Organizations have a great need to guarantee their innovation leadership.

A regional reflection: The Dutch high-tech and semiconductor region of the Brainport region of Eindhoven is responsible for about 40 percent of all patents in the Netherlands. Patents, one of the innovation parameters, show us that the Dutch are powerhouses in hardware innovation. Two (for many) reasons are the presence of strong campuses such as High Tech Campus, Eindhoven University of Technology, Brainport Industrial Campus, Helmond Automotive campus and others.

The campuses form a unique start-up and upscaling climate suitable for Brabant entrepreneurship. Another reason is the presence of worldwide (often Dutch-oriented and hardware-oriented) companies such as ASML, NXP Semiconductors, Vanderlande, VDL group, Signify (formerly Philips Lightning) and Philips. These names are all strong brands and have a Dutch origin. These organizations also have a great need to guarantee their innovation leadership.


A great need does not make it easy. It’s an interesting time for hardware-centric organizations. Several of them are involved in a number of developments and challenges such as geopolitical developments. These affect agendas for inorganic growth. The problem of (raw material) shortages is part of the daily business. As a result, there is more focus on the current hardware output. And talent is a growing challenge across the board.

When we take a closer look at the organizations’ key priorities, we see a number of enabler-dependent priorities to secure their future vision and market position.

The value continues to shift from hardware to software

The value continues to shift from hardware to software and from products to services. To stay at the forefront of hardware innovation, software and services are an important component in realizing this ambition.

Today’s senior leadership agendas within High Tech and Semicon focus on: What are the key prerequisites for hardware organizations to transform into digital R&D organizations? How do we build digital capabilities that can be scaled as fast as our customers demand?

  • Integrate ‘data and analytics’ across the value chain: Lack of a company-wide strategy for data, data and analysis capabilities as well as poor data quality and silo data in older systems prevent organizations from business value to realize. Focus on developing an integrated enterprise-wide data strategy with a strong and reliable data base, data governance, capacity building and new data-driven services for internal and external customers with a high level of self-service.
  • Future engineering practice: R&D organizations have difficulty keeping up with digitalisation. Products change rapidly, the complexity of components increases, bringing new products to market becomes more complicated. Differentiation of hardware innovation becomes stronger software and data component every day. Digitized R&D, Journey to Cloud, Digital Twins are powerful tools to differentiate you from the competition.
  • Supply chain resilience: The world is facing pressure and unstable global supply chain due to global material and chip shortages, COVID-19 and other disturbances such as the ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal. Organizations need (more than ever) to identify critical pathways in the supply chain, reduce risk, optimize their supply networks, be adaptive and transparent to changing demand and supply of goods.
  • Transforming business models and processes: Transition from silo functions to end-to-end processes. Business models focus on modularity, flexibility and speed, so that they can increasingly adapt to changes and the introduction of new business models, core systems, new ways of working and (optimized) processes.
  • Human Resources and Partner Sourcing Strategy: Organizations need to rethink their workforce strategy and partner ecosystem to meet demand business demand reach. Development of a hybrid workforce strategy, including procurement approach, future models of workforce engagement and skills learning and development combined with strategic vendors that can accompany industry knowledge, domain knowledge and necessary skill sets and experience.

Reinventing hardware innovation

These are all things that help to intensify and shape (hardware) products and related services in a way that was not possible before. It helps to differentiate, from a perspective within R&D, flexibility, organization and / or personnel management One of the first steps is to include them in your (departmental) strategy. Focus with your teams on your workforce, (digital) capabilities and processes that enable and support these core priorities. Set a vision and define success. At the same time, connect the dots to the wider ecosystem.

(Regional) differentiation of the ecosystem

The power of differentiation lies in the broader ecosystem game. How can you add extra value to your products and services with strong (regional) partners? For example, how can you share and mitigate the supply chain and other risks with the chain? In a world where geopolitics also has an impact on success, it is smart to understand the ‘broader’ regional initiatives as well.

European Chip Act

One of the initiatives that we are enthusiastic about and that is relevant to the semiconductor industry is the European Chips Act. This law will contribute to the European (regional) competitive position in semiconductor technology and applications. With a focus on, among other things, production capacity, research into more advanced chips and tackling the lack of competence.

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