Innovation Expo 2018: 6000 captivated visitors, 230 innovative exhibitors, 100 matchmaking sessions, 8 thought-provoking keynotes, 1 day. On October 4th the Innovation Network France traveled to the RDM Warf in Rotterdam to be a part of it!
The world faces many challenges in the fields of health, food, mobility, energy, water, sustainability… The question is: can we use innovation to solve these global challenges? The Dutch say: ja !
Ahmed Aboutaleb, Major of the city of Rotterdam, repeated in his keynote speech the wise words of Professor Tinbergen in his keynote: “sharing is multiplying“. If we share our ideas, knowledge, expertise and solutions, we don’t just achieve great results in the Netherlands but we can multiply them globally.
Innovation isn’t easy however. Mona Keijzer, State-Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, emphasized that: “Innovation is something you have to do every day, push through and carry on. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again! Use your experience and knowledge from the first attempt to make the second one better; that’s real innovation.”
Are you not yet convinced about the great ways in which innovation can help us solve global challenges – big and small? Allow me to highlight some examples of Dutch solutions we saw at the Innovation Expo to change your mind:
If you think innovation is stressful:
The Somnox Sleep Robot helps people who are unable to relax fall asleep more easily. It feels like a soft teddy bear, looks like a giant jelly bean, but is actually a smart little robot that simulates breathing rhythms. Because your breathing naturally adjusts to another breathing pattern, the Sleep Robot is able to slow down your breathing. This makes you relax, making it easier to sleep.
If you think you cannot eat innovation:
Wageningen University and The Vegetarian Butcher innovate together and use
technology to transform plants into “meat”. The product resembles it so closely you can hardly see or taste a difference! This is the most effective way to stimulate sustainable consumption by reducing meat intake, since studies have shown that products resembling meat closely hold the greatest appeal for a wide range of consumers and are therefore the greatest potential for reducing meat consumption and creating more sustainable diets!
If you think innovation is only for young people:
Meet LEA, the robot care system that enables elderly and disabled people to live independently in good health and safety as long as possible. This walking companion comes over to the user at the push of a button and supports their movements during walking or standing with it’s smart breaking system and posture correction features.
If you think the government has no role in innovation:
Entrepreneurs are praised for their innovative ideas, but how can ideas grow to become real innovative products and services? Government can play an important enabling role in innovation, for example acting as the “enabling customer” or by pursuing deals (like the Green Deal!) with companies to work together towards a sustainable goal.
During the Innovation Expo 2018, Stientje van Veldhoven, State-Secretary of Infrastructure and Water, signed a Green Deal to stimulate car-sharing. This initiative gathers 40 companies who commit to the goal of having 700.000 users and 100.000 cars for car-sharing in 2021!
If you think what happens in the Netherlands stays there:
The Dutch are keen to share their innovation with the world! During the Expo, the Innovation Network France met with Dutch innovators to help them innovate across borders. For example if you are a Dutch company or researcher who wants to collaborate with the French, you can apply for European funding through Horizon 2020 and Eurostars.
If you are an SME looking for businesspartners, the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) provides you with the opportunity to broaden your network internationally. They organise matchmaking sessions, advise on innovation and technology opportunities, support collaboration projects, provide information on EU financing and law, and the Network just celebrated its 10th anniversary during the Expo! Congratulations!
If this list wasn’t long enough for you:
You can visit the website to see a complete list of all the exhibitors who showcased their innovations during the Innovation Expo 2018.