First successful edition of InnovatingNL in The Hague



The first edition of InnovatingNL, a joint initiative between Bird & Bird and the municipality of The Hague, took place on 30 September 2014. The event focussed on innovation, specifically the Internet of Things and Smart Cities, and was held in the Glazen Zaal in The Hague.

More than 60 executives and senior staff from different national and international organisations (such as Microsoft, TomTom, Royal BAM) took the opportunity to learn more about innovation.

In almost every sector, rapid changes and increasing competition mean that revenues are under pressure and companies must adapt to a new economic reality. The exponential growth of digital technology in particular raises the question of whether traditional business models are still viable.

All of these issues were discussed during an interactive session led by Ferry Mingelen, a well-known Dutch parliamentary journalist, and were supported by Buzzmaster – an innovative communication tool – which allowed our audience to answer questions, vote and discuss the results in real time via their smartphones.

Central questions were:

  • How do companies anticipate to these new opportunities and threats?
  • Do they recognize when it is time to make the necessary changes to shift their strategic focus?
  • What characterizes a successful company?
  • Which opportunities and threats are there, for example in the field of big data/privacy?

These questions have been applied to two specific developments, namely the Internet of Things and Smart Cities in particular.

Deputy Mayor Ingrid van Engelshoven, The Hague's alderman for the Knowledge Economy, International Affairs, Youth and Education, held a welcoming speech. Keynote speaker was Hans Bos (National Technology Officer Microsoft). He was challenged by Dr. Ulrich Mans (Project Leader Research Futures Centre for Innovation of Leiden University). The panel discussions were attended by Simon Hania (Corporate Privacy Officer TomTom), Francesco Franchimon (Managing Director BAM Techniek – Energy Systems), Fred Nijland (Director Innovation Growth Services Deloitte), Prof. Gerrit-Jan Zwenne (University Leiden / Bird & Bird The Hague) and Ronald Hendrikx (Bird & Bird London).

Evelyn Tjon-En-Fa and Marc van Wijngaarden, co-initiators of InnovatingNL, and partners at Bird & Bird The Hague, commented:  "This is the first time we have organised InnovatingNL in the Netherlands. It is a great opportunity to provide businesses with an interactive platform to discuss the impact of innovation on their business models. We are planning to organise InnovatingNL annually as a response to the very positive feedback we received." One participant said: “What a great and interactive event and what a great opportunity to connect with other businesses. Very valuable. Happy to come back next year for InnovatingNL 2015!”).

For more information, please contact Evelyn Tjon-En-Fa or Marc van Wijngaarden.