Sharing ideas and accelerating innovation
‘The recent Nanovations session was a great positive surprise to me,’ says FutureChemistry’s Dr. Kaspar Koch. ‘I was particularly amazed by the drive that the TMC Employeneurs showed. The plan was to have an informal brainstorm session, but within minutes, they’d jumped onto the project like it was their own. You could feel their motivation and energy, their can-do mentality. It’s a breath of fresh air if people are willing to help you like that.’
For nine years, Kaspar Koch has been Managing Director of FutureChemistry, a worldwide technology leader in flow chemistry. ‘Part of our aim is to accelerate innovation in nanotechnology. Recently, for one of our projects, we had a complicated question that required a rather specific kind of knowledge to answer.’
An ex-colleague, currently a TMC Employeneur, offered to share the question among his TMC network of specialists. Shortly after, a Nanovations session was organized.
‘It was a relief to get everything done so quickly,’ Kaspar says. ‘Often, if you ask for outside help, even a few hours of brainstorming or consultancy are preceded by days of paperwork. At the company where the specialist or the consultant works, contracts have to be put together and approved by several people, and there can be a lot of internal discussion about the account on which those hours have to be written. It can take a while before all the obstacles are cleared.’ It wasn’t like that with TMC.
Not only was the Nanovations session organized quickly and efficiently, without any hassle – it also was an easy-going meeting of ambitious minds, visibly committed to their field and to helping answer FutureChemistry’s question. Among other things, the small group of experts discussed the ways in which nano-materials can react differently to different circumstances: ‘a certain type of coating on a ship can have very different effects on human skin,’ Kaspar explains. ‘We talked about the applications, discussed the requirements for certain kinds of materials, about the best ways to perform tests, about the specialists in other relevant fields, we gave each other valuable advice and exchanged ideas for future projects.’
A session like this is not just helpful in answering questions, it’s also a great way to strengthen ties between companies and to build new relationships: ‘In a small country like The Netherlands, and a small community like the nanotechnology sector, maintaining good relationships is vital.’
Kasper feels he really got to know TMC during the session: ‘If you haven’t personally experienced the way a big company like TMC works, it’s easy to think of it as a vast collection of smart people. Once you’ve actually met the Employeneurs and seen the way they think, it’s as if the entire company comes alive in front of you. Suddenly, you can feel its energy, its dynamism. I can’t think of a better way to get to know another company and to influence and inspire each other.’