How they work at Interpolis

20 Jan



A couple of weeks ago I was happy to get a tour and a presentation a the office of the Dutch insurance company Interpolis. Interpolis was one of the first insurance companies that really wanted to be clear about what they do and how they do it to their customers. Interpolis was also one of the first companies that started with flexible working already in the nineties. This was really innovative back in that day, now in 2014 they still work at the same way as they did back then so the question is how innovative are they right now?

During the tour we saw different places the people of Interpolis are allowed to work, some inspiring, some a bit old fashioned. The thing I was a bit curios about was if it is nice to work in an environment like this. I know that a lot of companies that work with a flexible working program also have certain moments a week that the workpeople have to come to the office in order to have some time to talk to each other in order to keep the creativity and motivation at a certain level. I was wondering how that would work in a company like Interpolis. Always working from a different place in this big office or from behind the desk at home sounds a bit lonely for me. I also like to have some clear notion about what I can expect each day to make a planning for myself and searching for a nice place to work sounds a bit unonrganized for me. 



What I really liked about the company where the intimate places where you could sit down and have a private conversation with you colleagues. These places gave a little more personal feeling to the big open space. Like these chairs above that really let people make eye contact and shuts you of the things that happen around you. I think places like this are necessary for when you want some feedback and talk about what you’re doing without any distractions. 



Chinese Pinterest with Glam

17 Dec

I’m now working on a trendreport for the Dutch brand HEMA, this brand really likes to conquer the world and especially Asia. That’s why I did some research to cool things that happen in China.

Everybody knows social network Pinterest, the digital board that allows you to share the most inspiring pictures and create your own visual collages. China has its very own version of Pinterest, called Buykee. With Buykee it is also possible to create your own visual collages and like and share the pictures you think are cool, only big difference is that this platform only contains luxury and fashion goods which you can also buy when you see something you like. This makes it even more easy to make the perfect wishing list!

Also a big advantage is that you can easily search for the products you like and the site contains big Asian and Western brands. I’m also a fan of Pinterest, but often, like a lot of other woman experience, it’s pretty annoying to click so much to discover from which brand a certain product is or where I can buy it, when it’s even possible. Buykee sounds like the perfect combination between a webshop and an inspiring visual market and since we’re living in a visual culture nowadays this site promises hours of looking at beautiful goods. Just be honest, nobody wants to buy something in a crappy webstore with ‘flat’ images’ and at Buykee everything already looks just marvelous.

I think this site can also be an interesting platform for HEMA to start introducing their brand to the Asian market. If HEMA succeeds in creating inspiring images which will be shared by as many users as possible, this will help them get more brand awareness. ImageImage

Create Your own Discount Deal

15 Dec

I’m now working on a trendreport for the Dutch brand HEMA, this brand really likes to conquer the world and especially Asia. That’s why I did some research to cool things that happen in China.

This is it’s is the first domestic site that allows consumers to request deals. Seeing goods or service which they want, users can create and promote their own deals, turning a local business’s customers into its biggest advocates.

According to Handsup, it takes just three steps for consumers to request a deal:

  1. Find an item that you’d like to buy.
  2. Submit the idea along with a photo, pick a realistic discount amount, and add a deal description. Here it goes through a review process behind the scenes. If the deal is approved, you will see it in action on the site. Now you can wait for it to gain traction, or rally people to sign up for the deal by sharing it online.
  3. If enough people are interested in the idea, Handsup reps will contacts businesses with the details, and if a business approves it, the deal is on. Now you can buy it with a nice discount!


The more people ‘hands up’ a deal, the greater the discount will become. The advocator of the deal will get a reward of 100RMB for each deal that goes on sale, no matter if he or she buys it. This is how Handsup inspires social sharing and word-of-mouth marketing in its innovative group-buying model.

This consumer-to-business (C2B) model is so new in China that nobody knows whether it will be success or not. Liu Lei, one of the founders of Handsup, says that his website offers a stronger deal alternative than those normal group-buying sites, and lower prices as well. Currently, the items on range from clothing and gadgets, to food and cosmetics.

I think that new initiative like the Handsup, can be very interesting for brands like HEMA if it turns out to be working. HEMA always likes to offer easy simplicity for a good price, with a platform like this HEMA can really let the consumer collaborate with them. Maybe it’s an idea to ask the costumers which products they like to buy at HEMA and the more people who want this product the cheaper HEMA can make it for them.


Happy Birthday Dear Acadamy

29 Nov

Happy Birthday Dear Acadamy

During a trip to Antwerp I visited the exposition ‘Happy Birthday Dear Acadamie’ in the Fashion Museum ‘MOMU’. In this exposition the museum shows the best work of 50 years of the fashion academy of Antwerp (Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen). They divided the space in different area’s with work from the students, sketches and a some history about the academy.

For me the sketches in particular where very inspiring. I really enjoy watching the process that goes behind the end product and all the sketches were little pieces of art by itself.

