On a working visit to High Tech Campus Eindhoven, a director of a brand-new campus in the Middle East once complained that his buildings all looked fantastic and the campus was even launched with a video by a Hollywood director. But nothing was happening there. It was only after a few visits to Eindhoven that he understood: it was about the vibe.
Years earlier, I came as HR advisor and alpha in a world of betas to the Natlab, famous experimental lab at Philips. There I saw how incredibly important the atmosphere and trust factor are and how you can make it easier for people to meet. Later, I got the chance to do just that as operational director of The Strip. The Strip brings together all the catering and conference facilities for the 11,000 campus residents and the outside world. This has grown into a village square, the beating heart where ideas and businesses are linked. Here, we do everything we can to facilitate and stimulate chance encounters. It is precisely these encounters that play a major role in innovation.
Innovation is a way of thinking and doing that has become second nature in the Brainport region of Eindhoven. We owe this not only to our knowledge and skills, but above all to our belief in social innovation. Only a quarter of innovation success depends on technical breakthrough.
75% of its success depends on social innovation, working together in smart, horizontal networks based on mutual trust and common sense. Almost everyone has worldwide access to knowledge, it’s all about what you do with it. An additional advantage of Eindhoven: we are here in Western Europe where we are less hierarchical and dare to seek each other out more easily.
As of the past few years, we also have the Gerard and Anton Awards for the best startups. Of the two Philips brothers, Gerard was the technician and inventor, Anton had the business instinct. With such an initiative, it made sense for me to call our contact person at V.O. for support. And that, in turn, led to sponsorship. And so we all work together on (social) innovation. That is the strength of Eindhoven.
Owner of Social Machines and former director of marketing at High Tech Campus Eindhoven and director of Brainport Industries Campus