Holland High-Tech – Positioning of the Dutch high-tech sector worldwide
The vision of the top sector high-tech systems and materials (initiated by the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, mr. Verhagen in 2011) is for the Netherlands to be one of the world’s five leading high-tech suppliers by 2020. In terms of large sales markets, technological collaboration and the ability to attract investors that strengthen the high-tech network in the Netherlands and that attract knowledge workers, skilled workers, and students. This requires all of the involved technology companies to be focused and in synch.
The top team HTSM asked me to develop the Holland High-Tech branding. And to position the business, the brand and the communication. This meant creating a management and coordination role between the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Economy and Innovation, NL EDV/NL Agency, the sector organization FME-CWM, and the technology companies. The challenge consisted of recognizing the interests of each party and sharpening them to the overall interest of the Dutch high-tech sector as a whole.
The top team and high-tech stakeholders specified the main countries of focus in the internationalization offensive: China (Taiwan), Germany, France, the USA and South Korea. I co-authored the vision, the mission and the goals for the branding with the top team. Having analyzed the problem, I made the following recommendation: change the behaviour of the Dutch high-tech sector. Companies in the high-tech sector usually communicate their strengths from the inside out, but to position the whole sector, we have to think from the outside in. We have to show the Netherlands is the place to be for high-tech sector solutions that tackle global social challenges, such as health, renewable energy, mobility, climate and safety. High-Tech Solutions for Global Challenges.
The complicating factor in such a management role is exerting influence without hierarchical authority. This process wasn’t taking place in a safe hierarchical company structure, but in a hybrid collaboration construction. My experience in the high-tech sector and the environment combined with the wish to connect, and knowledge of all of the required communication levels was crucial. This work went further than the knowledge of change procedures or the formulation of theories in communication, organization, leadership or collaborative developments. It meant connecting at different levels. Keeping people interested, continuously talking about the big picture to stimulate intrinsic ambassadorship.
We started in January 2012 and delivered the Holland High-Tech label in April 2012 as a sub-label of the well-known Holland Branding. Website www.hollandhightech.nl ; twitter channel @hollandhightech, factsheets for ministerial trips, technological information on the ‘Holland Branding’ toolkit by EVD for embassies around the world, the orange Holland High-Tech balloon, and dozens of stories that support the Holland HighTech claim. And the promotional film Nederland Innoveert (Innovative Netherlans) by NL EVD/NL Agency. In 2014 the Netherlands were Partner country at the Hannover Messe in Germany. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel of Germany and premier Rutte of the Netherlands opened the Messe by visiting the locations the Holland High Tech House, as well as the Dutch Space sector (NL Space), as I have been arranging.