Maarten Buijs is the CEO of Surfix.

Opinion

Breakthrough innovation: a personal journey

Leestijd: 3 minuten

Maarten Buijs shares his personal experience in trying to get innovations to the market before startups were a thing.

I recently became involved in a scale-up in point-of-care diagnostics. As I’ve mentioned in earlier columns, I’ve always been fascinated by startups and scale-ups and how they’ve taken over the market introduction of breakthrough technologies, through the force of close-knit, focused and driven teams.

My first encounter with startups was at Philips’ Natlab. In my group, at the end of the nineties, the unsurpassed duo of Frits Dijksman and Riné Dona had developed a prototype of a nifty autonomous vacuum cleaner. Philips researchers had already been working on such an appliance, based on cameras, image recognition, most efficient route calculation – in short: the (expensive) works. Frits and Riné had the brilliant idea to simplify this by having the cleaner perform a random walk, change direction when encountering an obstacle – the same principle my invaluable lawnmower is still using.

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