IMG_1893Especially since almost  everything is digital nowadays I miss the feeling that a ‘real’ tactical drawing can give you. It makes the product more personal and gives the maker a more human likabilty I think. I guess in times like this art and crafts like this will gain therefore more value, and that’s how it should be. I think it’s important that people can see what kind of work and effort designers put in designing a new collection and how many labour making the actual item costs. This wil make people more conscious about how fashion should be, instead of buying a cool dress for 10 euros at Primark. Because fashion is a hard business and creating beautiful pieces too, that’s the reason you pay a lot of money for it, but only than you know where it comes from and that no harm has done to little children or woman in a factory in Bangladesh for instance.

This exposition will be in MOMU till February 16th 2014.


War against Social Besitas

20 Nov

What it Is:

Let me introduce you to Anti-Social and Freedom, the Social Network and Internet blocking software for your Mac of PC. These programs can help you with creating some online time out. Anti-Social will block all your social media networks, so when you really need some old school ‘alone’ time this program will make sure you won’t get distracted. It’s only possible to use these media again by re-starting your computer again. Freedom is almost the same, only this program (from the same makers) will block all online applications on your computer. Perfect for when you want to focus on studying and don’t want any distractions! There’s only one problem, you still have to make sure that you don’t put your iPhone or iPad next to you because they don’t have an app for iOs, since Apple doesn’t want to corporate. (Why would that be?!)

Why it is Cool:

I think this software is a perfect solution for the big population of people suffering from ‘socialbesitas’. Sometimes it can be really stressful to continually keep up to date with what your friends and family are doing, but also keep your own status up to date and watch how special the lives are of the other people you follow. All these factors are not really contributing to a relaxt working or studying environment. But not only when you don’t want any distraction from work these programs can be perfect for when you want a little offline vacation. Just imagine that time when you didn’t know what this perfect beautiful girl in Hawaii was doing and you had no need to get jealous because you’ve never been there and don’t have a fit bikini body like her. Or just because sometimes it’s really nice to not be up to date via social media, but just by calling your best friend and asking what he or she is doing.

Why it has Future Growth Potential:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Anti Social media girl. There are a lot of good and positive things possible thanks to social media, but there are a couple of disadvantages that we are starting to notice. I think in the future people will be more careful about what they post online and will keep more information more exclusive (SnapChat, Path). Programs like Anti-Social and Freedom can bringing up the discussion about Social Media and what this will mean in the future. I think it won’t be really weird to be online with kind of visiting hours, so we can also take some quality time with our real selves.


16 Nov

What it Is:

Like Beyonce already sang:

‘I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that, and something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets,
Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget, I was here’ 

Via Instagram you can post the most beautiful pictures with #IWASHERE to show the world what kind of special things you’ve seen and done. Because, let’s be honest it’s very important that everybody knows what a exciting life you’ve been leading right?
Dutch travel organization CheapTickets came up with their very own I Was Here online campaign. Via Facebook you can upload your best vacation picture at the #IKWASHIER campaign page to have a chance to win tickets to this very special place you’ve been to. At the Facebook page you can let all you friends rate your pic and the one with the highest rating will win the tickets!

Why it is Cool:

Well, the phenomenon of posting your pretty vacation pictures to (indirectly) make everybody jealous by what you’ve been up to already exists for a couple of years, but CheapTickets show us the commercial version. I think the idea is really cool (and it fits perfectly in the Narcism trend), the only counter part is that campaigns like these are always a bit unfair if you ask me. The person with the biggest online network will get most votes and probably win. Which will also results in a more narcissistic self, but that’s probably not the intention of the users and the campaign.

Why it has Future Growth Potential:

I don’t think people will stop with posting things online just to show the world that they matter. Deep down everybody has the urge to get some feedback about that their life is special and your here for a purpose. But, I think this also gives a lot of stress for some people who see this phenomenon as an obligation to be part of. And I’m really curious about how this will develop in the future.Schermafbeelding 2013-11-20 om 12.05.40

My Nepali Tailor is a Rockstar

8 Nov


What it Is: 

Dutch fashion brand Studio JUX = design + eco + fair. JUX is the German word for fun and that’s how fashion should be. Fun for everybody, from the consumer to the designer and fun for the tailor and the environment as well. That’s why Studio JUX chose to produce their collection in Nepal, a poor country with less opportunities but great people who want to work. Jitske Lundgren, the fashion designer of studio JUX, even moved to Nepal to guarantee  the eight labour standards of the Fair Wear Foundation.

Why it is Cool:

Studio JUX is really cool because it is fair Dutch Design. JUX is a brand from Amsterdam and every item can be recognized by its minimalistic and comfortable design with a little twist. But what only makes it even more cool is that the brand only uses sustainable fabrics and materials for its collection (like angora from a organic farm in India, Hemp and recycled coke bottles!).
And of course the coolest part is that it’s absolutely fair. Every item has its own story and if your curious about what it’s made of and by whom, you only have to take a visit to their website and you can learn a lot about the Nepali tailor who made your hemp chino, for instance. The scarf you can see at one of the pictures is specially made by Nepali housewives who normally stay at home and can’t work. By knitting these scarves at home they can earn some extra money for the whole family and become more independent.

