Helping businesses innovate during the Corona Lockdown

Tanja Hulst
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

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Ingrid Wakkee
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Eva Pilkes
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

This proposal describes the collaboration of 360 learning initiatives in which the government, industry, SME’s, start-ups, students and professionals in the metropolitan area of Amsterdam collaborate during the Corona Lockdown. The 360 learning team consisting of students and professionals who facilitate the interaction between the diverse groups of people and to ensure that not only the needed innovations are delivered but moreover that change rate is accelerated for the client.
360 learning was founded in May 2018 and connects people & knowledge while inspiring society and supporting the growth of our future talents. We’ve been in contact with over 200 companies in the last years and have worked together on many different challenges and varying within the different disciplines taught at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
Purpose of the collaboration
The Dutch Government has announced a prolongation of the lockdown, despite the hope of some entrepreneurs to start repairing their damages. Many companies are currently facing major challenges and are struggling to not go bankrupt. Therefore the urge to find innovative solutions has increased rapidly. Until now our platform has helped 40 start-ups who were already struggling in the first weeks of the lockdown to find new business models or tweak their current model. We have created workshops and consultancy moments for them online. Due to the recent decisions of the Dutch government, even today we have extended our scope and started helping established SME’s with facing their challenges. The next workshops will have a focus on SME’s will take place on May 13th and May 20th. Our goal is to help over 100 companies innovate and adapt to this new situation.
360 learning also looks beyond the corona crisis, with long-term visions in mind on topics like circular production, durable business models, energy transition and open innovation. We have maintained relationships with the Council of Amsterdam, MKB Amsterdam, Rabobank, Brainport, Techniek Nederland, Techport and Provincie Noord-Holland on the mentioned topics.
One of the most significant examples constitutes the partnership between the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Sonarski, a firm that bases its success on using lidar technology for scanning environments and using point cloud technology. Together we scoped the challenges they are facing and bring new ways of thinking to the table varying from new concepts to introducing them to our network like Heijmans, Engineers of Amsterdam, AMS Institute and Waternet. Utilizing our student’s fresh perspectives, we help companies innovate at a higher pace and pivot when needed. Specifically, during the last few weeks we’ve also worked closely together with Kapiteinlabs to use their plasma technology to solve urgent oxygen problems for corona patients. This technological solution was already used different propositions and by making the pivot to the health business Kapiteinlabs is now leading the research to develop a product to potentially save lives.
Another example concerns our involvement with an osteopathic practice which was merely dependent on physical treatment: Elise Pattyn, an osteopath, has changed her techniques into using videoconferencing. Because of this innovation she is now able to mentally support the physical recovering process needed by her clients during this stressful period for them.
Yet other SME’s that we helped in our workshops have made the transition from working at a physical workstation to a digital environment, and more service-oriented business models have been implemented.

Acceleration of the collaboration
During the workshops we have a diverse group of professionals and fresh thinkers to guarantee a supported vision and to enable the participants to grow their network needed to achieve change and accelerate innovation. The participants in the first workshops have been focussed on the Amsterdam metropolitan area, we will now extend the workshops to English to facilitate international companies as well. Our asset is our network in Amsterdam varying from startups to multinationals and government, our fresh thinkers, 40.000 students and the capacity to facilitate innovation. We are constantly co-creating in a Multi Helix construction to help the businesses thrive again. Our core expertise is focused on business in Tech and Health. We hope to deliver a huge social impact by helping the companies who are now facing difficulties or possibly bankruptcy in this corona crisis.