Monday, February 21, 2011

Walk the walk if you talk the talk

By: Rik Hoogenberg, chief executive officer

Recently, the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2010 was published by the European Commission. The Netherlands is characterized as an ‘innovation follower’, ranking 8th among EU member states. Analysts fear that the Netherlands will fall back even further in the coming years.
The Dutch Government, however, maintains its ambition the be among the top 5 of knowledge driven economies worldwide. Why is it so hard to reach this goal?

The answer is found in Michael Porters ‘The Competitive Advantage of Nations’, in which he rightly argues that success factors of enterprises are created by a country or region. Porter comes increasingly to the conclusion that ultimately the environment of the organization is the source of sustainable competitive advantage.

Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands has developed considerably on the officially formulated Dutch ambition, only to find government hesitant to apply this approach in practice. Had a government wide vision on smart solutions, innovation and education been implemented, then private initiatives would have met with a more favorable climate.

Now, smart solutions for agile and efficient public services depend on the personal conviction of visionary leaders, often having to fight fierce battles in order to pursue their innovative goals. This leads to unnecessary delay in adopting innovative solutions and creating a fertile climate for a knowledge based economy.