How to turn your startup into a 'Hidden Champion'

Hidden champions are little-known small and midsized world market leaders: companies that are largely unknown to the general public and the media, but which are extremely innovative and profitable, and who absolutely dominate their industry. In a recent article on Whiteboard, I defined hidden champions as companies that belong to the top three in its global market or is number 1 on its continent has less than $...

Why does Siemens apply for 6 times more patents than all of Spain? On the innovation gulf in Europe.

The European crisis has us firmly in its grip. And yet in the search for the cause, politicians and the media remain fixated on the tip of the iceberg, especially national debt. They all seem to be secretly hoping that the problems will go away of their own accord if we just wait long enough. But the deeper causes of the crisis are glossed over, and the vast differences between the EU countries are not sufficientl...

Hidden Champions (2): why do these hidden, global, innovative, extremely profitable companies thrive?

In 1986 Theodore Levitt, the famous Harvard professor who popularized the term 'globalization' asked me why Germany always ranks among the world’s top exporting nations - which is owed in no small part to the hidden champions, as I wrote earlier. Little has changed since then. Germany has been the world’s leading exporter in 10 of the last 25 years, 2011 marked another record year. Exports, not domestic de...

Hidden Champions (1): what German companies can teach you about innovation

Why is Germany, a comparatively small country, so strong in exports? The explanation lies in its “Hidden Champions”, little known mid-sized world market leaders. My total count of these companies stands at 2746 worldwide, and 1307 or almost half of them are from Germany. Hidden Champions alone account for about 25 percent of German exports (for reference: Germany was world leader in exports from 2003 to 2008)....