Innofest wins European award
After the Dutch qualifiers and the semi-final, Innofest gets to call itself Europe’s best initiative for entrepreneurial enterprise. This is because Innofest has won the European Enterprise Promotion Award. The international jury unanimously agreed, and from hundreds of initiatives chose Innofest as the very best. “Innofest was the absolute winner. We’ve never seen such an innovative and effective initiative before.” Innofest gives start-ups, businesses and students with innovative ideas space to test their innovations at festivals. Innofest sees festivals as a temporary mini-society where solutions are created for challenges that festivals and entrepreneurs are facing. The generated results are used to further develop the product. Innofest offers eight festivals, such as Oerol, Eurosonic Noorderslag and Into the Great Wide Open as living labs. In doing so, Innofest helps 30 innovations to be marketed faster and better every year.
The Award took place in Tallinn, Estonia during the SME Assembly; the yearly highlight for small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe. The event and the award are an initiative by the European Commission to support small and medium-sized enterprises. The Dutch qualifiers were organized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Based on the qualifiers, 56 enterprises were selected from all over Europe, of which twelve eventually made it to the finals. Director Anna van Nunen: “Man, are we proud! We worked so hard at this for two years, and many people doubted us at first. So this is a huge achievement for us. This is a great boost from the EU.”
Festivals as living laboratory for innovation
Over three quarters of all innovations fail. This often happens because the prototype has not been tested enough. Innofest addresses this issue by offering festivals as living labs for innovation. This works well because festivals are sort of a temporary mini-society. There’s an energy-grid, temporary sewage, there are logistical challenges, and many people that need to be fed or sleep. You can test anything there that you can also test in real society, but faster and better.
Two examples of our innovations:
Virtual reality in health care (or: virtual drugs)
In the past year, Innofest showed that a festival can be a special test lab for health care innovation. VRROOM ran various tests, for example at Paradigm, to see if drugs can be simulated through virtual reality. With hundreds of festival visitors as guinea pigs, this seemed to work surprisingly well. The entrepreneurs behind VRROOM now use the drugs experience on aid workers, as part of their training.
New service for festivals: the consumer pays.
At festivals power is not paid for per use, but per outlet. Because of this, consumers have no incentive to cut down their power use. Watt-Now, Loratec and F&L researched how pay-per-use can be made possible. With smart meters and IoT technology they bundled all the data and engaged in conversation with consumers. The test led to a new marketed service: pay-per-use power. Because of it, there will be an appropriate incentive to use energy sparingly.