federal Minister for Economics and second Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a country that is not rich in raw materials; this makes the German economy all the most dependent on the knowledge and skills of its people. The cornerstone of Germany’s economic clout and prosperity is the innovative power of entrepreneurs, companies and developers. Having said that, the pressure on competitiveness has drastically increased in recent decades due to global interdependence and the opening of new markets. As the "country of ideas”, Germany is not represented in the immediate top group in global innovation rankings and indices. Business models are increasingly shifting towards services, digitalisation and the data economy.


Innovation and Competitive Strength

The German economy will only safeguard its global competitiveness if it harnesses the opportunities inherent in technological progress – and namely faster and better than before. Far too often, innovations in Germany or in Europe do not reach market maturity. There is brilliant research and development in many areas, all that is lacking is a European business model to provide added value for companies and society. Yet, a key factor for the future viability of the German economy is the innovative capacity of our economy and society.

Freedom and competition are central to the ability to innovate. That is because competition drives innovation, leading to sustainable, economic progress and to cheaper and better services for society. Competition requires entrepreneurial freedom, too, since innovations take place on the market as opposed to the political sphere.


Regulatory Framework Social Market Economy

The economic and socio-political regulatory framework for a balance between state and market represents the Christian Democratic concept of the social market economy. It is considered to be another essential pillar of the German economy and society. The social market economy calls for both state action as well as entrepreneurial freedom and competition to become aware of their roles and limits. It has always been the bracket that holds together the principle of economic freedom with the principle of social balance and the preservation of creation. Nowadays, this concept is more familiar under the term “sustainability.”

Although times have changed and the economy and society have constantly evolved since the founding the of the Federal Republic of Germany, even today, a majority of Germans still rate the social market economy as positive. Having said that, a world facing multiple upheavals also requires a successful economic system to confront and adapt to new challenges. This gives rise to key questions for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, which are dealt with in various analyses as well as discussions and publication formats.

Event Series

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung offers many events on economic and innovations topics. Particularly noteworthy in this context is the European Data Summit, a three-day format on data and digital topics that takes place each year in autumn and ranks among our flagship events.

European Data Summit

European Data Summit Titelbild Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V.


The European Data Summit is a symposium organised by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung at which experts address the prerequisites for a digital European single market. A focus is also placed on the connection of the topic to the European Union’s regulatory projects.


Learn more about the European Data Summit


Publication, Video and Website Projects

Time and again, we set priorities on certain topics, which we realise and present in different formats. Above all, this includes multi-party publication projects and series along with video projects in which we controversially discuss certain aspects of a topic.

Sustainability Navigator – Transformation Through Innovation

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„Sustainability Navigator – Transformation Through Innovation“

(only in German)

YouTube, Onlinekas

The “Sustainability Navigator – Transformation through Innovation” project deals with specific innovations for more sustainability and provides a relevant overview. The view is also from multiple perspectives. Here, we not only look at the ecological, but also the social and economic dimension.


Learn more about the Sustainability Navigator project

Free trade - Understanding global trade anew

Containerschiffe im Hamburger Hafen Flickr / Frerk Meyer


Open world markets have undeniably led to unprecedented prosperity and technological progress. Nevertheless, global trade is currently highly controversial, as climate change, global inequalities and strategic dependencies seem to partially offset the benefits of free trade. Clearly, there is a need for rules governing global trade. On our overview page, we introduce this complex topic and, with our publications and video contributions, offer discussion approaches and suggestions on how free trade could be further developed with a view to climate change and new global political realities.


Learn more about free trade

Quantum Computers and their Importance for Society

Quantencomputer und deren Bedeutung für unsere Gesellschaft Adobe Stock / Bartek Wróblewski


Quantum computers are considered a significant future technology with great economic and social potential. Against this background, our publications on the topic not only address the basics, possible applications and social implications of this technology, but also provide recommendations for action.


Learn more about the quantum computing publications

Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a Global Perspective

Künstliche Intelligenz KAS


Our interview series “Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a Global Perspective” looks at the current developments in AI technology. With interview partners from all over the world, we talk about the lines of conflict between ethics and AI, the technological added value, but also about the risks and different political approaches when dealing with AI.


