Van Houtum – Transition Strategy Development
Van Houtum, a Dutch paper company, is a renowned frontrunner in cradle-to-cradle and sustainable entrepreneurship. Ecologically, socially and economically, this family business managed to maintain an advanced position in the past years. Nevertheless, Van Houtum realized that small, incremental change likely wouldn’t be enough in the face of current influential shifts.
As a result of increasing energy and resource scarcity, our economy is forced to evolve from its current linear model to a circular approach and from a dependence on fossil fuels towards renewable energy alternatives. Demographic and societal shifts, such as the ageing population and the rise of the do-democracy, have substantial impact on social systems and on the economy. These transitions come with resistance, shock, challenges and surprises. For organizations willing to survive, it is crucial to map the surrounding developments and to create opportunities for change, while being focused on the long term.
DRIFT’s Transition Management (TM) approach can be applied to organizations like Van Houtum, to determine their position in the changing systems that these organizations are part of – in a holistic and systematic manner. This way, an organization is able to develop a strategy for innovation and to build capacity that increases their resilience and adaptability. As such, DRIFT and Van Houtum explored the possibilities for further innovation and opportunities to transition towards a circular and bio-based economy.
A radical innovation strategy was developed based on an analysis of the environment and a transition pressure cooker session. The resulting strategy consisted of four elements: provisional continuation of the current policy (‘Tissue Driven’), two shadow trails with innovative angles to employ and implement next to the current policy (‘Resources Roundabout’ and ‘Future Toilet’) and activities as a booster of transitions, regarding innovation enjoyment and long term chain-cooperation.
Moreover, the strategy showed directions for innovative opportunities that go beyond optimization and efficiency improvement and aim for social, ecological and economical value creation.
The developed transition strategy offered Van Houtum understanding and insight into some of the shifts that are emerging as a result of transitions in the energy and resource sectors. Moreover, the strategy showed directions for innovative opportunities that go beyond optimization and efficiency improvement and aim for social, ecological and economical value creation. As a result, Van Houtum changed their core processes, mission, and vision – and regained confidence about the organization’s future.
Do you want more information on this process and the resulting new strategy? Read the full project report here or find out more about Van Houtums innovative paper and production process (in Dutch).
Duration of the project
June – December 2013
Client(s)/ Commissioning party
Marieke Verhagen, Chris Roorda, Derk Loorbach, Jan Rotmans.
Download rapport (PDF 1,5 MB)