Requiem voor de MTV Generatie

Walstra, L., Rademakers, M. (2008): FD Strategie, Vol. 3, Iss. 9, pp 77.

De afkalving van TV als massamedium heeft grote gevolgen voor muziekzender MTV. Het originele concept van de exclusieve muziektelevisie raakt steeds meer uit beeld ten gunste van de multichannel-strategie.

Succes Dwingt Vleesbedrijf tot Keuze

Rademakers, M. (2007): FD Strategie, Vol. 2, Iss. 7, pp 12-13.

Vion, de snelst groeiende voedingsmiddelenproducent van Nederland, is een ‘verborgen kampioen’. Het bedrijf maakte een fenomenale sprong van € 600 miljoen omzet in 2002 naar € 6 miljard in 2007. Op deze manier consolideerde Vion eigenhandig de vleesverwerkende industrie in Nederland en Duitsland. Product leadership bereiken is de volgende uitdaging voor het bedrijf.

Wat ING Direct deelt met Wikipedia

Rademakers M., Wit, B. de (2007): FD Strategie, March, pp 15-16.

ING Direct gebruikt de nieuwste internettechniek om een oud probleem op te lossen: hoe kunnen medewerkers hun kennis met elkaar delen?


Siemens Water Technologies (SWT), part of Siemens AG (Germany), is a leading water and wastewater treatment company in Canada, US, Middle East and Asia. 2009 saw the introduction in the European market of a new technology, Cannibal, based on state-of-the-art propositions for sludge (bio-solid) reduction in wastewater treatment systems. SWT's purpose is to consolidate Europe as an attractive technology hub of high standards and advanced studies in water treatment and sewage disposal.

The challenge for Siemens resides in Europe being a much national diverse whole of wastewater treatment policies and regulations, recently brought together under the EU Water Framework Directive, with the intention of building a common playground for the supply of clean and safe water. The Cannibal technology consists of biomass processes where sludge is first treated with facultative bacteria, then processed by anaerobic bacteria. The result of this practice, not yet entirely understood academically - the exact biological mechanisms behind the Cannibal process are in fact not known -, is an easier disposal and greater reduction of sludge waste.
However it raises divergent opinions about its efficacy and acceptance in Europe with respect to more conventional technologies regarding the management and disposal of sludge (i.e. incineration, use of sludge as fertilizer, etc). SWT is facing the question how to optimize the cross-border benefits of adopting the Cannibal technology, while penetrating the European market. Being active in Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands, the next step would be entering the UK market. A fundamental tension to manage for SWT is the question of standardizing the Cannibal sludge reduction proposition to reap the benefits of globalization, or take a customized country-by-country approach to cater for - and benefit from - the local needs and circumstances in the different national settings of Europe.

Keywords: strategy, global standardization, local adaptation, waste water treatment.


Rademakers M.

What are the market opportunities in Europe for point-of-use water (POW) purification systems? Water purification represents a rising concern, both for developed and developing countries, driven by customers' demand for access to clean, safe and well-tasting water. Point-of-use water purification systems hold the promise of making high-quality drinking water available at relatively low costs, if compared with bottled water and tap water. Basically, in the case of POW, consumers experience control over water safety. The Domestic Appliances business unit at Philips Consumer Lifestyle, a branch of Royal Philips Electronics, aims at building a strong position in the growing market for point-of-use water purification appliances. Philips water purifiers are gaining popularity in countries like India, Vietnam and Brazil, where high-quality drinking water is problematic. In Northwestern Europe, by contrast, drinking water is seen as a commodity, and consumers tend to trust the water they purchase in bottles or that they get as tap water from the local water companies or municipalities. However, this confidence is under pressure due to growing awareness about surface and ground water contamination, limitations to purification, and the negative environmental impact of bottled water. Given the drivers in favor of point-of-use water purification on the one hand, and the inhibitors on the other, key question is which are the decisive ones that will shape the industry or rather keep the current status quo in Europe. Should Philips be a driver of change in Europe, or go with the flow? Which direction will the European markets for drinking water develop?

Keywords: strategy, industry development, drinking water, point-of-use water purification

The New Learning Concept in Organizations

Rademakers M. (ed.) (2014)

Rather than a case, ‘The New Learning in Organizations’ is an opinion article by guest authors Mieke Posthumus and Pim Verheijen, who look at the evolution of learning in organizations – from inkpot to iPad. With the widespread use of digital technology, people and organizations are reacting faster to each other than ever before. Mieke and Pim suggest that the methods stemming from the time before the digital revolution are no longer suited to meet the needs of a world in which everything is connected along the digital highway. In that context, this opinion article explores the “New Learning” phenomenon in organizations. The term revolves around the connection of individual and organizational goals, individual responsibilities for learning and demonstrating results, plus deploying digital technology and social media as a means and not as a goal in itself. In their conclusion, the authors implicitly pose the question of who can and should determine what needs to be learned in a learning organization:

