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"There has really been a change from within.

So surprising.

So exciting.'

Sherana Santokhi

HR Director Global Operations, DSM DRF


DSM Resins & Functional Materials (DRF) is the market leader in high-quality resins for paint and coatings. They were also the first company to introduce UV curable coatings - a critical ingredient in today's high-speed fiber optic cables.
This division of DSM employs approximately 1,800 employees spread over 15 locations around the world.

A new strategy has been formulated within DSM DRF to effectuate more market-driven, customer-oriented innovations. Elements such as purpose, sustainability, customer centricity, and innovation have been identified as crucial to remaining a healthy company in 2022. This vision has been widely rolled out throughout the organization, supported by a large visual illustration with an accompanying game, the Vision2022 Experience.

DSM Resin's challenge

DSM wondered how they could ensure that employees are not only aware of the new strategy, but also how to communicate it in such a way that everyone is involved and actually gets started working on the important themes, in a globally operating company. The question was: how do we get 1,800 people in motion?


De Droomfabriek believes in the power of front runners. These are people who have their own ideas of how things can be substantially improved, and have the motivation to do something about it. Unfortunately, they sometimes run into the inertia of an organization and lack of confidence, resulting in fewer initiatives being taken. We have a proven approach that provides space and direction for the front runners' energy, and DSM was interested in that.

With a good internal team, 33 front runners from diverse backgrounds were selected from all over the world. In a 2-day kick-off event in Amsterdam, these front runners took a deep dive into the strategy, their purpose, and how to create movement in the DSM organization. With initiatives of their choosing and brimming with inspiration, the front runners returned to their own workplaces and started working on topics with which, in their perception, they could make a difference.

The group met in virtual training sessions every 6 weeks to discuss the progress and resistance to the initiatives. They were also given new tools and insights to take the next steps. Participants were challenged to make the movement bigger and to involve people in their initiatives. Senior leaders in different areas were involved as sponsors.
In the meantime, continuous attention was paid from the top to the roll-out of the strategy. In short, a top-down and bottom-up movement was created that greatly strengthened each other and thus made the implementation better.


The result

First of all, a group of 33 very enthusiastic people who have the energy experience that they can really create change. They have involved many people in their initiatives and it is estimated that at least 500 people are now actively involved in and contribute to the new strategy.


The awareness of the new strategy among all employees is high and growing every day. The poster of the strategy drawing that was made has been posted everywhere, and everyone can tell the story. In the organization's Leadership Team, this poster is also often used as a means of communication to make decisions clear.
Of course, some initiatives have more impact than others.

Some stand out:

  • For example, customer centricity in North America has really got off the ground and a large team is now really committed to this. Customers notice the difference.

  • In the Netherlands, an initiative has been taken to set up a research database where all knowledge is collected and structured, to make faster decisions, and to make fewer mistakes.

  • Various efficiency steps have also been taken in the factories that have yielded significant cost savings.

  • And last but not least, the collaboration between departments has greatly improved. The communication silos have been breached at many locations.

  • And …. because of all the successes and energy, a second Front Runner group has started new experiments to further shape the new strategy!

What have we done:


Wanna know more?

Would you like more information about such a FrontRunners program or do you have a similar issue? Please contact Yves Ancher or one of our colleagues.

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