Learn more about the AI interview series

Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

KI und Menschenrechte


In our three publications, we explain how artificial intelligence (AI) not only improves the performance of an economy, but also affords people with the opportunity to assert individual rights. Our expert interviews and interactive web publication address the legal implications, the design aspect in the interplay between human and machine, and use examples to illustrate how AI is already supporting human rights.


Learn more about artificial intelligence and human rights

Data Protection Law and Data Trust

Was die DSGVO braucht: Kohärente Umsetzung und innovative Instrumente


Despite the establishment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Germany and Europe present a rather mixed picture when it comes to data protection. In the articles of our publication series on data protection law and data trust, we look seriously at the various perspectives on the topic and inform you about controversial debates and the current state of developments.


Learn more about the publications on data protection law and data trust

Open Data und Open Government

Titelbild Open Data


“Open Data” is a concept that proposes a comprehensive and collaborative use of data. The use of data, which is considered an inexhaustible and renewable resource and whose economic benefit is estimated by experts as being particularly high, should be possible for everyone; this also includes post-processing and dissemination. This would not only affect the economy and science, but politics and, above all, citizens. That is why “Open Data” represents a multi-faceted topic, which we approach from different perspectives in our series of contributions on “Open Data” and “Open Government”.


Learn more about the Open Data publications

Competition Policy in the Digital World

Dare to be Strong and Different KAS


Digital platform companies are the big so-called “gatekeepers” on the digital markets. Yet it is not Europe that is successful here, but Asian and American companies for the most part. The seven most valuable companies worldwide either come from the USA or China. Europe is in great danger of not keeping apace with the rest of the world. To ensure that this does not happen, we are intensively addressing competition policy questions on topics such as data economy or Industry 4.0. The publications of our publication project on competition policy in the digital world aim to contribute towards this and demonstrate corresponding recommendations for action.


Learn more about the publications on digital competition policy

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Science Network

Wissenschaftsnetzwerk Promotionen in Deutschland Qualitätssicherung Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V.


The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Science Network is an independent working group with experienced experts from the fields of science and science management. The network primarily looks at questions surrounding the framework conditions that universities need for their research, teaching and continuing education so as to provide high-quality research results and develop useful innovations. The outcomes of discussions are published in policy papers at irregular intervals.


Learn more about publications of the Science Network

Hidden Innovators

Hidden Innovators


With the “Hidden Innovators” campaign, we want to shed light on the people behind innovations. We have therefore encouraged you via social media you to show us your ideas and innovations and to start a discussion with us about this. We received submissions from all over the world and presented eight of the best and most interesting projects in several video contributions.


Learn more about the Hidden Innovators campaign

The metaverse

Grafik zum Thema Metaverse depositphotos.com/GoodLuckWithUs/OksanaStepanenko


In addition to its current hype, the term metaverse is always accompanied by considerable scepticism. Yet the technologies used for this are not at all new. The idea is to make it possible to virtually experience and walk through 3D worlds, which are already being used today - for example in video games. The idea has the potential to initiate a new and possibly the final stage of digitalisation. That is why we have dedicated a separate overview page to this exciting topic area, where we show which other application scenarios already exist, which are conceivable in the future and what requirements this entails for the digital infrastructure.

Learn more about the metaverse


Scholarship and Didactic Offers

On the web page of our learning laboratory, the Adenauer Campus, teachers and pupils can find teaching material and exercises for the classroom, which are well prepared and divided into several learning modules. Doctoral students will also find what they are looking for here. Those wanting to obtain a doctorate and who are interested in the social market economy, may want to look into the interdisciplinary doctoral programme “Social Market Economy”.

“Social Market Economy” doctoral programme

Logo Promotionskolleg Soziale Marktwirtschaft KAS


With the “Social Market Economy” doctoral programme, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung presents doctoral candidates with an exciting study and research opportunity. It intends to stimulate the academic debate on basic principles of the social market economy, and inspire its creative further development against the background of current challenges for politics, society and the economy.

The dissertation topics should make a significant scientific contribution to understanding the social market economy model, and demonstrate practical relevance. The fellows are supervised by the Academic Advisory Board and undergo an accompanying curriculum comprising doctoral seminars on the basics of the social market economy and regulatory thinking as well as on economic policy.


