Innovation audit

Success control for innovative companies: innovation audit

What is an innovation audit?

An innovation audit is an opportunity for companies, regardless of their size, to analyze or evaluate their own ability to innovate. Based on this, suitable measures can be deduced so as to improve the ability to innovate.

An audit is an investigation procedure “in which processes with regard to their fulfillment of the requirements are assessed”. An audit is thus an actual analysis, which helps to identify problems, to uncover potential for improvement and finally to formulate recommendations for action.

Why and why is such an innovation audit needed? One reason is obvious and quite simple: virtually every company has an accounting, a cost calculation, a profit and loss account and draws up a balance sheet. These provide important information for business development. However, when assessing the innovativeness of a company, i.d.R. We do not rely on a correspondingly comprehensive set of figures in order to further develop our own ability to innovate purposefully.

Applications for innovation audits

In principle, there are many possible application scenarios for an innovation audit. The obvious three possibilities should be briefly outlined here:

– First interim report after a company founding: A company was founded and the first years focused on implementing the company idea. This has been successfully launched in the market and the company is growing. Now it’s time to take a first review.

– Generating more growth: The company has been successful in the market for some time, but it should be further developed, systematically bringing more innovations and thus increasing growth.

– Realignment following a change of leadership or company succession: There was a change in the management of the company. The new manager quickly gained an overview of the financial situation of the company. But how is it?

about sustainability? For this BWA and cost accounting give little information.

Requirements for innovation audits

Innovation audits have concrete requirements to fulfill. Since both the financial and the personnel, spatial and temporal resources are limited, it is important to ensure an appropriate cost-benefit ratio. Implementation is useful if all participants are aware that sufficient human resources must be made available for the survey, implementation and analysis. Without sufficient use of resources, such an audit is only an “alibi event”, which does not lead to any measures that can actually be implemented.

Important is the availability of the required information for the auditor. This includes, on the one hand, the disclosure of rele- vant data and, on the other hand, the sensitization of the employees. Acceptance by the employees and support of the audit by the company management are also important, since otherwise all innovation efforts of the organization are almost worthless.

Unavoidable, however, is the complete documentation of the entire audit so that no information is lost or ignored.

Forms and Process of Innovation Audits

An innovation audit can be conducted both as a self-audit and as an external audit. Both variants have advantages and disadvantages for companies. Self-auditing with standardized questionnaires offers a high degree of comparability with a relatively low expenditure of time and money. Due to the standardized questions, this is achieved by a limited consideration of the specific company situation. A self-audit also involves the risk that the necessary self-assessment may be falsified by a kind of blindness and lack of expert knowledge.

This contrasts with the externally managed audit. By a neutral view from different perspectives as well as the individual possibility of adaptation to the respective company, such a one usually has a higher Aus¬sagewert.


In an innovation audit carried out by companies themselves, the interpretation of the results and the derivation of improvement measures are the sole responsibility of the company.

The required tools, such as questionnaires, interview guides or online tools, can be purchased from external providers. The prices depend on the provider and the scope of the audit. The implementation is carried out by a number of employees

The data is collected by means of a written survey, interview guide or online tool. A written survey may u.U. also be developed by yourself. With such an in-house individual solution, care must be taken to set the priorities correctly and that the necessary temporal, human and financial resources are available.

Guided Audit

The providers of guided audits are often company consultants, institutes and chairs. Guided audits usually consist of four phases:

During the preparation phase, the analysis objectives and the scope of the audit are defined together with the company. Interviewees are selected and first preliminary information about the company is compiled. In Phase 2, guided interviews will collect all the information needed based on a guide. After collection and structuring, phase 3 takes place in which the collected data is analyzed and evaluated by the service provider. The results and suggestions for action will be presented to the audited company in phase 4.

In an optional fifth phase, possible measures can be derived from the results.