Alma Wolhuter-Slabbert, education manager
“I see innovation as being open to new opportunities. Opportunities you can take up and make your own. When it comes to innovation, you don't wait for a manager to tell you what to do: all you need is something to aim for and an answer to the question 'who's going to do it?’
Our innovation department, De Groeifabriek, is located on the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen, where we collaborate with start-ups or knowledge institutions such as universities of applied sciences and universities. Internally, we're sometimes called 'APG's nursery', a place where big and small ideas are born. One example is the Life Certificate app for people receiving pensions abroad. At the moment they still have to physically go to an embassy or consulate every year. With the app, a QR code and a selfie, they can provide proof of life from the comfort of their armchair. The great thing about this app is the speed at which it's getting off the ground. There has been a need for a more customer-friendly system for pensioners abroad for some time, but Covid-19 suddenly makes something like this urgent.