Recognizing the most innovative SMEs in the Netherlands
On August 20th, the Top 100 most innovative SMEs in the Netherlands were announced at the event, the Blue Oceans Day.
“The SME Innovation Top 100”, (or “De MKB-Innovatie Top 100” in Dutch), is an initiative to award and recognize the most innovative SMEs in the Netherlands. The Syntens Innovation Network, an initiative under the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, began the event 10 years ago and over time it progressed to the Netherlands’ Chamber of Commerce. This year’s tenth anniversary, inspired by Blue Ocean Strategy, was named the Blue Oceans Day. That is because SMEs that have applied Blue Ocean Strategy have ranked high on the list over the years. The event was organized with cooperation from De Financiele Telegraaf which is part of the Netherlands’ biggest newspaper.
The mission of the Chamber of Commerce of the Netherlands is to stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country. Recognizing that innovation drives national economic growth and that SMEs are essential on this journey, the annual event is set to foster and showcase the country’s most innovative ideas and businesses, and recognize those companies that bring the highest value to society.
The Blue Oceans Day
The event attracted a lot of attention from SMEs, entrepreneurs and media. The SMEs were given a dive into “De Blauwe Oceaan”, or Blue Ocean Strategy, in order to further inspire them to create uncontested market space and create new demand. Towards this end, Professor of Innovation at Nyenrode Business University Jeff Gaspersz, gave a keynote address on Blue Ocean Strategy as a means of spurring creativity and innovation. Participants were challenged to explore creative collaboration with other enterprises to create blue oceans and new buyer value. Additionally, participants were encouraged to use blue ocean strategy frameworks to engage their employees, customers and noncustomers in creating next innovative ideas. Professor Gaspersz continued by highlighting the need to trigger curiosity and stating that curious people will never stop seeking new innovative approaches and solutions. He likened this to “Looking for a needle in a haystack. Innovative people will find the needle and then ask themselves whether there are more needles.”
The Top 100 SMEs 2015 were selected at the event by a jury consisting of innovation and industry experts. The SMEs were critically assessed on the impact they have on both their specific industry and society as a whole. Those SMEs exhibiting the greatest value innovation are likely to provide the greatest impact and lasting sustainability. The SMEs were also judged on originality, availability in the market, revenues and growth potential. How each of the Top 100 SMEs ranks will be announced at the Day of Innovation on the 1st October when we find out which SME can call itself the most innovative SME in the Netherlands for 2015.
The Blue Ocean message was reinforced by the chairman of the jury, Rudd Koornstra, the founder of Tendris Holding, which invests in companies focusing on market-driven, sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions. Mr. Koornstra urged SMEs to be creative, innovative and solve the world’s biggest problems.
Here are few of the companies that made the Top 100 most innovative SMEs 2015 list:
: specialises in supplying and installing high quality prefab modular concrete bicycle path elements. The introduction of ThermoPath bicycle paths provides frost and snow-free bicycle paths that are low cost and environmentally friendly.
: provides internet in the air. Instead of having to install an expensive and heavy satellite on top of the plane, AirFi enables planes to install small AirFi boxes in the overhead luggage compartment enabling each plane to have its own Wi-Fi network. AirFi will enable passengers to access entertainment on shorthaul flights at a much lower cost and will also enable airlines to generate extra revenue as passengers will also be able to order their Duty-Free items via their smartphones or tablets.
: provides a full bathroom disguised as a closet anywhere in a home. This is particularly attractive for elderly people, who would like to continue living in their own homes, but where their bathrooms have become inaccessible. The installation is similar to that of a machine washing whereby only water, drainage and electricity are needed.
: provides a new role for magnets and replaces the need for temporary steel connections such as for anchoring scaffolding against ships. The McNetiq Controlock is the first magnet that works on any surface, is explosion proof and works without power.
: provides accurate population estimates based on anonymous big data from mobile communications providers. This allows the company to offer statistical information on the number of people and their places of residence and movement, enabling governments and organizations to make more informed strategic decisions.
The Blue Oceans Day coincided with SAIL Amsterdam 2015, an event which celebrates the city’s maritime legacy. Organized only every 5 years, the event see oceans of ships and this year Amsterdam’s waterfront was divided into five ‘Oceans’, with the Blue Ocean catering to the business sector and inspired by Blue Ocean Strategy.
View the gallery of other participating ships at the SAIL Amsterdam website.