25 February 2021
Mark Johnson, the man of hundreds of patents: "There is no training to become an inventor"
A powerful combination of high-tech, design and social innovation has enabled Brainport Eindhoven Region to adapt to major changes. Brainport is also traditionally a smart region, leading in Research & Development. This unique DNA is the source for Brainport’s success and in recent years, we’ve used these factors increasingly to achieve economic growth. But being smart and strong is no longer enough – today’s rapidly changing world requires adaptability too. It’s for this reason that the Brainport Foundation has chosen a new strategy: Brainport Next Generation.
It’s vital to be able to adapt to new developments with speed and capability, and will ensure success in the long-term. Rapidly changing markets make traditional models redundant, so our region has to align its strategy accordingly. We’re looking for a new route to the future that’s inclusive for all our stakeholders. This means moving away from the Triple Helix model (where educational institutions work together with industry and government) to a Multi Helix model which also involves citizens, customers, consumers, investors, designers, artists and corporations. We must look for connections between technology, design and social innovation, and also build bridges to other international knowledge regions that can help strengthen Brainport’s position.
In the past, the Brainport Foundation has revised its strategy in response to financial crisis ('Stimulus programme', 1995), and government intervention (development of 'Brainport 2020' in 2009). In contrast, the Next Generation strategy has been motivated by the region’s success. Brainport is thriving and we can be proud of the economic results that have been achieved: in the past decade the regional economy has grown on average 50 per cent faster than the rest of the Netherlands, and unemployment has been lower than the national average. The number of start-ups has increased significantly, more foreign companies have opened offices here and the number of international knowledge workers in Southeast Netherlands has tripled in five years. However, past success is no guarantee for future performance, and that is precisely why we’re adopting a new strategic approach.
It seems like there’s never been a time when so much is changing on so many fronts all over the world. Globalization and digitization are driving these changes at breakneck speed. Rather than regarding this as a threat, we’re focusing on the opportunities that it brings for the region. Brainport’s strengths in R&D, technology and open innovation put it in the perfect position to benefit from change. Business and industry, government, educational and research institutions, entrepreneurs, employees and residents of the region all need to be adaptable and responsive to this rapidly changing world. The Brainport Next Generation Strategy will help this future vision become a reality.