The Dutch pension system is considered as one of the best in the world. The call for changes in the system to maintain this prime position is broadly present. Some even call these necessary changes innovations. In this paper we argue that the Dutch pension system can – at best – come up with so-called incremental innovations. We show, using theories on innovation, that the Dutch pension sector is vulnerable for radical or disruptive innovative initiatives. From pension cases in emerging countries we signal changes in the pension proposition that bear characteristics to become disruptive. Maybe not in the current shape or form, but it appears that the seeds have been sown. Research on innovation has shown that once the disruptive innovative product or service gains traction it is extremely difficult for the incumbents to adjust their business model and product offering. We suggest that – although the future value chain is not clear yet – the participants in the Dutch pension system should signal and focus on potential disruptive characteristics rather than putting effort in the next incremental step.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.

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