Mar 2016 | Sofia Simeonidou
Martijn is a freelancer entrepreneur. In 2oo9 he presented a taxi application to several investors. The main reaction at the time was: “Why do we need an app for a Taxi when we can call for a taxi instead? A taxi will be here in 10min.” It was and still is a very good application, different from Uber. Uber won this race. Martijn won the possibility to build on future concepts. And innoyou.
Why your own company?
I wanted to have the freedom to work on my own projects and to be able to innovate. Then it was my network. I had inspiring people around me.
What’s unique about innoyou?
We are like a network company and we surround ourselves with great designers, financial consultants, and conceptors. We like to show clients how to innovate using a designed concept rather than presenting just a consulting process on paper. We help with change using design. We want to make sure clients understand the way to do it and how to implement the concept themselves.
Were you a curious kid?
Yes, I was very curious. Especially about how things worked. My room was one big tech lab, fixing all kind of useless gadgets by connecting several machines together. And asking many questions about all things around me.
Does that make you a perfectionist?
Yes. When I’m designing I literally think about every pixel. I can look at a product I like for hours. I check every detail simply because I want to know why it looks so good.
What time do you wake-up in the morning?
I have no pattern. There are days I start working at 7am (ok, exceptions) and other days I start at 10am. It also depends on how late I worked the night before (often I do design-stuff till late at night).
Do you bike to work?
Depending on my agenda, say 2-3 days a week. It opens up my mind. It helps me think of new concepts and improve concepts I’m already working on.
Do you keep up with the latest trends?
I use ‘Flipboard’. I only follow the latest tech and design trends. It’s a hobby that is also important for my work. Flipboard is international. Dutch media are many times late with tech news. New concepts are mostly a combination of several new inventions and existing technics.
What turns an idea/initiative into successful business?
Deliver something that genuinely solves a problem. Everyone around you will say: “Oh this is a great concept!” but will they pay for it when time comes? If you have people that want to pay for your idea/product/service then you have a successful business. If you’re too early clients might not be ready. If you’re late then you’re not innovative enough. Concept simplicity is another one.
Where do you see people failing?
So the secret might be to know when to stop and how to move fast to the next adventure. That is a general rule and a cliche I think but when there’s a failure, turn it around and make it work again.
How do you overcome big challenges when working on a project?
The right timing is a complex thing. If you are not flexible to change fast you are out of business because you are not relevant, not innovative enough. Another one is how you deal with self-doubt and pressure. I try to surround myself with talented people, people we share the same vision with. Then you are all in this together.
And when do you stop?
That’s a difficult one. You need to be self-confident to stop before it’s too late.
So the secret might be to know when to stop and how to move fast to the next adventure.
Who did you look up to?
My brother. He’s only 2 years older but always did what he liked to do. He chose to study Industrial design, to live for a short time in London, to work at the best design office in Holland (NPK), and then also chose to start his own design office. He somehow always inspired me to follow my dreams. For me, it only takes a bit more time to do.
What is your best piece of advice to someone starting new?
Know what you’re good at and do what you like most. It took me a long time to realise I’m good in something. Find your focus. Don’t get involved with many different concepts and ideas. Try things and if they don’t work just try again. You cannot sell innovation in an old-fashioned way. Ten years ago it was ok to use a graph if you had to show what a concept would mean for the company’s processes. Now, this isn’t enough. And don’t be afraid to share your ideas, it will open doors you cannot even imagine.