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German Standardization Panel

The German Standardization Panel (DNP) is a survey to collect data on the standardization activities of companies on an annual basis.

The German Standardisation Panel

The German Standardisation Panel (DNP) is a survey to collect data on the standardization activities of companies on an annual basis.

The DNP is a project of the German Society for the Promotion of Research on Standardization e. V. (FNS) and is conducted by the Chair of Innovation Economics at the Technische Universität Berlin. The FNS promotes research on topics and questions related to standardization in order to make qualitative assessments on aspects regarding standardization policy.

In 2016, the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWI) kindly accepted the patronage of the German Standardization Panel.

In doing so, the BMWi highlights the importance of standardization for individual firms and the economy as a whole. The “Power of Standardization” grows as topics become more challenging with Electromobility and Industry 4.0 providing excellent examples of sector and cross-sectoral demands.
The long-running German Standardization Panel wants to raise awareness about the benefits of standardization for industry. Concurrently, it is working to create a comprehensive database for the analysis of the current activities and future trends for use by all standardization policy makers and any other interested parties.

For businesses, standardization serves as a strategic tool by preparing the market for a new product, even if the new product is still in the early stages of development.

Standardization research with all of its facets – from creation, through the development process and to the implementation of the standard – has, despite progress in recent years, continued to be doomed to a shadowy existence in comparison to innovation research. This is primarily due to the fact that, despite excellent theoretical reviews on the topic, no comprehensive empirical data is available.

For this reason, the German Standardization Panel was set up.

A standardization panel has been established, focussing on the engagement of German companies and research institutions in the field of standardization. In autumn 2012, it was first brought to life in the form of an online survey conducted with the support of the DIN as well as other interested Industry Associations. The survey itself is conceived and the gathered data analysed by the Department of Innovation Economics of the Technical University Berlin. In order to gain statistically representative data, the results are compared with data of the DIN e.V. In the mid-term, the data is used to complete the picture sketched by one survey on innovation initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the nineties and another survey on Research and Development in scientific statistics conducted by the Stifterverband. The project was initiated during the founding phase of the German Society for the Promotion of Research on Standardization e.V. ( by the members DIN, DKE and the HARTING Technology Group and is intended to be fully financed and supported with regard to content by the society.


The time span between the first emergence of an innovative idea and the successful and comprehensive penetration of a market by this innovation can be long. As innovations are effected by an array of business internal and external factors, long-term surveys in the sense of a repeated gathering of company specific information are necessary for innovation research. Subsequently, on behalf of the European Commission, an innovation survey was established in the early nineties in the member states of the European Union. The data gathered in Germany exists in the form of a panel, i.e. the same businesses are repeatedly questioned about their innovation activities and other innovation-related topics.

This panel data represents the most important data source for business-related innovation research and has led to the development of a vibrant and growing innovation research community.

Furthermore, this data source is used by the European Commission and member state governments to identify necessary innovation policies and to legitimise and evaluate future policy measures.

An equivalent to this data source neither exists at a national nor at an international level in the field of standardization. Regardless of the progress made, standardization research has therefore received less public attention than innovation research. Despite comprehensive theoretical work, this is primarily because of the fact that only little comprehensive empirical survey data suited for the solving of central problems of standardization research is available. This shall be remedied by the establishment of the “German Standardization Panel”.


The data generated by the DNP forms the basis for scientific research on the standardization activities of companies, the implementation of standards, and the effects of standards on entrepreneurial success. The results of the survey can also be used to develop strategies for the involvement in European and international standardization, as well as to articulate national business interests, among others, vis-à-vis the European Commission.

An additional goal of the German Standardization Panel is to address current standardization policy issues as a means to assess any initiatives taken. The last survey waves addressed the role that standards and standardization play in trade with the United States and China, as well as the consequences of digitization and digital networking on formal and informal standardization. The data thereby facilitates the identification of new trends.

Finally, the panel raises awareness of the importance of standardization for businesses which have not yet used formal standards or been active in standards, thus motivating and encouraging increased participation. This requires a wide dissemination of the survey results via reports such as this one. The DNP thereby helps to achieve the objectives of standardization research, policy and promotion.


Heuristic model

The German Standardization Panel is conceived in a way to consider both long-term observations and current trends. Therefore, the annual survey is divided into two sections: core questions and questions related to a specific subject. The core questionnaire is based on the following heuristic model (see Image). This model is comprehensive, allowing for the integration of a broad array of topics and questions. It also illustrates the multidimensional links between participation in the standardization process, the implementation of formal standards and corporate success.

heuristic model

The effect which standards have on the “success” of organizations and their determinants are considered in different ways, e.g. as direct involvement in the standardization process or as the implementation of existing standards. Standardization activities are characterized by the nature and scope of the work itself, e.g. time required, necessary human resources, participation in standards committees, etc. With regard to the implementation of standards, various dimensions of costs and benefits are determined. Apart from these aspects, which mainly concern the standardization process itself and the implementation of standards, the DNP’s long term goal is to assess the impact of standardization, as well as the application of standards on business success.

