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Family-owned companies: Between tradition and innovation

March 23, 2021

reading time: 3 Minuten

by Tilmann Schaal, LGT

Innovation in family businesses - stunted by tradition?

A stumbling block or the ticket to success? At family-owned companies, tradition and innovation often come together to form a unique symbiotic relationship.

From local family businesses working in skilled trades to multinational corporations run by a family – family-owned companies play an important role in the global economy. But they have also felt the effects of the pandemic in recent months. So what makes many of these companies so confident in the current situation? The fact that they have existed for several generations and have already navigated many a crisis.

Is the success of these companies due to their innovative strength or the stabilizing effect of tradition? In our series of articles on this topic, our writers get to the bottom of these questions, talk to recognized experts and meet with representatives of family-owned companies.

When a company’s tradition inspires innovation

Professor Jaskiewicz (University of Ottawa)

Tradition is often seen as a stumbling block when it comes to the development of a company, but it can also be the other way around. In an interview with MAG/NET, Professor Jaskiewicz of the University of Ottawa (Canada) talks about the positive aspects of tradition for entrepreneurial development.

How family-owned companies use tradition to their advantage

Family-run companies and their path to greater innovation

Professor Kammerlander (Otto Beisheim School of Management)

Digitalization and new technologies, the struggle to attract young talent, coordinating interests within the owner family – these are some of the challenges that family-owned companies face today. In an interview, Professor Kammerlander of the Otto Beisheim School of Management explains how, with a great deal of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, families are forging new paths – and in doing so, are developing a unique innovative strength.

Innovation: “When it comes to further developing products, family-owned companies are in the lead”

Lobmeyr: Taking the sparkle of bygone eras into the future

Lobmeyr, family firm between tradition and innovation
Photo © Lobmeyr.

Lobmeyr, a family-owned company in the heart of Vienna, has been renowned for handmade crystal goods for around 200 years. Once a supplier to the imperial court, its fine glasses and chandeliers are now in demand around the world. Although the company was well-prepared when it came to succession, the modernization of the product range was the cause of debate at the family-owned company.

How tradition and innovation go hand in hand

Value-based entrepreneurship at LGT

The Princely House of Liechtenstein, LGT’s owner, has been using its entrepreneurial skills to create and preserve value for centuries. Learn more about its business activities under “Value-based entrepreneurship”.

Greiner: When the family hands over the reins

The external CEO Axel Kühner in the family-owned Greiner Group
Photo © Greiner AG.

Instead of handing the company over to the fifth generation, the family that owns the Greiner Group decided a few years ago to delegate day-to-day operations to an external CEO. Can such a step be successful? CEO Axel Kühner explains how the inventive spirit of the company’s founder continues to shape the corporate culture today and motivates employees to try out new things.

The first external CEO of the family-owned company

Patek Philippe: A family-owned company that has been coveted for generations

Family business Patek Philippe: an entrepreneurial family as white knight.
Photo © PPCo.

After the Wall Street Crash, the Stern family took over Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe. Watch expert Gisbert L. Brunner follows the exciting journey of a family-owned company that, even after four generations, knows what its client want – and how to ensure its watch creations remain special collectors’ items.

Patek Philippe: Enduring for generations as a family-owned business

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