Innovation capacity

Traditionally, governments at every level have been organised around the principles of efficiency and legitimacy. Today’s challenges call for more than this, however. TNO Vector helps public organisations with societal transitions and innovations, as well as with increasing their innovation capacity.

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What is innovation capacity?

By innovation capacity we mean the set of skills and the underlying conditions in an organisation that are conducive to innovation. Innovation is a continuous learning process. That means a change of culture is needed.


So what are these challenges that are forcing governments to innovate and increase their innovation capacity? Many of them are linked to climate change, population growth, and the geopolitical situation. These developments are forcing the (national) government to tackle transitions in the areas of energy, mobility, and the built environment.

In the main, these transitions are happening at the level of cities and regions, and are therefore placing significant demands on local and regional authorities. A change of culture is needed so that the necessary social and technological innovations can be put into practice. Cooperation within regional groupings is an important prerequisite in this regard.

Increasing innovation capacity

More and more regional and local authorities are becoming aware of the importance of innovation and transformation, and are keen to improve their innovation capacity. TNO Vector helps them with this task. We do this by:

  • Creating an insight into existing innovation capacity
  • Offering advice on improving innovation capacity
  • Organising and facilitating learning processes and communities of practice
  • Helping set up a strategic innovation agenda

Innovation Capacity Framework

TNO has developed a method for mapping innovation capacity. As part of this process we make use of an Innovation Capacity Framework. This consists of five elements that form the basis for assessing an organisation:

  1. Leadership
  2. Organisation
  3. Knowledge management
  4. Network
  5. Learning

The Innovation Capacity Framework gives (local and regional) authorities an insight into the extent to which they have organised their innovation capacity. It also highlights where the challenges lie and what specific follow-up steps are needed to improve innovation capacity.