Since 2005 I have researched human behavior and labor mobility in open innovation. It is, by far, the most interesting and to my personal opinion important factor in innovation. Starting up Holst Centre as the first non-Philips resident at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, we had quite a task to fulfill growing an institute without any known employer branding.

In understanding the task at hand, I did research into the views of ‘competing’ employers, potential employees and the (blocking) factors on a macro-, meso-, micro- and nanolevel. Macro being the country level, meso the knowledge cluster, micro the organization and nano the people.

One of the greatest opportunities I found for growing Holst Centre, was the fact that we were entering a larger knowledge cluster in the Eindhoven high tech area. At this time the Brainport organization was also spun out of the City of Eindhoven. The high tech cluster, made up out of highly reputed organizations and talents, together was instrumental in attracting talent to the region. Building a constellation of high tech stars.

However, as soon as the talents landed in the region all the organizations started to behave as direct competitors, fishing in the same pond. What was completely overlooked, is the chance of bringing talents to the region for multiple career steps. Once the talents arrived, they could settle their spouse and/or family in a stable situation whilst growing their careers in the same region. So a level of open innovation in talent attraction was necessary.

What we found was that together we were able to grow the perspective of the talents, but also the dual career opportunities for the spouses. In looking at the ‘us’ in the cluster, we also experienced common ground. Building the knowledge cluster reputation was something we all contributed to. We addressed the heroism of the work being done at Holst Centre. And because it still forms a natural stepping stone between academic research at a university and the applied research done in the industry it is a good place to guide them throughout the cluster.

Knowledge clustering, especially in this day and age, is done in ecosystems on very focused areas. Organizations cannot innovate without their trusted partner network. Offering talents multiple steps among different organizations, is part of the trusted partner network.

Don’t you just love the human factor in open innovation? 🙂

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