Grodan Challenge interview
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Grodan Challenge interview

Author: GreenTech
Friday, 8 June 2018

Together with Grodan we have set-up a Startup Challenge in which we challenge more than 120 startups to come with an innovative solution that allows Grodan to apply new sensor technologies to measure key root-zone parameters.

Only the best startups will get the chance to present their solution to the audience and jury during GreenTech 2018.

Off course we want to know all about this Challenge so it’s time to interview Vincent Deenen (Director Marketing Grodan) and ask him about the company, it’s innovation and of course the challenge.

Question 1: Can you introduce yourself and your company?
I am the Marketing Director of Grodan. My whole professional career I have been active in the international Horti Business through various Marketing and Sales functions. The last 10 years I have been working for Grodan, where we drive innovations for the rootzone, with as ultimate goal to enable the sustainable production of healthy fresh produce for the final end consumer.

Grodan supplies innovative and sustainable stone wool growing media solutions for the professional horticultural sector, based on Precision Growing principles. These solutions are applied for the cultivation of vegetables and flowers, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and roses. Growing media are offered together with tailor-made advice and innovative tools to support Precision Growing.

Question 2: What is your vision when it comes to the Horticulture industry developments?
The increase of people on Earth is associated with the need to increase healthy nutritious food production, which in 2050, per estimates, will be needed twice as much. This leaves us with one of today’s biggest challenges - food production must double while using half of the resources of today. That is why Grodan’s growing media solutions are designed for Precision Growing, which is the most sustainable way of growing and at the same time the most effective one. We believe that the right development of the industry is only in one direction – producing more healthy fresh food with less water, energy and fertilizers.

We realise this with our innovative growing media solutions and tools. And soon we will launch another innovative solution to the market. We will come forwards with an integrated (digital) total greenhouse management platform. Grodan believes this forms the basis to make a next jump in realizing the ambitious goal to feed the world’s population with nutritious food, while on the same side protecting our global resources, and bring ‘doing more with less’ to the next level.

Question 3: What are some of the challenges you’re facing as a company when it comes to technology & innovations?
The main challenge is to introduce innovations where high technological advancement is simultaneously understandable and easy to use by the user. New innovations need to be intuitive and in the meanwhile directly bring value to the customer. The innovation cycles become shorter and shorter and as an industry we need to embrace the new digital possibilities which are available these days. This will create a new generation of growers. But in some areas, this takes time. We need to break the reluctance and show them the possibilities

Question 4: Together with the RAI you have setup a startup challenge where you are going to challenge startups to come with solutions for sensor technology. Can you tell us a little bit more about this startup challenge?
For many years Grodan has been supplying sustainable growing tools, helping growers achieving best possible results in their greenhouse production by monitoring and managing the root zone environment in the most optimal way.

Our existing solutions gives insights into the Water Content, EC and temperature of the root environment. More parameters measured and controlled in the root zone will help the grower or propagator to make better decisions by having more useful information in real time to improve and change the strategy of root zone management per collected data. We need to know exactly what is going on in the rootzone area. The roots are the engines of the plant. We need to keep them in the most optimal condition. Only than a plant can perform well. In order to get the roots in the optimal conditions you need to monitor them as closely as possible. We foresee that this challenge will help us in getting more insights what happens in the rootzone.

With this knowledge, we can improve our products, tools and advices to our customers. That’s the driver why we have created this challenge.

Question 5: In what way, do you think Grodan, changes the world of Horticulture?
Innovation is the driver for progress and improvement. Grodan continuous invests in innovation – only than we can make steps forwards for the sector. We do this with our growing media, our tools and hopefully new sensors coming from this challenges.

And as noted before we are aiming to bring everything together into one operation greenhouse management platforms in order to make use of today’s digital transformation.

Question 6: Why do growers and experts worldwide must come to GreenTech Amsterdam 2018?
This is the place where you can meet all the innovations in horticulture industry but it is also a platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge. And when you are at the Greentech, we invite everybody to visit our stand at Greentech where we will talk about our new products, technology NG2.0 and latest developments in the area of Precision Growing. We are more than willing to tell you more about our future plans.

Are you curious about the outcome? Then visit the Live pitches sessions during GreenTech 2018 on Wednesday 13th of July between 10:30 and 12:00 in the InnovationLab Theatre.

Share your horticulture technology stories with us

Do you have an innovation, research results or an other interesting topic you would like to share with the international horticulture technology industry? The GreenTech website and social media channels are a great platform to showcase your stories!

Please contact our Brand Marketing Manager Murkje Koopmans.

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