VanBerlo Design has been crowned the most innovative company in the Netherlands. The award ceremony, organized by the AVROTROS and performed on October 31 in Scheveningen, also announced the most innovative region and for the most innovative solution to a social problem.

The nominees were selected on the basis of the Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor. The monitor is a research into innovation and competitiveness based on a nationwide survey of approximately 10,000 Dutch companies. Thomas Paulen, CEO of VanBerlo, was enthusiastic about the nomination even before VanBerlo was announced the winner: “With this innovation award the point was: how to innovate yourself, as a company. It is a very different prize from the design awards we have won so far. They are the final result of the design we make. This prize is about how you as an organisation innovate and work together. We have never had the appreciation or a prize for this before. A very nice reward for the whole team.”

In July VanBerlo moved into the former power plant on Strijp-T, the Innovation Powerhouse. This building is designed to stimulate open innovation and collaboration. This has a major influence on the operation of the company and therefore, perhaps, also on the nomination: “It is surprising to see how this building really works. We have a central meeting place in the building and we see that it really attracts people. The effect is immense.”

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What the Dutch Innovation Prizes have researched in particular is innovation within a company. “Of course, this aspect is partly in the building. The advantage we also have as a design agency is that everything we do is by definition new. Otherwise, customers would not come to us. You have to reinvent yourself every time. Each project has to reconsider your approach and see which method works. We are actually never happy with a final result because it can always be a step better. This also applies to the work process. We can always work smarter. That’s our nature.”

The prizes were presented on Tuesday evening 31 October in the Kurhaus in Scheveningen.

We spoke with VanBerlo’s CEO Thomas Paulen about Tech & Design during the Dutch Design Week:

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.