B.I.G. holds its 10th edition of the Innovation Days


At B.I.G. everyone is considered an innovator, so the Innovation Days serve as a good reminder that we can share our ideas, hopes and aspirations for the future of our company and community. For the 10th time, the Innovation team hosted their annual Innovation Days, this time focusing on the topic of collaboration.

Collaboration means that people work together to accelerate innovation and growth, but also that innovation isn’t a silo. It touches all parts of our business every day. This idea showed at the Innovation Days, that were hosted inside of the Elindus Arena in Waregem. With case studies, external speakers and speed-dates explaining our innovation projects, attendees were involved in every way possible. “I believe it pays off to collaborate, so that we can keep evolving and host an event in 10 years where we talk about zero carbon, where we have customers at the table, where we are a company that generates turnover and profits from services and non-B.I.G. assets and where we are the spider in the web when it comes to innovation in our markets”, said innovation director Pol Lombaert when opening the event.

Something brand new in these Innovation Days, was the inclusion of speed-dates. Innovation project managers went table to table to do a deep dive on the projects they are working passionately on. With 7 minutes to explain the why, what and how of their project, people gained true insights of what we are working on at B.I.G., while being able to ask questions and maybe even spark new ideas.

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With Innovation being integral to the efforts of every team, it was only logical that many people from the divisions and corporate teams came to share exciting news with the room. From our plan to become a staple in the sports grass business, to our view on the future of our polymer business and the route to sustainable cushion vinyl, all parts of our Group were represented on stage. And it was mainly the ambition that caught the attention; using artificial turf to lower injuries in the NFL, expanding our impact on the circular value chain through collaboration , becoming a strategic partner for low-carbon & circular solutions and creating fully recyclable cushion vinyl. Energizing pitches for the Beaulieu International Group of tomorrow!

Companies have to continually reinvent themselves, and to guide that transformation, we have our Chief Transformation Officer, Danny Van D’Huynslager. He emphasized our need to focus on our Must Win Battles, while explaining the importance he adds to the 4th battle, ‘Employee Engagement’. “Everything starts with our employees, so engaging them is crucial.” With Innovation Project Manager Sofie Paelinck talking about transformative innovation and building new lifespan curves and Pricing Excellence Manager Marieke Van der Cruysse showcasing the Value Based Pricing project, it was clear that transformation is a process that is ever-present throughout our Group.

Another cool new part of the Innovation Days was the intrapreneurship session on Thursday, where 3 teams came up to the stage to pitch an innovative idea, showing once again that we mean it when we say everyone can be an innovator.

While we could fill a week-long program with interesting topics from within B.I.G., it is always important to include insights from the outside to encourage reflection and stay up-to-date. That was present more than ever with keynote speeches about fostering an innovation culture, innovation at established companies, the future of sales and why innovation fails. Michaël Van Damme from The Forge gave some great insights into creating an innovative culture within a business. “40% of the innovation culture is determined by vision. Communicating that vision clearly, ensuring there is trust in your team and individual preparation of innovative projects are the keys to a successful culture.” On day 2, Michaël Humblet shared tactics on how to sell your innovation. “If marketing is dealing in attention, sales is dealing in trust. Your product or service has to be a shortcut or an unburdening in order for people to buy what you are selling.”

If there is one thing that is certain, it is that our innovation journey is far from over, and will never be. “Innovation is a river that never stops”, said Pol Lombaert, ensuring that Innovation has a bright future ahead.

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