UBR and Leiden University are conducting practical research into innovation portfolio management

Daniek Bosch & UBR
Author: Daniek Bosch & UBR

Innovation plays a major role in tackling societal challenges faster, more comprehensively and intelligently. In collaboration with the Centre for Innovation of Leiden University, UBR has carried out practical research into innovation portfolio management within the national government.

The definition used for this research is as follows: “innovation portfolio management is an innovation-indicating activity that connects the innovation practices (specific projects, initiatives and programs) with the intention and purpose behind those activities, as well as with the strategic goal of the organization. . ” (OPSI)

Practice-oriented research

The practice-oriented research investigated the research question: “How can portfolio management of innovation projects within the government be set up, with a focus on process, knowledge sharing and culture?”. The research project took six months. It consisted of four scrum sprints where we started from a theoretical foundation resulting in practical, applicable tools for innovation portfolio management.

Together with UBR, the Centre for Innovation has developed a project-focused general innovation methodology for government organisations. The emergence of various innovation portfolio boards within the government with the aim of making innovation projects manageable and transparent provided reason to pursue this research. This new focus, from a portfolio perspective, raised the question of whether an innovation project portfolio can be managed the same way as a regular project portfolio. 

The results

The research consists of three main theoretical frameworks:

  1. A process for portfolio management in innovation projects;
  2. A selection of the most relevant portfolio management skills;
  3. The development of a learning system to implement and reflect on innovative skills

From these frameworks, a set of tools have been developed to support innovation portfolio management in practice. In addition, a community within the government was formed, including all portfolio boards that participated in the study. The community will further test and translate the results into practice in the coming months.


During the government innovation festival, INNOvember, a session was organized in which this research was presented. In this session, we explained how the practice-oriented research was conducted, what the theoretical framework looks like and how the first steps were taken to translate this theory into practical tools.

You can watch this 1-hour session here (in Dutch)

Get in touch with the author

Daniek Bosch
Learning Experience Design