Schermafbeelding 2013-11-08 om 13.49.49

Why it has Future Growth Potential:

I know that a lot of people don’t care where there products came from and still like to shop cheap fast fashion at Primark and H&M. But I think little brands as Studio JUX can start a little movement of creating a better fashion supply chain. I hope brands like these can inspire people to think about working conditions in third world countries and help them choose for a more fair alternative. I think that at the end the bigger fashion retailers will also get inspired and it will contribute into a more transparent fashion industry.

Energy from someone else’s roof

8 Nov


What it Is:

1Miljoenwatt and Solar Green Point give you the possibility to buy one or more solar panels in a solar park. These parks are situated on roofs of big companies, factories or sport clubs. By joining one of these initiatives you contribute to a more sustainable world and save money on your energy bills. A big advantage of a solar panel somewhere else is that you can move house and keep your solar panel.

Why it is Cool:

Some people really want to generate green energy via solar panels but sometimes it’s just not possible on their roof (for instance, because you live in an apartment or rent your house). Stan Verheijen (CEO of Solar Green) says that 70% percent of the people living in the ‘Randstad’ don’t have the possibility to generate their own green energy, so that’s why he started this initiative.
Both companies search for big buildings in different cities in the Netherlands to collaborate with them. Big advantage for the companies is that they will have enough energy to generate for their total own use and they participate in helping to make the whole city a lot greener. Also really cool for the people who buy a panel on someone else’s roof is that they don’t have to worry about everything. The solar panel company looks after your panels and also takes care of repairing and maintenance. Really cool right?
Not only commercial companies are busy with this way of generating energy also the Dutch municipality of Nijmegen their own initiative and placed solar parks on various roofs in the city. By doing this they generate energy for the city whole city centre and for people who privately invested in the solar panels.

Why it has Future Growth Potential:

I think everybody would like to participate into a more sustainable lifestyle but sometimes it really makes it difficult to do so because of very difficult rules about solar panel or because you move a lot. These initiatives a very easy to get in contact with. The only thing you have to do is buy a solar panel for €550,- a piece and you can already generate (a bit) of your own green energy. And also since more and more people don’t want to take the risk anymore to buy a house or since we’re living as Urban Nomads an moving to lots of different places, this could be the perfect solution.Image

The Invisible Helmet

1 Nov

ImageWhat it Is:

This is Hovding, the invisible bicycle helmet. Hovding is like a airbag that you wrap around your neck like a supersonical scarf. ImageImageHövding started out in 2005 as a master’s thesis by the two founders Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, who, at the time, were studying Industrial Design at the University of Lund.

The idea of developing a new type of cycle helmet was a response to the introduction of a law onmandatory helmet use for children up to the age of 15 in Sweden, which triggered a debate on whether cycle helmets should be mandatory for adults too.


Why it is Cool:

The founders of Hovding saw their master’s thesis as an opportunity to find out whether it would be possible to develop a cycle helmet that people would be happy to wear – whether they had to or not. I think everybody knows that ‘problem’ that you really want to take the bike to work, but if you wear your helmet your whole hairdo will be a total disaster and most of the times a helmet is not comfortable either. That’s why I think this product is really awesome because it’s one of the safest methods to protect your head, while looking like yourself at the same time.

Why it has Future Growth Potential:

The invisible helmet really fits into the needs of the Urban Nomads of the future. Since cities are getting even more crowded and traveling by car is not sustainable and efficient enough I think more and more people will take the bike in the future. I can imagine that when there are more people riding the bike in the city it will be wise to protect yourself with a helmet. And it won’t surprise me if this helmet is just the beginning, maybe in a couple of years everything that protects us can be ‘invisible’.

Roll Out Happiness

29 Oct



What it Is:

This is the Coca Cola ‘Roll Out Happiness’ pop-up park in Vilnius, Lithuania. This park and the therefore especially made machine are part of the ‘Where would happiness strike next from Coca Cola’. Coca-Cola’s ‘Roll Out Happiness’ truck’ aims to make gray urban spaces a little more happy. The temporary intervention, that has the shape of a Coca-Cola’s famous bottle, produces real grass and invites passers-by to take of their shoes, enjoy the sun and relax a bit (while enjoying a refreshing Coke, of course).

Why it is Cool:

Urban Hackers are busy trying to make boring city places into a more green and inspiring environment for quite a while. But this is one of the first examples of a big commercial company that uses their creativity to pimp-up gray places in order to  interact with their target group. Coca-Cola’s motto ‘Spread Happiness’ is really visible and you recognize the park instantly as one of the soda brand. I think that’s really cool because not every trend fits into the brand DNA of a certain brand, but Coca-Cola really knows how to put it off.

Why it has Future Growth Potential:

This park fits into the need of people to decide themselves how they can fill up their own environment and the need experience something new, something cool and cozy. Also really cool about this project is the way how neighbors can get to know each other and meet at this special place. This park is something where everybody in the neighborhood will talk about and this brings people together and let them share even more happiness.


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