From invention to innovation
During the celebration of TenCate’s three hundredth anniversary in 2004 President and CEO Loek de Vries presented his vision on the future of textiles, the Twente manufacturing industry and the role that open innovation played in this. To that end he outlined his image of Twente as Materials Valley.
'TenCate is a textile company. In that field we have knowledge and skills.'
In essence, Twente is a materials area, a Materials Valley. Approximately 28% of companies are to be found in this high-grade manufacturing industry. ‘We should not renounce our roots, however. TenCate is a textile company, and it is in that field that we have knowledge and skills. We must link up chemical technology, textile technology, material technology and nanotechnology and embed these disciplines in a foundation of applied and industrial research. That is what TenCate does. Together with other companies this produces innovative spin-offs. Such a supra-regional approach will really put the region of Twente on the map as Materials Valley.’
‘Our entire company is R&D-driven’, concluded Loek de Vries. ‘At least five per cent of our budget is spent on research and development. TenCate is without doubt the worldwide leader when it comes to the number of patents filed in the textile market. But not every invention is an innovation; an invention does not become an innovation until it is actually used. You evolve from invention to innovation, from prototype to product and then it must also be reproducible and sustainable. I regard it as a great asset that a centre like OICAM will enable us now to really get down to work on innovation. Let’s make an energetic start and above all, respect each other’s roles.’