Synergy Conference, the aftermath

March 9th, 2019

Bonnie Busch

Last week on Tuesday, the yearly Synergy Conference took place. In this article we will give an impression of the day and of the companies that presented themselves during this Conference.

At nine o’clock in the morning, everyone gathered at the beautiful venue of this Conference, Fort Lent in Lent. After a cup of coffee, the day began while Cindy van Son introduced the event. Cindy is a business woman with expert knowledge about Business Administration and the subject of the Conference: the changing customer. She took us into her story about her career and the motivation to quit her regular job and start her own business. Her focus is on the match between the company and the person. Then she explained the theme of today, “Keeping up with the changing customer”, which was divided into 3 subthemes: changing needs, changing relations, and changing economy. Now, the agenda was set, and the speakers could tell their stories.

The first speaker of the day was Bob Hutten, owner of a big catering company. He told us about his vision on life and on doing business, which I found to be a very outspoken vision. To him, happiness and “contributing to” are central. That’s why he, for example, started the “Verspillingsfabriek”, which is an initiative to make dishes with vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away because they are too small or deformed. This helps by reducing the food that is thrown away (5 billion euros worth of food!) every year.

The second speaker was a young and energetic business man, Duncan Buisman. He has not been working in the business world for very long. This contrast between him and Bob was very interesting to see. For him, contributing to a better world is important, but you can only begin to think about that when you have a successful business. Not every idea turns out to be successful; this can also be seen in the fact that he has already started a new business four times. He says that learning from experiences is the most important stepping stone to success. “Running a business is only possible if you like it, have a good team, and the product/service is being accepted by the consumer. After that, you can start to look at the “contributing to” part”.

After a delicious lunch, everyone went to his or her assigned workshop.  All workshops were given in rooms that were connected to the “central” space in the middle. This was very nice because we had the opportunity to drink a cup of coffee in between the workshops and share our experience with other participants. This made the day also interesting on a social level.

The workshops were a success as well. Heldro IJs fascinated us with the story of how a baker started experimenting with ice cream, which resulted in a successful and unique ice cream company. We got to think along with them about the future of Heldro IJs and the possibility of expanding to other cities in the Netherlands or even abroad. The workshops of Coop and Jumbo took us into their strategic and innovation process. The marketing company One4Marketing prepared us for the future of marketing in their workshop, by focussing on online marketing and attracting customers. Djeepo and FLOOW2 gave us insights about operating in the sharing economy. (And even one group which participated at the workshop of Djeepo is invited to visit the headquarter to work out their idea!) YourSurprise had an actual case about a collaboration with Calvé Pindakaas and asked us to help them with the production process. Finally, at the workshop of YoungCapital the groups became a part of the marketing team of YoungCapital.

At the end of the day, it was time for the network drink which was held on the roof of the Fort because of the beautiful weather. While enjoying a drink with a view of the setting sun and the Waal, the day was discussed. The reactions were very positive and everyone can look back on an instructive and successful day. On to the next edition!


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