Since October there is a new platform in the Netherlands. Focused on making innovations possible. Really make it possible. From first idea to successful market introduction. This requires much more than a patent and a business case. Founder and director of the platform, Hans Kamphuis, talks about the establishment of Innovationlink, the eleven aspects of getting from invention to innovation and the success factors for a successful market introduction: cooperation and entrepreneurship. Innovationlink LIVE will take place in Tilburg on Tuesday 26 November 2019. The network event that brings together all the knowledge and experts in one day to move from invention to successful innovation.
According to scientific jargon, an innovation is a product or service that has been successfully marketed. "That's where the confusion lies," says Kamphuis, "because in popular speech, everyone is talking about innovation, whereas it's actually about the creation of ideas. That is why I consciously call it invention into innovation. This wording may be a little crooked, but it indicates exactly what I mean. You think of something and then you have to do a lot of things to bring your product or service to the market successfully."
Illusion of the Lone Inventor
"Thinking up often still happens in one person's head, but not everything else," continues Kamphuis. "The story of the Lonely Inventor is an illusion. A man like Edison, who invented things in his basement, sounds legendary, but was already unlikely in his day. Everything that is now being marketed is certainly a result of cooperation. That means you have to know what you don't know and then where you can get it from. This has to do with three things: knowledge, acquaintances and the means to do so. They come together in Innovationlink."
Eleven essential links
Innovationlink is all about connecting. The network makes the link between supply and demand of innovation and everything that goes with it to develop inventions and ideas faster and bring them to market successfully. Via an online platform with app, the network event Innovationlink LIVE, exclusive company visits, a handbook and a helpdesk for tailor-made advice, inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and service providers can get in touch with each other. The approach is holistic and includes the eleven most important links in the innovation process: intellectual property, business cases, financing, legal affairs, design and prototyping, collaboration, idea brokers, business networks, subsidies, government policy and marketing.
More than a patent
"Most people who think of something immediately think of a patent", Kamphuis knows. "There's something magical about that. If you have that, you're an inventor. Many people go to a patent attorney and invest a lot of money. Of course that protection is important, but it is even more important to have an overall picture of where you stand and where you want to go. That's why I developed the VINI matrix, shortly before invention to innovation. In this model, the eleven links that play a role in the development of a product are discussed. With this holistic approach, you can assess how things stand and what it takes to get there. I believe that if you gain insight into this and keep track of developments on a daily basis, so to speak, you will develop a broad view and avoid spending a lot of money on one aspect and forgetting about the other disciplines."
After all, each link in the innovation process will primarily bring its own discipline to the fore. A designer believes that a working prototype should be created. A patent attorney wants to protect the product. A financier attaches importance to the business case. In this way, everyone will emphasise their own area of expertise. And that means that wherever you go, no one will ever say: have you thought of everything? There is no body in the Netherlands that deals with the entire process. If you don't have a prototype yet, you don't have to think about marketing communication. But it's a reminder to keep asking yourself: when do I have to think about it? What should it do? And who and what do I need for that?
"My interest is not one of those aspects, but helping innovators on their way from a holistic approach", says Kamphuis. "I am above and next to all these parties and have contacts within all these links. I have no interest in this, but I do have a drive to accelerate innovation and to bring about innovation in society." This drive runs like a thread through the career of Kamphuis. After graduating in Architecture and Business Administration, he got to know the world of ideas and the world of business experts in all its forms. He was at the basis of the magazine Utopia, Inventor's Centre ID-NL, magazine Items, ioN, booosting and the Open Design Approach. He has been chairman of the NOVU for 10 years and is currently a member of the Take-Off committee of the NWO. He currently works as an advisor on international innovation and entrepreneurship at Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland. In that capacity, he was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Nanjing in September 2019, where he will teach students in the process of invention into innovation for the next two years. The crowning glory of all his experience is now the establishment of Innovationlink.
On the right track
"When I look back on my career, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. What I do, always and everywhere, is connect people. Through Innovationlink, I bring inventors and service providers into contact with each other. I know the world in each of these eleven aspects. I don't know exactly how to write a patent, but I do know that you have to write it and what the pitfalls are. So I can put someone on the right track, without pretending to fill it in myself. After 40 years Innovationlink is my invention. Together with the process of invention to innovation, which helps people to grow in a switched way."
It's all about entrepreneurship
"In that process, entrepreneurship is ultimately the ultimate success factor", says Kamphuis. "Everything else can be purchased. If you don't have any money, of course everything stops. But if you can't properly identify the problems and market them in the right way, any invention is doomed to failure. Innovationlink therefore focuses on innovators and experts. Because there is also a need for a broad view on the part of service providers. A lawyer can very well map out the legal side of the innovation process, but probably knows little about patent cases or how a prototype is created. My ideal is that Innovationlink should also become the network of parties from the eleven disciplines. Not only innovators and experts come together, but also the disciplines. Because they too strengthen each other and in turn can forge new collaborations."
Daily practice as a source of innovation
Innovationlink is there for all those professionals who are busy with their profession, use products, but do not make products themselves. That's about 250,000 people in the Netherlands! These include sectors such as the installation sector, contracting, the medical sector, but also education, horticulture and the entertainment industry. They all use products for their work and there is often a need for improvement or a problem that has not yet been solved. Many of them have come up with their own applications and solutions, without realising that this can also be valuable to others. Kamphuis: "This is a very interesting source, which is still being tapped far too little. A lot of research is being done to improve the research. Very important, from the point of view of science and research, but innovation based on practical needs has always been the basis of inventions such as the car, telephones and computer chips, but also of the Senz umbrella, vegan cheese and the Vacuvin. Innovationlink not only wants to tap that potential, but also to bring it together. Because only together do we make innovation possible."
Would you like to know more about Innovationlink or become a member of the network from invention to innovation? Go to www.innovation-link.nl
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