Quick Q&A: Talking innovation with Oceanco's CEO Marcel Onkenhout

Written by Laura Nicholls

With plenty going on in the superyacht industry during this moment of change, a positive development has been our need to adapt - both to new small-scale ways of working and large-scale plans for the future. This adaptation has naturally resulted in new ideas and fresh innovations and so, SuperYacht Times spoke to a cross-section of the industry to find out how they are innovating during these times. Next up is the Oceanco CEO, Marcel Onkenhout.     Oceanco CEO, Marcel OnkenhoutYou once said that there are two types of innovation. Can you tell us what you perceive innovation to be? 

It is a continuous process wherever you do it: either before or after signing the contract. Innovation is often seen as something sexy, and there are hidden things which drive innovation, either in the product or the process. Innovations in our products are something which we predominantly try to do prior to the contract signing by working together with visual designers, naval architects and owners towards achieving one goal and mitigating the risks. After the contract signing, we see more of a tendency towards innovation in terms of the process in order to improve the build and make it better every time.

During this COVID-19 crisis, there isn't handbook which has been written for anyone on how to deal with the situation, but it has been a good example of how people can think differently. For us as a shipyard, we have had to do this to keep progressing with our projects and deal with challenges.DreAMBoat Oceanco yacht in AblasserdamPhoto: Guillaume PlissonThe corona epidemic will change our industry. Do you think that only those who innovate will be able to benefit from this situation?

There is no question there: you have to innovate. Not being innovative will stop you, and it comes with a lot of risks. It's difficult to see how we, as an industry, will change, but for sure it will happen, both in terms of health and safety and how we communicate and interact. Next to that, I also believe that from a behavioural point of view, values will change. People will like to take their yachts to safe places, stay on board for longer to feel safe and have a greater respect for the environment they are visiting.Black Pearl sailing yacht by OceancoPhoto: Tom van OossanenDo you think there will be a new future for sailing yachts?

Oceanco has done both sailing and motor yachts, and it has been mentioned before that yachting is all about emotion. So, it would be interesting to bring the best of the motor and sailing worlds and their emotions together, as maybe it will be the new innovative yacht type of the future. To a certain extent, Black Pearl is a start, but don't ask me what these yachts will look like as nobody can think of this innovation, or any innovation on their own. We need to move as an industry, put all of our disciplines together and then see if we can develop innovation together.Bravo motor yacht Y718 by OceancoPhoto: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesThis interview was part of the eighth SuperYacht Times Webinar. If you missed out, catch up via the video found below. All past and future SuperYacht Times Webinars can be found here.



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