RWTH Aachen University is the largest university of technology in Germany and one of the most renowned technical universities in Europe, with around 28,000 students, more than the half of whom are in engineering. Teaching and research are characterized by an international, innovative, and interdisciplinary approach and a close cooperation with industry.

The Research Area "Technology, Innovation, Marketing & Entrepreneurship", short TIME, was established at RWTH Aachen University in 2012. The Research Area consists of the following research groups each led by a full professor.

Professor Brettel: Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WIN)
Professor Hopp: Technology Entrepreneurship (TEN)
Professor Piller: Technology and Innovation Management (TIM)
Professor Salge: Innovation, Strategy and Organisation (ISO)
Professor Wentzel: Marketing (MAR)

Jointly, they pursue an ambitious teaching and research programme with a clear focus on the ideation, development and commercialization of technological innovation. It not only integrates elements of economics and management research, but also seeks to establish lasting links to engineering and the natural sciences.

The Technology and Innovation Management Group at RWTH Aachen University (RWTH-TIM) is one of the leading European institutions researching innovation, technology, business model innovation and customer-centric value creation since its establishment in 1990. Our interdisciplinary team of about 20 employees (FTEs) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Frank T. Piller researches and teaches in close cooperation and exchange with the various faculties of sciences and arts at RWTH Aachen University.

The focus of research is currently set on the management of disruptive innovation, technology acceptance and adaption, the individual modeling of and especially the integration of external actors into the innovation process. Especially in this last field, RWTH-TIM has become an international capacity, leading the research on the famous concept of "Open Innovation". Therein, new forms of cooperation with and integration of customers into the innovation process are researched in close cooperation with international industry partners and other research institutions. Other focused research fields are the identification and overcoming of internal barriers to innovation and the management of multi-variant individualized product portfolios (Mass Customization).

RWTH-TIM participates in numerous major research programs organized and funded by the European Union or German Ministries of Research, Technology and Education. More fundamental research projects are being funded by the German Scientific Society (DFG) and the Initiative of Excellence by the German government. In addition, a large industrial working group and a wide variety of programs in teaching, executive education and coaching guarantees an efficient as effective transfer of new knowledge into practical application.

Overview of our main research topics

Customer Co-Creation: Integration of customers and users in innovation process. Focus on ideation contests (Crowdsourcing), innovation communities, lead user method
Open Innovation: Approaches like tournament-based crowdsourcing or broadcast search to increase the productivity of R&D by external search
Personalization and Mass Customization: Business models to profit from heterogeneities in the customer domain by offering personalized products and services
Business Model Innovation and Disruptive Innovation: Structures, processes, and organizational implementation of a process for corporate business model innovation
Technology & knowledge transfer: Absorptive capacity, managing ambidexterity, and preventing "not invented here" (NIH)
Executive Education: Transfer of new knowledge into practical application


OI-Net project team:

  1. Robin Kleer
  2. Frank Piller
  3. Michael Engel
  4. Patrick Pollok