City marketing organization Eindhoven365 has written a strategic plan for the period between now and 2021. But hey, isn’t that something for science-fiction? Five years foresight, who on earth is able to have it? The reader of the plan (and viewer, as it is filled with beautifully designed pages) immediately knows better: Eindhoven365 is not only bursting with ambition, there is also plenty of realism to link all the attractive ideas directly to feasibility and adaptability.

Eindhoven365 is now exactly 5 years old, so it was time for a reassessment. If the first five years were devoted to research and building a brand, now it would be the moment for its activation. To put Eindhoven on the world map, literally, because for all the local events Eindhoven365 has formed a new organisation: Eindhoven247. Director Peter Kentie: “We believe in Eindhoven as an exciting city of Technology, Design and Knowledge; it needs to play an important role on the global stage of creative innovation.”

The guiding motto of the first period goes well with the new strategic lines. “Who chooses, will be chosen.” Eindhoven has benefited from it in recent years “and the strong premise is still viable”, says Kentie. “For Eindhoven365 a new phase starts now, with a reformulated ambition, a sharpened focus and new milestones. Our goal is to position the city as a frontrunner of a creative-innovative Europe. This way, it remains extremely important to always make clear choices stay decisive. The goal is to remain economically relevant and in doing so we keep the city liveable and affordable for every resident.”

“Join us in the prototyping of the future”

Another thing that stays the same is the awareness that Eindhoven is what it is. Kentie: “We are not a historical city with beautiful classic architecture; in that respect there are plenty of cities that do fit in that picture, even near here, like Den Bosch and Breda, to just name a few. You could say that we are not the prettiest girl in the class. Instead, we are the most exciting. We are the city that surprises you and invites you to join us in the prototyping of the future.”

The period of investigation is largely completed, there is now a clear picture of both the city itself and its position on the world stage. Kentie and his team know that there is still some work to be done before the targets (which have to do with the attractiveness of the city to an international audience of visitors, knowledge workers and talents) will be achieved. “On a global level, we see two major developments,” says Kentie. “First, the migration to the big cities and on the other hand the global war on talent is clearly visible.”

Kentie and his team think that Eindhoven can attract all those international talents – creative students, professionals and starters – better if the city would position itself as the experimental city of the future. But there is quite a heavy task, because we need to substantially improve our urban ‘liveability’. The quality of life indeed is more and more an important factor in the choice of the talents.” Hence the Eindhoven365 strategy is closely linked to the Binnenstadsvisie, to which Kentie’s organization has contributed profoundly.

Based on all the research and all related trend analysis, three “personas” were developed, which serve as a model for the target groups which are sought initially. In the five-year plan, they are described as follows:

1. Bright Talent: This is the core target group of Eindhoven365. An international audience coming to Eindhoven because they find this the ideal place to realize their dreams. They are innovators who are trained technologically, and are conceptually fascinated by creative innovation. Because they operate at the cutting edge of technology and design and look for opportunities right there. The experimental global driven by the unknown. Local successful examples are Dave Hakkens, Jalila Essaidi, Arne Hendriks, Koert van Mensfoort and Teresa van Dongen.

2. Tech Starter: This group sees Eindhoven as the ideal place to start a tech business. They are the entrepreneurs who must ensure that the Eindhoven region is building its next ASML. They are resolute perfectionists with a drive to bring to market innovative products with disruptive and sustainable value. They are often stubborn perfectionists who have a mindset with the right combination of technology and business skills. Local successful examples are Daan Kersten, Sjaak Dekkers, Peter Weijmarshausen, Richard Visser and Alex Terpstra.

3. City Explorer: This is the audience that will visit Eindhoven for a shorter period. Our estimate is between 2 days and 2 weeks. They like innovators and creators and their purpose, as Early Adopter, is to gather inspiration, but also to inspire and influence their own (online) followers. The City Explorer actually acts as ambassador of the city while at the same time they create economic value generated by the money spent in the city hotels, restaurants, culture, retail, etc. The Dutch Design Week is an ideal time to attract City Explorers.

(foto uit het strategiedocument van Eindhoven365)

(foto uit het strategiedocument van Eindhoven365)

In short, Eindhoven is looking for creative inventors, startups and tourism ambassadors. But the city is realistic enough not to compete with cities like London, New York, Tokyo or Shanghai. “It would be megalomania to want to play in this arena, as we know that especially our technology and design clusters are really competitive.” Eindhoven now focuses at a group of smaller but equally energetic cities like Hamburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Leipzig.

One could compare the work of Eindhoven365 with arranging a beautiful display window. The most innovative products have a place in it so that they attract as much attention as possible, but behind the window there must be a store with a strong core collection, otherwise even the best display window makes no sense. “In positioning the window, we sometimes act as initiator, sometimes as a connector and sometimes as a supporter. But everything we do must contribute to attracting the international talent.”

Eindhoven365 has developed five lines along which the strategy is implemented:

  1. Talent Town
  2. Scale-up Hub
  3. Liveable City
  4. Smart Society
  5. Media Hotspot

The next five days E52 digs deeper into each of these strategic lines.