The Netherlands must innovate if it is to maintain its competitive strength. TNO does research into innovation from a spatial economic perspective for two reasons. Firstly, because regional variation in innovation has major implications for regional policy. Secondly, because regional factors can be major determinants in innovation processes.
Our research is based on quantitative data, some of which comes from the innovation survey of Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the NEWCRONOS database owned by Eurostat. Using these sources, we can identify regional innovation systems. By starting with innovation systems, we acknowledge the role of interaction and knowledge transfer between various parties and innovation processes. Which regions offer the greatest potential for which sectors and/or technologies? The innovation benchmark developed by TNO answers this question. TNO uses the innovation benchmark to compare regions, in either a national or European context, in terms of various aspects of regional innovation systems. Think, for example, of investments in research and development (R&D), problems in innovation pathways or the effects of innovation. In this way, concrete starting points for regional innovation policy can be acquired.
Much research into innovation is heavily oriented towards technological modernisation. Recently, the understanding that non-technological aspects of innovation, such as reorganisations and marketing, are just as important as technological modernisation has been gaining ground. Research in the United States indicates the connection between the presence of a creative 'class' in the population and regional development. Similarly, it is evident from business cases that a connection exists between marketing and design and the success van new or modernised products. Think, for example, of the design and marketing of the Senseo coffee-maker from Philips and Douwe Egberts. TNO offers insight into the role non-technological innovation in general and creative industry in particular can play in regional innovation strategies. For example, TNO has mapped the location and activity of creative industry for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the metropolitan area (stedenrij) in South Limburg. On behalf of Premsela, TNO has 'mapped' the economic meaning of design.