Institute Change Management and Innovation (CMI)

Institut of Change Management and Innovation (CMI)

“Panta rhei” - “Everything flows”. These were the words used by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (550-480 B.C.) to describe the changing nature of things. It is a remark which can also easily be applied to the evolution of today’s companies, albeit that corporate change is an extraordinarily multi-layered and complex process which covers not only questions about product and marketing strategy but also about how the management is organised or the further development of the quality awareness of the staff, for example. Such transformational processes regularly present the management with difficult challenges, and how it gets to grips with them decides the future prospects of the company in question. Whereas successful changes form the basis for further growth, failed change processes can lead to the liquidation of the company in unfortunate cases. This sentence taken from the British magazine “The Economist” clearly illustrates this problem: “Anyone who tells you it is easy to change the way people do things is either a liar, a management consultant, or both.”

The multiplicity of mergers, reorganisations, strategic realignments, programmes for change and improvement, etc. show the importance which is attached to the goal-directed management of corporate change. Current issues such as digitalisation, Industry 4.0, agile organisation, quality awareness and many more show that the maxim that holds today more than ever is: Business as unusual. Managers in particular must be able to deal with this challenge in a goal-directed and professional way, provide their staff with clear guidance, and demonstrate how to make their company fit for the future.

As the Institute of Change Management and Innovation (CMI) we have spent more than twenty years investigating current issues relating to innovation, change and quality management. We focus on carrying out national empirical studies and providing specialist methodological support to commercial enterprises and non-profit organisations. To this end, our team of ten, comprising economists, psychologists, engineers and physicists, successfully tackles interdisciplinary problems and develops concrete ways of solving them.

Our leitmotiv is applied academic research in the service of practical applications.

We search our fields of competence for the latest academic findings and transfer them to concrete, practical problems. Taking this as our basis, we look for effective solutions and ensure they are successfully transferred into practice. The pragmatic academic goal on which this is based necessitates that current trends and topics in the CMI fields of research are recognised at an early stage, tackled in the form of projects, and worked through in close cooperation with the companies.

In our work, we use our interdisciplinary competence and experience to combine the “hard factors” of the economic-technical level with the “soft factors” of the psychological level. This holistic approach allows us to undertake a precise analysis and explanation of complex cause-and-effect relationships, too. This forms the basis for specific recommendations.

Our current fields of research are:

  • Quality awareness as a decisive factor for success for excellent product, process and corporate quality,
  • The function of innovation and quality in the company – sparring partners or competitors,
  • Analysis of typical success and failure factors in change processes,
  • Assessment of the relationship between the strategy, structure, culture and systems spheres of activity in corporate transformation,
  • Effects of digitalisation on the managers and the management of companies,
  • Proactive identification and effective elimination of “Pain Points” in product innovation processes,
  • Investigation of the cause-and-effect relationship between the culture of innovation and the success of innovation.

Through our main fields of research – and also through Bachelor and Master projects – we maintain intensive contacts to a large number of well-known commercial enterprises and non-profit organisations. Here is a list of some of our partner companies.PDF.


Esslingen University of Applied Sciences
Institut of Change Management and Innovation (CMI)
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. (KNUTD) Dietmar Vahs
Flandernstraße 101
D-73732 Esslingen
Phon: +49(0)711.397-4364 (4307)
Fax: +49(0)711.397-4312



Interested? Apply now! for the wintersemester 2024/2025