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Many Dutch businesses see potentially disruptive issues such as Brexit and the energy transition as business opportunities, and they view investments in social development as more important than investments in technological areas. These are just some of the results from the Dutch Innovation Monitor 2019. The Amsterdam Centre for Business Innovation at the University of Amsterdam’s Business School will present its complete findings on 26 June.

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A team of researchers led by professor of Strategic Management and Innovation Henk Volberda (University of Amsterdam) and supported by SEO Economic Research interviewed around 800 senior managers at Dutch companies. The results of the monitor will be presented during the television broadcast of De Wereld van Morgen (AVROTROS) on NPO1, at 8:25 PM on 26 June.

Hard Brexit preferred
The monitor paid special attention to Brexit. 35 percent of respondents view Brexit as an opportunity, while 20 percent view it as a threat. Only 15 percent of businesses are currently being disadvantaged by Brexit. A majority (32%) still prefers a hard Brexit over continuing uncertainty (26%). Volberda explains: ‘Around 40 percent of the businesses consider themselves prepared for a hard Brexit, whereas only 14 percent do not.’

Energy transition as opportunity
The energy transition is another important issue for Dutch businesses, and the monitor shows that it is regarded in a mostly positive manner. A little over half of Dutch companies (51%) sees opportunities in the energy transition, while only 13 percent regard it a threat. Half the businesses state the transition is affordable, as opposed to the 16 percent who say it is not. Almost 2 out of 3 of the interviewed businesses (63%) are currently working on improving the sustainability of their energy expenditure.

Keeping employees interested
The results around investments and innovation are remarkable, says Volberda: ‘Dutch businesses want to invest almost 3 times more in social development than in classical forms of innovation such as R&D or the purchase of new machines and technology.’ A possible explanation Volberda offers is that companies operating in the relatively tight job market of the Netherlands are highly concerned with appealing to well-educated potential employees.

A few other results of the monitor include that Noord-Holland is front runner when it comes to introducing key technologies; ICT is the most innovative sector; local businesses are lagging in innovation; companies are less interested in upscaling existing markets; and there are untapped opportunities for co-creation with competitors.