July 10, 2019

Strengthening the innovation force by taking time to think

International competition is becoming increasingly fierce. Innovation and knowledge development are going faster and faster. At Amsterdam Science Park, more and more companies are joining in on fundamental knowledge development in order to attain or keep a head in their market. How do they do that? What investments do they make? And what does it yield them? These are questions that were central to an exclusive, intimate and inspiring dinner where around 35 CEOs / CIOs and distinguished scientists met in Restaurant Polder at Amsterdam Science Park on the first of July.

The visiting CEO’s could sit down at one of the four round tables where a prominent scientist from the Amsterdam Science Park and his business partner informed them about their collaboration. The sample projects come from the focus areas of the Amsterdam Science Park; Digital Innovation/AI and Sustainability. Paul Groth from the Informatics Institute of the UvA introduced the ICAI-lab constructions, where companies work together with PhD-students on fundamental AI questions that can lead to a breakthrough in their business model. Rob van der Mei from CWI and Vincent van den Brekel from spin-off company Stokhos told how they safe lives with mathematics and software development by optimizing response times of ambulances.

Willem Bouten, ecologist of the UvA and Luuk Folkerts from Gemini wind farm explained how they work together to forecast birds behaviour so that the wind farm can minimize standstill to safe birds lives. Bas de Bruin, chemist of the UvA, told how he made his father, an artist, happy by improving paint and making the paint more naturally friendly. And Robert-Jan van Putten of Avantium showed that we could not continue with using plastic in the way we do right now. Avantium employs a professor at the university working on developing sustainable plastics.

Kees Noorman, Director ORAM “It’s cozy character gives CEO’s time to discuss and reflect ”

This diner was a cooperation between ORAM, an association of 660 entrepreneurs in Amsterdam, Amsterdam in Business that attracts international companies to Amsterdam and the Science & Business organisation of Amsterdam Science Park. Thanks to this unique cooperation typically Amsterdam companies and big multinationals with an office in Amsterdam sat at one table with researchers coming to Amsterdam from all over the world. Vinay Kulkarni,  CEO of Intelment was positively surprised about the gathering of all those people. He regarded this dinner as a typical Dutch activity. “You Dutch connect everyone”. Probably, this is one of the keys of our innovation force.

Kees Noorman, director of ORAM, enthusiastically states that this kind of diners should be organized more often. “It’s cozy character gives CEO’s time to discuss and reflect”. Some companies were even surprised that they were invited to sit down at a table for a real dinner. An illustration that the international competition makes people rush without taking time to think carefully. Amsterdam Science Park is a unique and quiet spot in Amsterdam where taking time to think is core business.

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