Learn more about the “Social Market Economy” doctoral programme

Didactic Teaching Material for the Classroom

Adenauer Campus fotolia Urheber: sp4764


The learning laboratory of our Adenauer Campus, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s digital learning platform, provides teachers, pupils as well as politically interested people with a broad range of teaching and learning opportunities. In addition to exciting learning content, there are also classroom exercises on the topic of the social market economy. We invite all interested people to take a closer look at our free and interactive offers.


Learn more about the Adenauer Campus learning lab



The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has been awarding the Social Market Economy Prize since 2002. The award-winners are nominated by a jury consisting of renowned members and confirmed by the Stiftung’s Board of Directors.

Social Market Economy Prize

Medaille Verleihung Preis Soziale Marktwirtschaft KAS


With the Social Market Economy Prize, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung honours personalities who champion the preservation, realisation and further development of the social market economy. When selecting the winners, the jury places special emphasis on those who exhibited a high degree of independence and individual responsibility or have made an important contribution to the justice of our economic and social system.


Find out more about the Social Market Economy Prize

Single title
February 16, 2022
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Event Reports
Juliane Liebers
December 2, 2021
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Single title
Gerd Altmann / Pixabay
March 4, 2021
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Publications to the topic

Grafik zum Thema Metaverse depositphotos.com/GoodLuckWithUs/OksanaStepanenko
Das Metaverse
Nicht das neue Internet und kein Grund für politischen Aktionismus
Agua y minería - Policy paper
New challenges in the extractive industries in LATAM to enable the global energy transition
Options for a region rich in minerals and thirsty for water
Europa przeciw katastrofie klimatycznej
Ranking najbardziej zielonych państw Unii Europejskiej
Transmilenio-Busse in Bogota Pixabay / alejobaron
Decarbonising the transport sector in the Global South
Possibilities, challenges, and reciprocities on the road to climate-neutral mobility
Handbook KAS CEWAS
Handbook: accelerating water entreprises.
Cover image_Trajectory of Deglobalizing Forces-How Resilient Is Germany
Trajectory of Deglobalizing Forces: How Resilient Is Germany?
Deglobalisation Essay Series 5
Cover image_South Asia Cannot Afford to Deglobalize
South Asia Cannot Afford to Deglobalize
Deglobalisation Essay Series 4
Burj Khalifa. Image by Jan Vašek from pixabay.com Image by Jan Vašek from pixabay.com
The Business Model of the United Arab Emirates
Challenges and Opportunities
Digitalisierung im Bereich Deutsch als Zweitsprache (Symbolbild) AdobeStock/pressmaster
Digitalisierung im Bereich Deutsch als Zweitsprache
Der Ukraine-Krieg und die Gefahr weiterer pandemischer Unterrichtsausfälle zeigen die Dringlichkeit des Themas Digitalisierung im DaZ-Sprachunterricht
Conflict Weekly
Conflict Weekly #144, 6 October 2022, Vol.3, No.27
An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office
Inteligencia artificial en Latinoamérica
Artificial intelligence in Latin America
WTO Hauptsitz Logo Reuters / Denis Balibouse
Die Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) – reformbedürftig, aber unverzichtbar
Neue Dynamik der WTO in schwieriger globaler Großwetterlage
Regionen auf dem Weg zum European Green Deal (Symbolbild) AdobeStock/juanjo
Regionen auf dem Weg zum European Green Deal
Auf dem Weg zum European Green Deal: Die Teilnehmenden zeigen sich motiviert, das eigene Handlungsfeld sowie die eigene Region im Sinne des EGD zu entwickeln.
SGR Cover
Społeczna Gospodarka Rynkowa – ustrojowa przyszłość
Biblioteka myśli ekonomicznej Polskiego Towarzystwa Ekonomicznego
Gemüse in einem Supermarkt nrd / Unsplash
Nur Lokal wird nicht ausreichen
Warum Nahrungsmittelimporte aus fernen Ländern oft die nachhaltigere Option sind
Enquête sur la perception des services digitali sés de ladministration publique 260922_Page_01
Perception des entreprises privées des services digitalisés de l’administration publique tunisienne?
Plus de 80% des entreprises considèrent que l’administration publique est une barrière au développement des PME.
Europäische Zentralbank nmann77, stock.adobe.com
Die EZB in der Zwickmühle zwischen Inflation und Staatsschulden?
Eine Einordnung des Transmissionsschutz-Instruments
Conflict Weekly
Conflict Weekly #141, 15 September 2022, Vol.3, No.24
An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office
Greening Africas News Deserts
Greening Africa’s news deserts
The search for sustainable local media in sub-Saharan Africa
cover for green transition
Roadmap for Transition to a Low Carbon Economy

