What is your role within the Innoleaps growth team? 

Simply put, I’m responsible for ‘growth’ within the programs that Innoleaps run. During each program, we try to learn as much as possible and (in)validate the assumptions we have. To do this, we run a lot of experiments online and offline, from fakedoor tests to qualitative interviews to a real shoptest. We want to get our products in the hands of real customers and to do that, we need to acquire them and show them concepts, MVP’s and different propositions so we can pick the winning ones and turn them into viable businesses for our clients. 


What would you say the most enjoyable part of your job is? 

I love to come up with new products and bring some pretty cool stuff to the market. One of the most exciting things for me is when real customers interact with a product that we as a team came up with. It’s always super interesting to see some of your predictions come true. On the flip side, sometimes your customers take your product and use it in new and unexpected ways that you hadn’t even thought about. 


Which innovation project would you say was the most significant for you and why?

One project that I worked on together with Roemer, was not only a lot of fun but also very well perceived by the client and customers. It was the first time I actually tested a product in the real market at Innoleaps. We’ve rolled it out in three countries simultaneously and it was super interesting to see how there were nuance differences between those 3 counties. The cherry on top was that the shoptest was successful enough to make it into a real business!


What upcoming trends do you think will have an impact on your job within the next 12 months?

Privacy regulation is both a challenge and a treat, with some tracking options being banned and platforms like Facebook & Google trying to take advantage and become more powerful.

I also believe that AI will become a lot more critical in marketing and data analytics. AI is becoming more powerful as the clock ticks. We have to be adaptable as humans if we want to keep up with content algorithms like GPT-3, for example. I believe my job role will exist still in the next five years, but the way I do my job, and the skills required will change drastically; you only have to look back 5 years to realise that. It’s a no brainer. 


We're a knowledge-hungry and driven team at Innoleaps; How do you make sure that you stay ahead of the game?

One of the advantages of working at Innoleaps is that I’m surrounded by some fantastic Growth Hackers that I am constantly learning from. We’re a knowledge-hungry bunch of people. Besides that, I try to follow relevant people, newsletters and blogs and take courses on subjects that are not only related to my work but also something completely different. 

A while ago, I read a story about a very successful businessman. He said that whenever he was in an airport with time to kill, he brought a specialist magazine about something he had no idea about. This really stuck with me. I believe it’s valuable to broaden your horizons and learn from other areas than just your field of work.

As soon as we’re allowed to travel again, and I’m back at the airport, I’ll try his tip. 


One of our core values at Innoleaps is nurturing an ‘entrepreneurial mindset’. What does this mean to you?

Before joining Innoleaps, I was an actual entrepreneur and started a couple of businesses. So I’m very used to the freedom that comes with being self-employed. What I like is that within Innoleaps this freedom is cultivated. And with this freedom to do your work as you see fit comes responsibility and ownership. I strongly believe that that will bring out the best in people and suits the kind of projects we do best.


Now, let’s talk about your most recent business venture - De Pizza Galerij!

We can take some time, because pizza is amazing.

After I sold my company, almost three years ago I was left with a lot of time on my hands - thats when I started cooking. If I’m honest I was never much of a cook growing up, and my parents are still very surprised at my latest business.

The business started when I moved into my new home In November 2020, and brought myself a pizza oven. For almost a year prior I had been perfecting my recipe, and my 8-year-old niece came with the idea for me to open my own pizza restaurant. ‘De Pizza Galerij’ was born. 

De Pizza Galerij logo designed by Dirk's 8 year old niece.

My dream was always to have ‘pizza Sundays’ - where all my friends, and friends of friends can come by and eat delicious pizza but of course that’s not possible with the current COVID-19 restrictions, but regardless, I still really wanted to keep making pizza’s and experiment with different types of dough & toppings.

I then decided to try and bake pizza’s for a good cause, so I contacted the Voedselbank to try and organise pizza collection on Sundays for people who were registered with them, but again, The COVID-19 restrictions put a stop to that plan. 

I now cook pizza’s every Sunday, and people pick them up and can pay what they want. All money is donated directly to the Voedselbank - You’d be amazed at what some people pay for pizza when its going to a good cause! I’ve had someone pay 100Euros for pizza because they liked the idea so much and wanted to support the charity. It’s probably the worst business idea I’ve ever come up with, as I make no money from the pizzas but I get much more that that. I’m constantly learning, I get to see people enjoy my pizzas, I’m able to get creative and experiment with something I love to do and support the Voedselbank at the same time. If you feel like eating pizza after reading this, and supporting a great cause you can visit my website, or for mouth-wateringly good pictures of my pizza, check out Instagram.


What gets you out of bed in the morning?

To be honest, I love creating epic stuff, whether thats the perfect pizza, a new product or an amazing growth experiment that will give us some new insights. Most of all, it gives me so much energy if I'm surrounded by like-minded people who I can enjoy everything with.


What was your biggest personal learning from 2020?

That within a crisis, there are always new opportunities, and you should never take things for granted. During the pandemic, I switched jobs, bought a house and started a take-away pizzeria from my home. I understand that for a lot of people the COVID-19 situation is a total disaster, whether it’s because they lost loved ones, saw their business collapse or are having mental health struggles because of the lockdown...I hope everything will be better for them soon. But a crisis like this can also help you remember what is really important. In my case, it’s doing things that make me happy. And I guess a good pizza is something that can make everyone happy.


Want to share this article?