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Journey to the Center of the Innovation

Having compared "patent density" of 250 research activity centers around the globe, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development experts pronounced Eindhoven the absolute leader in innovation. More specifically, Eindhoven produced 22.6 patents for every 10,000 residents, making it the world's most inventive city, whereas its closest competitor, San Diego, claimed the second spot on the list with only 8.9 patents for every 10,000 residents.

For many centuries, Eindhoven, which lacks significant natural resources and located miles away from the major trade routes, was an agricultural region without much potential for development. Since its inception and up until the industrial revolution of the XIX century the city consisted of about 170 houses boxed in by ramparts, and repeatedly fell victim to fires, floods and wars over the nearby strategically valuable areas.

The turning point in the development of the region was the decision of Philips' leaders to move to Eindhoven manufacturing and research divisions of the company. In a couple of decades the agrarian countryside surrounded by impassable marshes became the place of residence of Europe's most eminent engineers and birthplace to design thinking — an innovative approach to the modeling of the future.

In the second half of the XX century, with the beginning of the great migration of European plants to the East, Eindhoven faced dark economic depression: the former Philips factories empty, unemployment growing, experts in the field of research, development and manufacturing leaving the region in search of stability.

The local govermnet decided it was time to rethink the very idea of the area: it was decided to found the cornucopia of ideas, the realm of high technology and Europe's largest intellectual community commonly known as Brainport. The idea proved to be extremely successful: Eindhoven today is the emblem of the knowledge economy and 'the smartest region in the world' according to the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

This year the International Association for Corporate Education invites its partners to visit the world's center of innovation to learn about tools for proactive training and the best practices of corporate learning in innovation.

Based on Forbes materials.

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