Events on the topic






DigitalAkademie: Online Lehrerfortbildung „Schule und Digitalisierung für alle“
In Kooperation mit der Klett MINT GmbH



Geldpolitik im Spannungsfeld von Politik und Stabilität
Vortrag von Dr. Jens Weidmann, Präsident der Deutschen Bundesbank a.D., zum 125. Geburtstag von Ludwig Erhard



An Energie gewinnen! – Perspektiven aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Politik
Thema: Elektromobilität

Event reports on the topic

Von Jürgen Zurheide moderiertes Gespräch zur europäischen Zusammenarbeit und Energiesicherheit, mit Nathanael Liminski, Ralf Sikorski, Moritz Döbler und Caroline Kanter KAS/Christiane Stahr
Viel mehr als ein reines Wirtschaftsprojekt
Die Montanindustrie und die deutsch-französischen Beziehungen seit der Gründung der Europäischen Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl
forum digital: Ab ins Metaversum! Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung/Kai Bodo Schläfke
Immersive Technologien und der Hype um das Metaverse
Im „forum digital“ diskutierten Politik, Wirtschaft und Forschung die Potentiale von virtuellen Realitäten
Moderatorin Karoline Gil, General Michael Vetter, Ferdinand Gehringer, Maximilian Mäder Felix Witzlinger
Die digitale Zukunft unserer Sicherheit
Sicherheitspolitische Herausforderungen in einer neuen Geopolitik
Professor Dr. Joachim Fetzer (links) und Frederk Schmitt Thomas Ehlen / kas.de
Algorithmen entscheiden nicht - Unsere Zukunft mit Künstlicher Intelligenz
Eine Bilanz des Fuldaer Gesprächs 3. November 2022
KAS-Stipendiaten aus Afrika Martin Reuber
Gemeinsam gehen will gelernt sein
Ein Werkstattbericht über die Zukunft der afrikanisch-europäischen Partnerschaft
Michale Kretschmer diskutiert mit Studierenden in Leipzig
Vernetzt? Versiert? Vergessen? - Studentische Perspektiven auf die Lage an den Hochschulen
Gespräch mit Ministerpräsident Kretschmer an der Universität Leipzig
Die Gäste der Zukunftswerkstatt: (v.l.n.r.) Andreas Noll, Journalist, Prof. Dr. Natacha Valla, Ökonomin und Dekanin der Sciences Po, Paris, Nikolas Záboji, Wirtschaftskorrespondent der FAZ, Paris Martin Reuber
Reichen die Maßnahmen gegen die steigende Inflation?
Ein deutsch-französisches Streitgespräch über die aktuellen Maßnahmen zur Bekämpfung des Kaufkraftverlustes
Referenten KAS-Bremen
Abendveranstaltung mit Dr. Regina Görner über die Probleme Älterer mit Filialschließungen und der Digitalisierung
Dr. Sven Herpig Thomas Ehlen / kas.de
Resilienz stärken! Cybersicherheit als zentrale Kategorie im digitalen Zeitalter
Eine Bilanz des Wiesbadener Tischgesprächs und des Frankfurter Gesprächs am 5. September 2022
PD Dr. Jochen Roose (l) und Ralf Altenhof (r) KAS-Bremen
Innovationskultur in Deutschland
Mittagsveranstaltung zur KAS-Studie von PD Dr. Jochen Roose
Teilnehmer Lübben 4.8.22 Raabe
"Das Land nicht abhängen"
Wie der ländliche Raum in Brandburg gestärkt werden kann
Inflation - Die stille Enteignung
Von Ursachen und Folgen der Inflation und ihrer Bekämpfung
Salomon Oppenheim jr. (1772–1828) Nachweis: Stiftung Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv zu Köln, RWWA 600-F419.
Salomon Oppenheim jr. (1772–1828) zum 250. Geburtstag
Dr. Feldmann im Gespräch mit Prof. Enste kas.de
Wachstum, Gerechtigkeit, Nachhaltigkeit: Tripolare Herausforderungen für die Soziale Marktwirtschaft
Eine Bilanz des 32. #HessenKAS Facebook-Live vom 05.04.2022
Podium Ingo Hellwig
Zukunftsgestalter als Mutmacher
Politik im Dialog mit Menschen, die etwas bewegt haben
Foto_Pfeiffer-Poensgen.jpeg Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
Mit Spitzenforschung erfolgreich die Zukunft gestalten
Digitale Diskussionsveranstaltung mit Ministerin Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen
Neanderland im Gespräch 14.03.2022
Die Zukunft der Energie
Wirtschaft & Energie: Wo steht Deutschland? - Neanderland im Gespräch unter der Schirmherrschaft von Dr. Christian Untrieser MdL
Digitale Podiumsdiskussion mit Minister Karl-Josef Laumann und Prof. Dr. Ursula Nothelle-Wildfeuer
"Christliche Demokratie bedeutet Chancen eröffnen"
Digitale Diskussionsveranstaltung mit Minister Karl-Josef Laumann
Oliver Krauß MdL Ingo Hellwig
Auswege oder Ausflüchte?
Die Welt im Krisenmodus
Eva Morlang im Gespräch mit Prof. Enste kas.de
Verhaltensökonomie und Klimaschutz: Bessere Regulierung und Green Nudges für mehr Nachhaltigkeit
Eine Bilanz des 30. #HessenKAS Facebook-Live vom 01.03.2022

