After several years of close involvement with Dutch Design Awards (DDA), sharing their expertise and selecting award-winning projects, we say goodbye to our loyal jury members Joost Alferink (Product), Bert Hagendoorn (Data & Interaction), Liesbeth in 't Hout (Fashion) and Saskia van Stein (Young Designer). How do they reflect on their years at DDA and what tips can they give their successors? You can read it below.

All four of you have been DDA head jurors for quite a long time. If we add it all up, it comes down to 22 years! How do you look back on these years?

We start with Saskia van Stein, who was involved for over six years being the head juror of the Young Designer category: “I will miss being so close to the source, and using the jury days to gain an insight into the diverse richness of initiatives presented by young talent in the Netherlands. There were many inspiring projects and constructive and sometimes confrontational discussions. Especially with the international guests who, with their outside view, always knew how to point out an underexposed aspect of our cultural landscape.”

Joost Alferink, who was the head juror of the ‘Product’ category for 8 years, also describes this time as a precious one. “The substantive discussions with the expert panel are invaluable, Dutch Design Week with the award ceremony, memorable! You can’t get any closer to the ‘fire’ of Dutch Design than as a member of the expert panel or head juror of one of the sub-areas!”

Liesbeth in ‘t Hout was involved as head juror of the Fashion category for a period of two years. “I have experienced these two years as very pleasant. Both the meetings with the ‘fashion people’ and the meetings with the chair jurors were interesting and inspiring and had a positive vibe!”

Bert Hagendoorn, who was the head juror of the Data & Interaction (formerly Service & Systems) category for 6 years, is also stepping down but will remain affiliated with the organisation. “In total, I have been a jury member for 6 years: previously with the ‘Nederlandse Design Prijzen’ and later with the current organisation in the Data & Interaction category. In particular, I will miss the gatherings and working together. I will remain involved in the organisation in the background on a strategic level, also as a member of the Advisory Board of Dutch Design Week – to contribute to the success of these fantastic brands.

What tips would you give your successors based on your experience?

The first tip: “Don’t be seduced by the constant call for change, DDA is gaining prominence through the constant focus on quality. The role of the Chair is being humble with a personal sense of decision-making (if needed), says Joost.

Saskia adds: “The responsibility of a juror lies in the balance of things. Beyond the delusion of the day, the nominees show the ingenuity and potential of the designing disciplines, your choice also sends a signal and points the direction and reflects the times we live in.”

Liesbeth adds: “Above all, immerse yourself in the other design categories within DDA. It is interesting but also necessary to have an idea of the developments, similarities and differences within the design world.”

And finally, Bert: “I know who my successor is, Daniel Sytsma, Global Chief Design Officer at Dentsu International, and he is doing a great job. He doesn’t need any tips from me. :)”

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