VERS+ The design journey towards the future of food

Challenge

How to make the translation from successful pilots, with multiple parties, into an approach that can contribute to becoming the healthiest delta in the world? Taking both making impact and commercial business models in consideration.

Solution

Establishing a repeatable approach based on the experiences, to create new value propositions in co-innovation. Setting up and testing the format to investigate partnerships for both strategic and consortia partners of Vers+.

Introduction

The Netherlands has vast knowledge and practical experience in growing food and is seen as a world leader in agricultural innovation. The Westland in the Netherlands is the greenhouse capital of the country, where all the major players are concentrated. The Netherlands as a whole can be seen as an extensive cluster of a variety of agricultural farms, suppliers and buyers, logistics companies, knowledge and research institutions and service providers. This clustering drives innovation, from making food production more efficient to figuring out how to produce better and more personalized food.

The challenge

For over 3 years a team consisting out of multiple companies had been exploring the potential of vegetables to contribute to tough problems like obesity, cancer, and cognitive and physical performance (sports, work). Under the umbrella vers+, a business development initiative of Innovation Quarter, it came to life in different pilots. One of the pilots was about serving fresh vegetables to children in daycare centers. Another pilot was about personalizing food for men having to cope with prostate cancer. There was also a pilot with the goal to enhance the vitality and well-being of employees at work (and at home). These pilots went well although the speed of learning could be improved. It was also difficult to show the bigger potential and distill learnings from these pilots. The challenge was to move beyond the pilots and turn the pilots and everything the team had learned into a viable business model with clear value propositions serving different customers and stakeholders.

What we did

Together with the vers+ team we re-designed the way they were learning-by-doing. We provided a solid structure to capture learnings about customers and value creation and offered a focused way to conduct the right experiments to keep learning about what creates value and what does not. This was packaged into a structured way of working, creating the brand new vers+ innovation approach. Everything the team learned about doing and organizing innovation was integrated in this approach, providing the basis for two different value propositions to help market and knowledge consortia bring their food innovations to the market. We also designed and tested a visual and practical format to explore strategic partnerships, which are the cornerstone of the vers+ business model. The entire vers+ business model has iteratively been designed and validated during this project. Finally, we designed a compelling story so that potential partners and customers understand what vers+ stands for and what vers+ has to offer. We also provided focus and input to kickstart vers+ as a foundation, the organizational form chosen to get the business model up and running.

Parties involved

Innovation Quarter, Koppert Cress, Best Fresh Group, Municipality of Westland, Koppert Biological Systems, Bejo en Groen Agro Control

Results

All of the hard work came together during the public launch of the vers+ foundation in October 2018. During a DNA dinner, more than 100 guests could taste the future of food by enjoying a dinner that was personalized based on their own DNA. The vers+ story was presented by Natasja and Marieke, including the invitation to become a vers+ partner or customer. vers+ now has clear value propositions to attract consortia in joining the personalized food revolution from both the market and practical knowledge perspective. Several of the strategic partnerships that were explored and designed earlier, have now been formally signed and new potential partnerships are explored at the moment. vers+ is turning personalized food into reality. Soon you might be cooking your own DNA dinner. So, watch out: fhe future of food is coming!

DNA diner launch of Vers+ foundation 

More client stories

BMI brought clarity and reduced the complexity of making innovation work with multiple parties resulting in an outcome beyond expectations.

Natasja van der Lely - CEO, ver

I am very impressed by the strategic knowledge and can-do mentality of the BMI team.

Marieke Kodde - Business Developer, Innovation Quarter

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