Media library

Preis Soziale Marktwirtschaft 2022
Sarna Röser erhält 2022 den "Preis Soziale Marktwirtschaft"
Sarna Röser, "eine starke Stimme der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft", die "diese in das 21. Jahrhundert" überträgt.
Podcast Erststimme #56
Internationaler Handel zwischen Effizienz, Nachhaltigkeit und Resilienz
Im Rahmen unserer Freihandelswoche sprechen wir mit Prof. Dr. Galina Kolev. #TradeofTomorrow
Video for thought; a series of informative videos prepared by economists for non-economists
A series of short explanatory video tackling economic terms and concepts published by E-for Ektisad in collaboration with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Lebanon Office
read now
Wykład prof. dr. Georga Milbradta, TU Dresden
Wojna na Ukrainie i jej skutki dla gospodarki i konsekwencje dla polityki energetycznej dla Niemiec
Zapraszamy do wysłuchania bardzo ciekawego wykładu prof. dr. Milbradta z 29.09.22, wygłoszonego podczas polsko-niemieckiego seminarium "Społeczno-ekologiczna gospodarka rynkowa".
Podcast Erststimme #54
Klima muss sich lohnen
Wir sprechem mit Prof. Achim Wambach über die Instrumente des Marktes und der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft in der Energie- und Klimapolitk.
Assessement of Top500 Vietnamese Private Enterprises (VPE500)
Top500 Vietnamese private enterprises are analysed to provide policy implications to develop the private sector in Vietnam. The study is implemented by MPI think tank - NCIF
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Podcast Erststimme #51
Wir sprechen mit Prof. Dr. Nils Goldschmidt darüber, was wir tun können, wenn Systeme außer Kontrolle geraten.
Dialogprogramm des Arbeitskreises Globale Gesundheit der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Genf
Erfahren Sie mehr über die Delegationsreise zu aktuellen Herausforderungen im Bereich Globale Gesundheit vom 7-9. Juni
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Sozialkongress 2022: Teilhabe durch Innovation?
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Digitaler Dependenz Index
Digitale Autonomie in der EU "kaum mehr als eine Illusion"
Deutschlandfunk Nova greift unsere neue Studie zur Abhängigkeit der Digitalwirtschaft auf.
read now