The Complex Task of Simplicity

Dutch electronics giant Philips wants to make itself easier to manage

Aleksander Perkovic / LAIF for TIME

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Inside an empty former electronics factory in the Dutch town of Eindhoven, hundreds of Philips employees sit around endless rows of tables. Split into small groups, staffers of the Amsterdam-based firm--maker of everything from lightbulbs and toothbrushes to TVs and X-ray machines--get to work. "We're not always an easy company to deal with," says Theo van Deursen, boss of Philips' lighting division. From a platform in the center of the vast space--still latticed with girders and pipes, its walls temporarily lined with giant TV screens--Van Deursen lays down a challenge. "We have to find ways to make the company more simple," he...

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