Technological progress through innovation is probably the most important driving force of the productivity (and in turn welfare) growth of developed economies. What happens, however, when it becomes increasingly difficult to develop new, groundbreaking ideas that increase our productivity and promote economic growth? In Germany, we observe that the innovative strength becomes increasingly concentrated in a few industries, such as the automotive and chemical industries. At the same time, other sectors, for example, the software industry, was never really competitive on an international level. A similar specialization also takes place at a regional level. Companies in some regions of Germany, especially in the south, are highly innovative and contribute strongly to overall economic growth, while other regions are stagnating.
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The ocean covers more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface. It is a vast ecosystem that regulates the global climate, provides humans with natural resources such as food, raw materials, and energy, and is essential for international trade as well as recreational and cultural activities. However, pressures resulting from overfishing, increasing resource extraction, various sources of pollution, and alterations to coastal zones and ecosystems constitute severe threats to ocean health and sustainability. In many cases, activities on land such as farming, construction, tourism, and waste discharge have negative impacts on coastal and marine environments with negative feedbacks on human well-being. Even though the knowledge and awareness of these threats and relationships are increasing, approaches to achieving a more sustainable utilisation of ocean resources and services are still rare. Sufficient governance mechanisms are often lacking or only partly or slowly implemented.