Togetherness is key to open innovation in business

Steffie Verstappen
Article by: Steffie Verstappen
Togetherness is key to open innovation in business

The Dutch have access to very advanced technologies. Yet, our capacity for innovation significantly lags behind. Put differently: we have all of the latest technology, but apparently do not manage to take advantage of it fully in order to create innovative products and services. When it comes to creative entrepreneurship, why is it that we are we lagging behind? The solution is to be found in collaboration of the radical kind, the one that moves across a multitude of traditional boundaries.


When looking for answers for the Dutch lag in innovation, we have to look towards the avenues that are available for aspiring entrepreneurs to explore opportunities and find venture capital. A tangible vacuum exists here. Most Dutch business incubation initiatives did not in fact start until approximately four years ago. When we take into account that most of these types of initiatives take at least ten years to prove successful, we have to conclude that we have significant time to bridge before we can pass meaningful judgment. Nonetheless, it is fair to assume that we are on the right track. Put bluntly, lots of funding and patience is needed to make up for the Dutch lag in creative entrepreneurship—and government has an important role to fulfill here.


Additionally, open innovation in business can play an important part. The success of Silicon Valley is often referenced for its open exchange of knowledge and opportunities between students, experienced investors, and job-hopping employees that quickly switch from one career to the next with companies such as Apple, HP, and Microsoft. According to many, these are the ingredients that have created the success that, to this day, has not been matched anywhere else in the world.


Ultimately, a culture that promotes togetherness is the solution. We are not lacking knowledge, neither are we low on initiatives. We need to promote large companies to collaborate with colleagues that are outside their comfort zone, in different industries. We need to look beyond our horizons, across the walls of our own safe havens, and proactively seek out collaboration for our collective benefit.

Find your tribe and togetherness in the THNK Creative Leadership Program. Visit the program page to find out if you qualify or contact us at