Nominees announced for Erasmus Innovation Award 2015
Research institute INSCOPE – Research for Innovation has announced the nominees for the Erasmus Innovation Award 2015. The winner of this year’s award will be announced on 19 November 2015 during the Innovation Festival 2015 at the Rotterdam Science Tower. INSCOPE has been conducting the annual survey Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor in the Dutch private sector since 2016. This survey is headed by Henk Volberda, professor of strategic management and business policy at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).
The nominated organisations are Hanskamp AgroTech BV, Resato International, TrackJack and YoungCapital. “The firms nominated for the 2015 Erasmus Innovation Award not only set themselves apart with new products and services, but are also renewing their own internal organisation, which allows them to take optimum advantage of its potential – in terms of human resources, collaboration and leadership,” said RSM Professor Volberda, scientific director of INSCOPE.
The winner of this year’s Erasmus Innovation Award will be announced during the Innovation Festival 2015, which is organised by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and Stichting Platform Digital Manufacturing. Part of this year’s Innovation Festival is the How To Get There Summit, where the Netherlands’ best entrepreneurial minds come together, including start-up founders, CEOs, professors, and politicians.
The Innovation Festival features speakers such as Henk Kamp, Dutch minister of economic affairs; Neelie Kroes, former European Commissioner for Digital Agenda; and Prof. Jan Peter Balkenende, former prime minister of the Netherlands. Combining the powers of these stakeholders on a national level aims to enhance the country’s innovative capacity.
The jury that will select the winner of the Erasmus Innovation Award 2015 is made up of:
- Thomas Grosfeld – innovation and top sectors policy specialist at the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW)
- Mariëtte Hamer – president of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER)
- Theo Koster – director of NEVAT
- Bertholt Leeftink – director-general of enterprise and innovation, Ministry of Economic Affairs
- Frans Van Den Bosch – professor of management interfaces between organisations and environment, RSM
- Henk Volberda – professor of strategic management and business policy, RSM.
Hanskamp AgroTech BV
Hanskamp AgroTech BV supplies solutions to the dairy farming industry, with a focus on solutions in the area of nutrition. The firm strives to provide practice-oriented solutions that not only increase milk production volumes, but also improve the animals’ welfare. The realisation of practical, innovative solutions plays a key role in the company’s activities. Examples of solutions realised by the firm include a feedstation walkthrough and a cattle feed pipefeeder. The latter device not only contributes to a calmer environment for the cattle to eat their feed in peace, it also creates more hygienic conditions – by preventing rats from ending up in the cattle feed, for example. In its realisation of these and other novel solutions, the firm relies in part on the experience of its employees in the agricultural sector, in combination with an ability to discover specific issues in the sector that are still in need of a solution. In addition to introducing a range of new products, over time, the firm has been directing more and more attention to markets beyond the Netherlands such as France.
The company does not work in production, but develops new solutions for the industry that proceeds to distribute these solutions via a network of existing dealers. The products of Hanskamp AgroTech BV do not compete directly with the dealer’s existing products, but complement them. And the same applies to the firm’s positioning. By operating in a niche market in which it is generally the sole player, the company is able to complement the major players that offer solutions in the agricultural sector.
Resato International develops and manufactures high-pressure components and systems. One of the solutions offered by the firm is the ACM waterjet, which uses pressurised water to cut steel, stone and other dense materials. Resato is one of the few companies worldwide to manufacture these solutions in-house. Other solutions in the firm’s product range include high-pressure pumps and components for hydraulic hose testing systems. Resato’s solutions are deployed in a wide range of sectors, including the oil, gas, marine and chemical industries.
Resato International not only focuses on developing new solutions, but also on entering new markets. As a result, its solutions are already exported to around 80 countries worldwide. In addition, the company has taken a number of steps to increase its presence on the US market. These efforts to open up new markets are in line with Resato’s transition from a relatively product-oriented organisation to a more market-oriented organisation.
TrackJack B.V. strives to play a pivotal role in connecting a variety of players in the area of information. For example, the firm is developing a number of new fleet management solutions, ranging from travel distance records for tax purposes to security solutions for company fleets. In developing its products and services, the organisation builds on modern vehicle location technology, in which a device built into the vehicle ‘talks’ with other devices included in the relevant information system. Examples include solutions in the field of fleet management, itinerary records that meet the requirements set by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration and vehicle tracking systems. The company has also developed various mobile apps in this context. Another product that the company has developed is the ‘Spotter’: an app that allows parents to locate their child with the aid of GPS and subsequently call them. In other words, a kind of navigation device – but one that indicates the location of a child rather than a vehicle. The firm is also working on solutions for locating other unique categories of people, for example a shoe insert with GPS connectivity for the elderly.
TrackJack B.V. is also introducing solutions like these to other markets, including China. To more effectively enter the German market, the firm has set up a special certification programme with inspection organisation TÜV, as well as unfurling a number of new online sales activities. In developing its solutions, TrackJack benefits from the close cross-functional connections within its organisation, as well as from giving ample leeway to its younger team members. The company is characterised by a high level of self-sufficiency within its workforce, and an extensive training programme.
YoungCapital focuses on bringing young, highly-qualified and talented employees in contact with potential employers. Initially, it did this under the label ‘StudentenWerk’, but the firm now operates under the labels ‘YoungCapital’, ‘StudentJob International’ and ‘YoungCapital Professionals’. The organisation is characterised by its use of modern technology to link up-and-coming professionals to interested firms by means of ‘e-recruitment’. This is reflected, among other things, in an online network with 30 specialised target audience sites, mobile applications and video content. Recently, the company started employing virtual reality technology to give prospective employees an impression of the hiring organisation. In addition, YoungCapital has introduced what are known as ‘emotional contracts’, in which the employer and employee pledge to stay together for at least two years and invest in one another. YoungCapital has established the YoungCapital University, so that it can offer its team new opportunities to learn and work on their further professional development.
The firm works in partnership with its clients to develop new recruitment approaches in the shape of intensive traineeships that allow talented young professionals to swiftly obtain starter certificates for sectors that have a strong demand for ‘new blood’, for example IT. The firm works from the philosophy that younger and older employees can learn from each other through knowledge exchange: ‘renewal via rejuvenation’.
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top-tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has an office in Taipei, Taiwan. www.rsm.nl
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