A meeting of minds to explore the future Feadship Innovation Symposium

The creative juices were well and truly flowing at the latest Feadship Academy event as around a hundred of Feadship’s top talents gathered for the Feadship Future Lab Innovation Symposium on 8 February. Experts in construction, design, naval architecture and engineering from across the Feadship group came together to brainstorm on ways to make Feadship and Feadships even better in the future.

Innovation has always been at the heart of the Feadship success story. The saying that ‘each Feadship launched is the best Feadship ever launched’ is more than just hyperbole – partnering with pioneering clients, Feadship is committed to learning from the past as it constantly raises the bar of perfect craftsmanship via new techniques, technologies, approaches and insights.

Designed to inspire

The Feadship Future Lab innovation symposium was designed to inspire Feadship specialists who relentlessly set and push the standards in their individual disciplines. The programme included a keynote speech by Matthijs van Dijk, professor of Mobility Design at TU Delft on ‘How do we prevent today’s innovation dream from turning into tomorrow’s nightmare?’, roundtable discussions and three seminars on robotics (by Scheepswerf Slob), the modular construction of hatches/doors (Akerboom Yacht Equipment) and innovative engineering (De Klerk Binnenbouw).

Another highlight was a range of interactive workshops called Focus Labs. These zoomed in on topics such as Design 2025 (servicing owners even better while remaining unique in the design process), after-sales service (how to best organise the treasure trove of information, experience and client/crew feedback), revolutions in innovation, the pros and cons of a paperless company, sustainability, comfort, additive manufacturing (the industrial term for 3D printing), augmented reality and alternative production methods. 

Feadship Innovatiesymposium

Reactions from participants 

Koos Zitman, director: “This is a very good initiative as it brings together a broad spectrum of people from across all parts of the Feadship group, including our co-makers. We are looking into the future – not only at what technology can offer but at what humanity requires. This goes well beyond our current knowledge and capabilities into shaping our expectations for the future.

As Einstein once said: ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ In other words, we have to think differently, and Feadship is uniquely qualified to do that with its background of innovation. There’s probably no other superyacht builder who could put on an event like this, with so much expertise from so many angles in-house.”

Farouk Nefzi, marketing & brand director: “The concept of a Feadship Future Lab is to create a platform where all the brilliant minds within the company can come together. Today we are sharing our collective inspiration on the future of innovation, which is a natural thing for a leader firm like Feadship to do and something of which we can be proud.

During the ‘revolutions in innovation’ Focus Lab, I was struck by the fact that – despite the way that Feadship continues to grow at a fast pace – everyone involved is genuinely willing to make a difference and to share with each other in ways which are sustainable and measurable. Brainstorming is good for coming up with all kinds of new ideas but at Feadship we know better than anyone that putting great ideas into action requires more than enthusiasm alone.”

Marc Levadou, manager knowledge & innovation: “One of the main impressions I have of this day is the incredible amount of energy in the building and the sincere interest among all attendees. The fact that the event was very well prepared meant people quickly became engaged in defining future projects. In the Focus Lab on comfort, for instance, we went beyond issues such as noise & vibration attenuation to look at areas like privacy, boat handling and automation.

For me the key question is how this will all take concrete shape in the future – we must (and will) ensure that the follow-up is equally as productive as the event itself. It’s like climbing a mountain: once you reach the top, you’re halfway there, but the expedition isn’t a success until you’ve made it back too.” 

Tom de Vries, managing director:  This has been an excellent opportunity for people from all parts of Feadship to spend time discussing key questions and issues with each other. It was good to meet people from different generations of shipbuilders, designers and the like, which really makes you think about what you are saying and listen carefully to what’s being said. 

I loved the thought that it’s simply not enough for us as Feadship to come up with ideas for the future – we need to ensure they match client expectations. For instance, in the 3D printing Focus Lab we examined how we’ll soon be able to print beautiful tables. But what if clients insist on still having their table handmade? Feadships revolve around the emotions of their owners and I think many things will still have to be made by hand, precisely for that special feel. This doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily always be made in wood – there might be other – but either way, it will remain up to the client.”