“Learning in organizations cannot and should no longer be seen as a centrally directed industrial process– including corporate universities of any sort or type. Working and learning by individuals in organizations are becoming increasingly intertwined entities, which drives decentralization of organizational learning.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning

Waternet Academie and the Aquademie

Rademakers M. (2014)

The focus of this case is on cooperation between corporate universities. More in particular, the case describes the Waternet Academie (part of the Amsterdam water utility company) and the Aquademie (part of the De Dommel Water Board, a non-profit organization, and their views and insights on their inter-corporate university cooperation. The corporate universities work together to achieve economies of scale and other benefits that the (relatively small) organizations cannot achieve by themselves, due to their relatively small size. A joint insight of these corporate universities is that:

“Cooperation pays off ... Through scaling and combining knowledge and expertise, many possibilities arise to increase the quality and quantity of the corporate university activities.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning

VolkerWessels Academy

Rademakers M. (2014)

The VolkerWesselsAcademy case shows how the corporate university played into the strategic challenges faced by VolkerWessels. VolkerWessels is an international construction company headquartered in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The company consists of no fewer than 125 strongly autonomous subsidiaries that are active in various markets and countries. These often widely varied subsidiaries all have their own preferences when it comes to organizational learning. In line with the diversity of the company, the range of learning propositions offered by the VolkerWesselsAcademy is also very diverse. The corporate university is active in areas of strategic importance to VolkerWessels, such as corporate image in society, attracting young talents, inter-organizational cooperation, counteracting the “not invented here” syndrome, corporate social responsibility, leadership, and more. The issues are dealt with in employee training, management courses, and master classes for a selected group of talented managers. The theme across all of these corporate university activities is that they are the ‘binding agent’ for the organization as a whole. VolkerWessels has strategic priorities at the group level, on the one hand, and subsidiary-level priorities on the other hand that need to be linked. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the corporate university can rely on the necessary attention and commitment of VolkerWessels’ senior management. All the same, the challenge for the VolkerWesselsAcademy to excel every day is a tough one. One of the success factors for corporate universities that the VolkerWesselsAcademy propounds pertains to strategic focus:

“… it is important to retain your own strategic focus as a corporate university. The VolkerWesselsAcademy is always open to the learning needs of the subsidiaries, but does not grant every request these subsidiaries make. The subsidiaries can also arrange for learning programs and training courses externally; as these do not have the clear added value of bringing employees from various parts of the group together, they cannot be on the VolkerWesselsAcademy program.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning

Corporate Learning Centre Rijkswaterstaat

Rademakers M. (2014)

Corporate universities can also be found in governmental organizations. Rijkswaterstaat is a key department of the Dutch Ministry of Natural Environment and Infrastructure. This department is leading in areas such as traffic management, and responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Dutch infrastructure including waterways, dykes, and roads. This case describes how the Corporate Learning Center (CLC) has grown into a corporate university with strategic impact. It has done so in a setting of continuous discussion and debate about the use and need for corporate learning. In the meantime, CLC engaged into custom-made corporate education. The strategic nature of the CLC is demonstrated by the role the corporate university plays in the alliance formation within the work field of Rijkswaterstaat. Alliance formation is very important for the department of the Ministry of Natural Environment and Infrastructure; according to Rijkswaterstaat, cooperation is an effective way to connect to the increasingly complex environment. Obtaining access to the expertise of other organizations, as opposed to a ‘lone ranger approach’ is seen as the only viable way to meet the challenges faced. With that in mind, the CLC proactively shapes corporate learning in cooperation with partner organizations of Rijkswaterstaat. In this way, a cooperation-based foundation is laid for new methods and corporate models for the organizations involved. For corporate universities to enhance their strategic impact the CLC points out that

“… it is crucial to be able to speak the management’s language. In reality, that means cutting loose from thinking and talking in educational terminology.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning

DHV University

Rademakers M. (2014)

DHV University is the corporate university of the global consultancy and engineering agency DHV Group (currently merged into the Royal Haskoning DHV Group). The DHV University case shows how organizational learning can play a key role in exploring, shaping and – eventually –realizing strategy. DHV University has developed two management development programs: the EDP (Executive Development Program) at the corporate level, and the MDP (Management Development Program) at the business level. Management development and strategy formation go hand in hand, and the two programs are interconnected: Corporate strategy development in the EDP forms the framework for the business strategies developed in the MDPs. As a result, instead of slowing down due to the complex and worldwide presence of the organization, DHV has managed to enhance agility. The organization has increased its ability to adapt in both local and worldwide markets. It is safe to say that the (large) financial investments in the programs have been amply recovered, if only by the synergy benefits that were indentified and realized by the participants between the various businesses. Consequently, courage and leadership of the DHV Group’s senior management to follow this path of strategy formation and implementation are rewarded. The impact of the DHV University programs turned out to be even greater than expected by the company leaders:

“We are amazed by the growth this focused and interactive program has led to. MDP alumni have proven themselves to be leaders within the organization and have proactively utilized opportunities and initiatives that support the strategy.”

Keywords: strategy, corporate university, organizational learning