chapter  15
20 Pages

INNOVATION POLICY AND THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR IN THE NETHERLANDS: BROKERING AND PROCUREMENT TO PROMOTE INNOVATIVE…

Among Dutch construction firms the idea is rather widespread that being innovative does not pay off. Research institute TNO identified so-called negative dynamics in the balance between competition and co-operation in the Dutch construction sector (Jacobs et al, 1992). Since then, the situation has improved, but not dramatically: most construction firms still focus on cost-based price competition and their local markets. Essentially they are selling construction capacity, putting all efforts in maintaining their ‘network’ and simply securing future projects. Few firms focus on product improvement and innovation. Customer needs are important but seldom considered critical. Continuing excess demand in the late 1990s has kept fuelling this, mostly due to the scarce building space and strict spatial planning, especially in the Randstad2. Only very few, mostly smaller firms try to invent and transfer best practice from other sectors (mostly project development and engineering firms). Yet even to them, the question remains how to get real pay-offs?