Q&A with Riksta Zwart, CEO at Waterbedrijf Groningen
What do you pay attention to during a pitch?
The story and conviction of the presenter and of course whether the innovation really brings change is very important to me. Not just the technical aspects, but also the integration of the needs of the clients, end-users. Is it an improvement, innovative, might it be the next big thing?.
The way it is ‘sold’ to me is also certainly important. I am also curious about the intrinsic motivation/drive, the personal component. Because at the end the person has to bring the message across.
What are the dos/don’ts for participants?
Someone has to be very good at explaining how the innovation works and how it is applicable in the real world. It is not entirely about the technical benefits, I would also like to know how the idea/eureka moment came about, how it was discovered or if the driver was to solve an existing problem, or satisfy a special need. Occasionally something is not new but it can have a new application, I am interested in this inventiveness.
What’s more important, the innovation or the commercial viability of an innovation?
The Innovation takes the top step but when there is no market for it, it’s pretty useless. An innovation does not make sense for the sake of the innovation itself. I’m curious hear more about the process behind the innovation. What is the story behind it and the philosophy, this should be in balance. Inventing something beautiful is one thing, does the customer need it? Or will the customer use it? I am also interested to know of the real life ‘problems’ of the end user.
What do you think is the most important characteristic to be successful within the water tech sector?
It is vital to have a very good grasp of the industry and also to be passionate about what you are doing, as setbacks are an important part of the learning curve. Knowing what can be done better, faster, more sustainable and cheaper, all the while staying tremendously devoted to what you are doing. I do think a circular solution is the standard, the basis, these days.
Riksta, it is your first time as a juror for the WIS award, I have read that you were previously a legal expert/counselor, how does this legal background help in judging?
Laws and regulations are one thing but being able to creatively interpret them, and applying them to practical situations is something entirely different. My strengths lie in the area of analysis, water and energy, they are also my passions. Within KWR, I am known for my experience within water in the circular economy.
All in all I am very much looking forward to judge the contestants of the WIS award during EWTW, in two weeks time on Wednesday 21st of September.
Riksta Zwart and the other jury members will judge the WIS Award nominees during the Grand Finale at EWTW on Wednesday 21 September.
|Who are the nominees?|
Rolapac BV – Rolapac Fat layer removal system – Laurens Verberne
CE-Line – Measurement tool Celine – Wilco Dijkstra
Purgatoria – Icabus – Frans Durieux
Ferr-Tech – FerSol – Judith le Fèvre
Q-Blue b.v. – Q-Blue MVII – Harry Müller
Jotem water solutions – BluElephant – Roy Rosink
Paques Biomaterials – PHA – Joost Pâques
HULO – DMA – Robbert Lodewijks
What is the WIS Award?
The WIS Award is what the Oscar is to Hollywood. Once every two years the best of the best from the Dutch water sector have an opportunity to compete against each other. Competing against the best is is no small thing, it requires perseverance and determination.
The WIS is the innovation award with which Water Alliance gives Dutch water technology companies center stage. Participation means being in the spotlight for a long time, from the preliminaries to the final event. The winner receives a marketing package worth €10,000, winning the WIS award is a kickstart for growth.