The University in 2040: 6 trends & an infographic.

On November 23, I had the honor of giving a talk at the NRC Live event for Education. I was scheduled immediately after Bert van der Zwaan, rector magnificus at the University of Utrecht. Van der Zwaan launched his book that day: the result of sabbatical he and his wife took in 2015. During that sabbatical they traveled the world and tried to speak with as many educational visionaries as possible. It led to the work: The University in 2040, does it still exist?

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Innovation Ecosystem

Schematic overview to understand the complexity of the Innovation Ecosystem (Infographic)

The Innovation Ecosystem

The Innovation Ecosystem is one of the most under-researched topics. One the one hand because policy researchers usually tend to focus more on polls, elections and international collaboration and business researchers usually tend to focus more on organizations and interorganizational collaborations. However, publisher Edward Elgar has repeatedly published interesting works on innovation policy, innovation systems and the like. An ecosystem of innovation could be described as, quoting Wikipedia, the flow of technology and information among people, enterprises and institutions [which] is key to an innovative process. It contains the interaction between actors who are needed in order to turn an idea into a process, product or service on the market. The Innovation Ecosystem is extremely important to the economy and welfare of a country or region. It is one of the main drivers of GDP. Over the past decades more research has been done on the dynamics behind these ecosystems and its subsystems. Below you’ll find a schematic overview of the innovation ecosystem. It will take you to the download side of Innovative Dutch, where you can download it in full resolution.

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University R&D doesn’t create economic growth

“It is not clear, then, that university-based research necessarily leads to the economic payoffs that governments expect,” the report concludes. “But it does point out that investment in research can lead to higher-quality university education and so improve a country’s “human capital”.”

Read full article: University R&D doesn’t create economic growth

Innovation Management at Avans University

A couple of weeks ago, I had to give a presentation about innovation management at the Frismakers Festival in the Netherlands. The presentation was about innovation management at Avans University, where I’m employed as a lecturer on this topic.

The presentation follows a structured number of steps:

firstly, I had to jump into the subject: the innovation management game, a game about innovation management, a company that is now commercially developed but started as a spinn-off from Avans University.

In the next step, a short summary of the need for innovation in the educational sector followed: it all comes down to our business model. Why are students going to Universities? Right, because they’ll receive graduate certificates. Why do they need them? Right, because companies ask for these credentials. But what if companies are not asking for credentials from a single University anymore, more rather like their new employees to have different certificates from high-end institutes like MIT or Harvard, received by following online courses (which is already possible), why would students go to a smaller institute like ours? The current business model is on the edge of a huge change and educational facilities need to think about their innovative capacity quickly.
In the next phase, I explained what we did: the process of innovation. The direction of innovation is mainly top-down. But most of the (fuzzy front end of) innovation starts bottom-up, like in many professional organizations. Therefore, many great ideas will never make it to a good business case, let alone a true a commercial product or service.


So what did we learn? Innovation has to be facilited both top-down (for the larger projects, oftenly incremental) as bottom-up (for radical ideas). We also learned that innovation (therefore) mostly happens incidently. However, the whole idea behind innovation management is to not let is happen incidently. And thirdly, there is never enough time. Innovation is something we usually do in the weekends.

Bottom line: we acted on it by creating a new rol: the innovation director (1 fte) in the lowest level of hierarchy in the organisation: the team of lecturers. All the lecturers got 5% of their time to spend on innovation, which is managed by this director. Ideation and Concepting are seperated; some people are better at the first, some people do better at concepting. The director talks to the educational board and makes sure that project fall within strategic plans or – when not – are supported by external or internal financial resources. And it’s starting to pay off.

The video:

Google expands Start-up University

Started in early 2009, Google Ventures has seen an increasing number of successful investments over recent years. As part of the program Google Ventures launched a Start-up Lab program to create an innovation lab; a place where entrepreneurs can develop their products, collaborate and tap into google employees. Moreover, to develop in-depth knowledge, Google Ventures created the Start-up University, a place where entrepreneurs “can bring questions, curiosity and unsolved problems to the table.”

This University program has been a huge success, according to Bill Maris, Google Ventures’ managing partner: “This is a program that people are vigorously signing up for,” Maris said. “We have a waiting list of teachers, and these are all people who have started companies before, and who have been there. We can’t feed this stuff to our portfolio companies fast enough,” so he said to the Wall Street Journal. Therefore, Google Ventures is expanding: from 1100 m2 to 2250 m2 in the near future. The total amount of capital has grown from 100 million dollar annually in 2009 to 200 million dollar annualy in 2012.


Some of the most successful results of Google Ventures are the exits of HomeAway vacation rental services and gaming company Ngmoco who exited for 400 million dollar each last year. Another company, Silver Spring Networks, developing smart grids, went public last year.

Read the full article here.

Stanford Technology Ventures Program: already 50K subscribers

Next January, new (free) courses on Technology Entrepreneurship will be offered at Stanford University. The programs consist of separate video colleges of about 8-12 minutes each, counting up to almost 2 hours a week on course material. And above all, this is – amazingly – completely for free. We would like to recommend the following two courses:

Technology Entrepreneurship

Do you want to know how to get entrepreneurial spirit into your – small or large – organization? Do you want know how to accelerate entrepreneurship and create new markets? According to their program website, these are exactly the questions that you will get answers for. The course will teach you about taking risks, managing ideas and turn these into opportunities. The courses are provided by professor Chuck Eesly. In this video he will introduce himself and the course:

Subscribe direcly for this course here.

The Lean Launchpad

Do you rather want to know how turn ideas into small companies or start-ups, when you are aware when there is no big money available? Do you prefer not to care about business plans, revenue models and organization structures? Then you’re wright, because this class will teach you nothing about that. It will teach you about turning those small ideas in the interesting business models for start-ups. It will make you ready for real practice. Steve Blank, a serial entrepreneur, will tell you more about it:

Subscribe immediately here.

Are you in?

Please let us know below if you are following the course and what you’re expectations are. Have fun.