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Posts Tagged ‘innovatie’

The way Boston welcomes entrepreneurs and start-ups keeps surprising me. And I thought Amsterdam was a hub…. Here in Boston, a wide variety of organizations provide office space, advice and create environments for them to thrive faster. Some are initiated by the city of Boston, others are 100% private.

Tim Rowe, Cambridge Innovation Center, CIC, Innovation Express

Tim Rowe (Cambridge Innovation Center) on the Innovation Express

On Thursday, the 27th of October, I joined the Innovation Express on behalf of BostonTweetUp. This networking event was an initiative of Boston World Partnership (BWP), an organization that I was introduced to a few months earlier at the Leaders Networking Reception.

The Innovation Express aimed at bringing incubators and entrepreneurs together. On the Red Line of the T this time.. starting at JFK/UMass, all the way to Davis and back to Kendall Square. Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to work out. Were we supposed to walk over to each location to learn about their services and facilities? Or were we going to stay on the train? If so, how were other participants who boarded along the Red Line able to find us? Entrepreneurs who I talked to had exactly the same questions, but admitted that this was also one of the reasons why they signed up for the Innovation Express. Just out of curiosity next to the networking opportunity.

Paola Mesadieu, BWP

Yoon J. Lee and Paola Mesadieu from BWP did a great job in communicating the details about the Innovation Express. Everybody who wanted to jump on along the Red line, was welcome to join the Innovation Express in the last car of the train.

“The Red Line is a key component in what makes the Innovation District work. It connects important innovative hubs in the city and serves as the artery that brings Boston’s best talent together,” as explained by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who started Boston World Partnership in order to raise global awareness of Boston as one of the world’s foremost centers of intellectual capital and innovation.

About eight speakers, using a bullhorn, explained their services and facilities to the entrepreneurs who joined the Express. Sometimes interrupted by the MBTA personal, making announcements on the loudspeaker as well, but overall they reached their audience quite well. Because of the awkward location – passengers who didn’t have anything to do with the Innovation Express entered the car as well – the atmosphere during the event became informative, but informal and fun almost immediately.

Line up Innovation Express

Line up Innovation Express

Venture Café
Back at Kendall Square, everybody gathered on the 4th Floor of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), where the Venture Café – held every Thursday from 3 pm – was just about to start. A smart way to integrate these two events into one. Especially because Cambridge Innovation Center, located in the middle of the MIT campus, is one of the most popular flexible office facilities for technology and life science start-ups in Boston. Or Cambridge, I should say.

I’ve been to the Venture Café before and met all different kind of people there. Lawyers, venture capitalists, students, self-employed designers, coaches and marketeers. The mix of these people all together makes every visit a surprise and worth going. Nobody is left alone standing in a corner, which happens occasionally when you visit a networking event in the Netherlands – yes even in Amsterdam.

Not in Boston. Everybody got a story to tell, that’s the common attitude in Boston. This openness creates new ideas and possibilities as well. People get to connect and build new professional relationships with each other. An atmosphere which is in my opinion as important – and an equal contributor to the hub – as its facilitators and incubators for start-ups.

I’m just happy to be a part of it.

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A few months ago, I interviewed Katja Berkhout, Area Director of Boston for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). We talked for almost two hours. About her decision to move to Boston with her husband and daughter, cultural differences, her objectives as an Area Director and lots of other things. But what really impressed me, were the examples she gave me of companies from Massachusetts that decided to establish an office in the Netherlands and use it as a gateway to Europe.

Benefits
Katja’s main goal is to help companies from New England and eastern Canada establish their European operations in the Netherlands. She provides them with the necessary information and connects them to valuable networks and institutions in Holland. Through benchmarking and case studies, her team brings the benefits of a location in the Netherlands to light. For example, the Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace estabilished its European service center at Schiphol,  because of its central location in relation to customers. And Vistaprint chose for an office in the south of Holland, near the Belgium and German border, due to the quality of the distribution infrastructure of that area and the competitive tax rates in our country. For the life science industry, the quality and availability of skilled employees in our country can be decisive. At least, for the MA-based biotech giant Genzyme it was.

