In 2004 Villeroy & Boch received the first innovation award in the world – The German Business Innovation Award - for the design and production techniques of its NewWave cup.
The award was initiated and promoted by the Wirtschaftsclub Rhein-Main, the top-class plenum of which is composed of prominent figures from the world of politics, business and science and even of Nobel-Prize winners. The Wirtschaftsclub Rhein-Main organized this innovation award in collaboration with the German business journal Wirtschaftswoche as an ‘incentive to achieve outstanding business performance. The evaluation is based on the degree of innovation, market launch, benefits to society and to the environment, innovation management and economic efficiency. Attention is focussed on innovations which show that they can bring about changes in the markets.’
The innovative quality of this product – as demonstrated in the unconventional design and the production techniques specifically developed for the product - was crucial for the decision to confer this eminent award on NewWave.
Design in this case becomes the language of innovation: Firstly, it reveals an unusual, exciting form, which departs from the customary tableware symmetry, especially from the circular shape. It is replaced by the asymmetry of a wave, which is ergonomic and practical in equal measure. The flat, sweeping handle makes the cup easy to hold while the cup stands firm in a deep hollow in the ‘saucer’.
It would not at all have been possible to produce the NewWave cup using conventional production methods. A further deciding factor for the innovation award was the novel production technique of hollow die casting invented by Villeroy & Boch, which is used in tableware to manufacture precisely these asymmetrical forms.
This award bears testimony to a corporate strategy which has firmly established innovative abilities in all the Company Divisions and has incorporated them into an integral innovation management system. The aim is to gain a market lead and competitive advantage by introducing new consumer-oriented products and concepts, to strengthen the international brand and gain access to further consumer groups.