The power of sports and science

Inge Stoter

Manager Innovation Lab Thialf Watch talk


Being the manager of Thialf’s innovation lab, Inge Stoter is able to combine her passion for sports with her interest in science. With the combined power of those two elements she attracts companies to work jointly on innovative products, thus enhancing performance, fan experience, and the accommodation itself. In her own words: “The power of sports lies in uniting disciplines, and the power of science lies in stretching boundaries. It’s the interplay of those two that really dares reality.”

The Netherlands is a knowledge economy. As a small country, we are doing exceptionally well in sports, especially in speed skating. Speed skaters continuously dare reality by breaking world records. That can partly be explained by better training techniques. The biggest improvements, however, were achieved by technology. The most famous example being the development of the ‘klapskate’. It’s one of the few innovations that made it through the ‘valley of death’ between scientific knowledge and the practice of product development. According to Inge, there is a large gap there. She sees it as her mission to bridge it by using the power of sports. A power that – unfortunately – is still being underestimated by many.