Today the interview with Katja Berkhout was published on one of the mayor career sites in the Netherlands, intermediair.nl (in Dutch).

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Before I left Amsterdam, I had lunch with an former colleague, Michael Minneboo. Out of the blue he asked me if he could interview me about my blog and what it was about. Since it was only five days before our departure to Boston, I wasn’t really prepared for this question. However, Michael managed to make this video out of it. Well done, Michael!

I almost forgot, one of my main questions at that time was whether organisations in Boston integrate social media more easily in their business strategies or not.

My first impression
After three months, I have noticed that I could visit events, meetups or seminars where marketeers, community managers, PR and other communication professionals get together on a weekly basis, if I wanted to. Discussing social media strategies, sharing best practices or other valuable information.

In addition, all restaurants and cafés have a Twitter handle, a Facebook page and provide special offers on Foursquare. Hospitals use social networking tools to inform patients. Social media policies are integrated in introduction programs for employees. An incubator like MIT turns Cambridge into a breeding place for innovative start-ups like no university in the Netherlands is capable of. (I sincerely hope the TU in Eindhoven is, one day). Start-ups and communication agencies all seem to have a blog, which is regularly updated and not only by the junior PR executive. And the entire team, including the CEO, is engaging with audiences on Twitter.

On the other hand,  most corporations still struggle with transparency. 25% of the companies ban social media at work, compared to only 8 % in the Netherlands…

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I’ve been reading tweets and blogs about Watson, the computer that knows the answers to almost all questions in the TV show Jeopardy. Not being familiar with the format of Jeopardy at all, it took me a while to understand what the fuzz was all about. For my Dutch readers, just check this video below

Fortunately, I was able to attend PR Advanced at Boston University last Saturday. Where Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM, explained briefly what the story behind Watson is  all about. (more…)

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The Flip as a phone

We know the Flip as one of the smallest camera’s of great quality. It’s actually on my ever lasting list of most wanted gadgets. However, Kristian Ulrich Larsen makes it easier for me to wait just a few more months (or more). The Danish designer showed in his concept design, how it the Flip would turn out, if converted to a smartphone….

Take a look at the result and watch the video below. (more…)

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De eerste koukleumen hebben de handschoenen alweer uit de kast getrokken. Je handen blijven warm, maar zodra je je iPhone erbij pakt, moeten ze toch weer uit. Want op jouw dikke handschoenen reageert de aaifoon niet. Sta je daar alsnog met ijskoude handen je tweets te lezen.

Twee jonge Amerikaanse ondernemers bedachten voor dat probleem een oplossing. DotsGloves zijn handschoenen gemaakt van Italiaans lamswol. Warm, maar vooral functioneel. Elke vingertop bevat namelijk een paar draadjes van een speciale vezel die contact maken met je touchscreen. Een groot verschil met de eerste versie die twee jaar geleden in Amerika op de markt verscheen.  Daar zat nog een plastic fingertip op  bevestigd. (more…)

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Voordat je een persbericht gaat schrijven, moet elke PR-medewerker zich afvragen of de boodschap wel nieuwswaardig is. Of dat zo is, hangt af van verschillende factoren.

Natuurlijk kun je nieuws creëren door zelf een stunt te bedenken. Of een evenement te organiseren rondom een thema dat toch al in het nieuws is. Of de journalist daar op afkomt en jouw boodschap meeneemt in het item of artikel kan niemand je garanderen. Stel dat er die dag net een ernstig ongeluk gebeurt, de deadline voor een reportage nadert of dat de beurs enorm onderuit gaat, reken maar dat de journalist verstek laat gaan.

Zinniger is het om na te gaan welke nieuwswaarde je al in huis hebt. Voor (startende) ondernemers is dat soms minder moeilijk dan gedacht. Een paar tips (more…)

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