A number of questions can be asked in this context: Does participation in the standardization process increase the success achieved through the implementation of formal standards? Does standardization have a direct impact on corporate success or is the impact indirect, e.g. observable via networking opportunities? Which dimensions of success are influenced by standardization? Do the insights gained apply mainly to those who actively participated in the development of a given standards, or is there a more general learning process? What does this learning process look like? How do company-specific characteristics influence company success through standardization work? Does the impact of standards work vary depending on sector or company size? These and other questions can only be satisfactorily answered with suitable statistical methods.


timeline 2012 - 2017


Standards and public law

This year's topic is motivated by the connection between (formal) standards and public law, mainly on European level. Based on the New Approach and the New Legislative Framework, EU guidelines and regulations can set essential requirements that are of public interest and leave the definition of technical solutions to "harmonized standards".

When manufacturers apply these harmonized standards, conformity with the requirements of guidelines or regulations is presumed. Standards however remain voluntary recommendations, as manufacturers are free to diverge from them and document conformity in other ways.

There are also cases where national law references (formal) standards (e.g. the German product safety law). As on EU level, the application of referenced standards is mostly voluntary, but applicants can benefit from the presumption of conformity.

Against this background, the special section deals with the difference in perception and participation of standards / standardization and public law / legislation.


future-proof digital standards

Nowadays, standards are being published as digital documents. They do however still largely depend on the classical paper format and will be affected by further digital transformation. New requirements will be raised regarding the digital publishing of their contents. New usage scenarios, like representations that can adapt to a variety of digital devices, usage in mobile contexts or an automated way of processing standards' contents, are drivers for the continued development of future-proof digital standards.

The 2017 special part referred to those usage scenarios and requirements on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to the role of digital formats in the standardisation process.


industry 4.0

The results of the fifth wave and of the panel data set, which is based on the last four years, were presented for the first time on 27 June in the premises of DIN e.V..

Focus topic of the Workshop was this year's special topic "the role of standards in the context of industry 4.0".


digitally integrated economy

The fourth round of the German Standardization Panel with the special section addressing the implications of the digitally integrated economy for standardization is completed.

Last year's results have been validated and first trends have been confirmed.
Through linkage of the last three waves, a panel data set was generated, which contains 1,200 firms and industry representatives. It provides new insights into the development of standardization activities of participating companies.


trade with China

The third wave of the German Standardization Panel’s survey was launched on 14 October 2014, World Standards Day. The participation of more than 2,000 experts indicates sustained acceptance of the questionnaire. For the first time, this year it is possible to link the data from the second and the third wave. The unique dataset, which consists of more than 500 companies, provides new insights into changes in the standardization behavior as well as the implementation of standards of German firms over time.

On 28 April 2015 the participants of the third round of the German Standardization Panel in 2014 were the first to be presented with the results of the survey in the premises of DIN (German Institute for Standardization). Special emphasis was given to the role of standards for trade with the People's Republic of China in comparison to trade with the United States. Detailed results are published in form of a Indicator Report.



After the completion of the second round of the German Standardization Panel's survey in late 2013, the results were analysed and presented during a workshop in the DIN (German Institute for Standardization). The results were thereby initially presented to the survey participants and later made available to the general public via the "DIN-Mitteilungen" magazine.

In addition, the standardising companies taking part in the Mannheim Innovation Panel were identified and compared with businesses not active in standardisation.

In 2018, further results were published in the Journal of Policy Modeling.



On 3. June 2013 the results of the first round of the German Standardization Panel survey were presented in the DIN Berlin. The presentation was attended by business and scientific representatives. Matthias Max from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology pointed out exactly how important not only the instrument of standardisation is for the opening of markets, the support of Legislation or technology transfer but also the German Standardization Panel whose results can locate potential for improvement in standardisation work. After the introduction of the German Society for the Promotion of Research on Standardization e.V. (FNS) - which supports and consults the Standardization Panel - the results of the first round of the survey, the structure of the second questionnaire and the publication of the results were discussed with the participants.


Further material


Technische Universität Berlin
Fachgebiet Innovationsökonomie

Prof. Dr. Knut Blind,
MAR 2-5

Marchstr. 23
D-10578 Berlin

Tel.: +49(0)30 314 - 76670
Fax.: +49(0)30 314 - 76628

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