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Coldenhove Papier wins 2016 Erasmus Innovation Award

Based on the results of the Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor 2016, W.A. Sanders Papierfabriek Coldenhove B.V., colloquially known as Coldenhove Papier, was voted the most innovative enterprise in the Netherlands by an independent jury. The company was presented with the 2016 Erasmus Innovation Award at the Getting Smart event in Rotterdam on 24 November 2016.



Three leading companies which have shown a high level of innovation were nominated for the 2016 Erasmus Innovation Award, whose shortlist was based on the nature of the companies, desk research and interviews with the companies’ managers:

  • Mifa Aluminium B.V.
  • Posterama Screen Productions B.V.
  • W.A. Sanders Papierfabriek Coldenhove B.V.

Non-technological innovation

The three shortlisted companies not only set themselves apart from the pack in terms of technological innovation, but also in terms of non-technological innovation. Non-technological innovation is also known as social innovation. It comprises new ways of organising, managing, working and collaborating. It increases the returns on new and existing technological know-how. This is why these three companies were shortlisted for the 2016 Erasmus Innovation Award.

The jury

The jury that chose the winner of the 2016 Erasmus Innovation Award comprised:

  • Thomas Grosfeld – innovation and top sectors policy specialist of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW)
  • Mariëtte Hamer – chair, Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands
  • Bertholt Leeftink - director-general of the Enterprise and Innovation Directorate of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs
  • Piero Overmars – member of the board of the Goldschmeding Foundation
  • Frans Van Den Bosch – RSM professor of management interfaces between organisations and environment
  • Henk Volberda – RSM professor of strategic management and business policy.

Coldenhove Papier

Coldenhove Papier was founded in 1661, when it operated a paper mill. The company used to focus on producing high-quality paper for special applications, for example paper produced especially for envelopes. The company quit producing conventional paper solutions for envelopes and hanging folders in early 2016. It is now switching to solutions whereby paper is used as data carrier by means of sealant layers, seal barriers and digital transfer printing, and it now sells to markets it never used to serve before, such as the textile industry and the medical industry.

For example, Coldenhove Papier developed and patented Jetcol, a type of digital sublimation paper which can be used to digitally print polyester fabrics, such as cycling apparel. Furthermore, the company has begun to develop specially coated paper which enables it to apply codes to individual packages of medical products. Unlike many of its competitors, the company is a big name in small markets.

Social innovation

The company from Eerbeek received above-average scores for several indicators of innovation – to be more precise, indicators of technological and social innovation. The jury praised the company for the manner in which it continues to reinvent itself. One member of the jury called Coldenhove Papier a player in the “vanguard of the development of the paper-manufacturing industry”. Another member of the jury described the organisation as the epitome of a company active in a sector which is currently facing significant challenges.

In addition, the jury appreciated the company’s way in which innovation is organised. It spoke highly of the company’s introduction of innovation teams, an innovation board, an innovation objective and collaboration with various external parties, such as universities and universities of applied sciences. All things taken together, the winner of the 2016 Erasmus Innovation Award is a fine example of how innovation in the broadest sense of the word helps an organisation to keep going and to keep its employees in a job.

More information

Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor 2016

The Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor is published annually by the INSCOPE research institute of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The study was led by RSM’s Professor Henk Volberda. The results of the study show which sectors and regions are seeing the greatest level of innovation and also how this is affecting the employment rate.

The survey distributed as part of this study was designed using existing rating scales described in academic literature. Senior managers of some 10,000 organisations were sent a hard-copy invitation to take part in the survey. The survey was completed by 614 respondents, who represented a wide range of sectors, including wholesale and retail and the food and accommodation service industry (15%), agriculture, food production and horticulture (12%), and construction and real estate (10%).

The 2016 Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor was partially funded by the Goldschmeding Foundation.

Download the 2016 Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor here (in Dutch).

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s leading research-based business schools. 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. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Ramses Singeling, Media Officer for RSM, on +31 10 408 2028, or by email at singeling@rsm.nl.

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