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As last year, the E52 High Tech Peak Awards again go to nine individuals who in the past year have made a particular contribution to the field of high tech innovation, or for whom we have great expectations in 2017. One Peak, four Stars and four Blasts.

Every day we portray one of the award winners.

Today: Benno Tieke

As winner of a Star

Jury: “Benno Tieke is one of the driving forces behind the Eindhoven Startup Alliance. It brought Philips closer to the startups and vice versa. This increases the success for both Philips and startups.”

These are all the winners of 2016


Benno Tieke
Benno Tieke

Benno Tieke is Director of Business Creation at Philips Research, a job title that fits him like a glove. Shortly after the year 2000, Philips understood that its business would benefit through open innovation (which in fact led to opening up the gates of the High Tech Campus). It was in the same spirit that Benno Tieke saw that the multinational would do well to embrace the methods of a startup. In terms of business creation, both steps offered Philips new impulses.

Already in the first edition of the accelerator program HighTechXL Philips got acquainted with the startup world; from episode 2 onwards the company was a major partner – and remained involved. Why? “We want to have the best view of the important startups that are out there.”

This year Tieke is not only involved in HighTechXL, but he also runs his own startup programs. Internally at Philips, but entirely in the recent tradition of the company, with the doors wide open. Twelve teams were able to qualify for a program of 13 weeks, located at the neighbours on High Tech Campus, where HighTechXL runs its programs. Focus for those teams was on improving their entrepreneurship. All this entirely along the lines of the lean startup method, so constantly looking for improvements, validations in the market and “pivots” when necessary – a way of working normally not so obvious in the corporate world.

Three elements in such a program are most important, says Tieke. “Firstly, it is good that there are several teams participating together in the program. It is by learning from each other that we move forward. Then there is the importance of mentors, external coaches who provide us with their feedback. Finally, it helps to step out of your normal environment, even if it is only 50 meters away.”

“We can now see what disruption looks like from the inside.”

Much of what Tieke does is dedicated to bringing together corporates and startups, even outside Philips. During 2016, Tieke was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Eindhoven Startup Alliance, an organisation that tries to strengthen the contact between corporates and startups. This way, together with companies such as ABN/AMRO, ASML, EY and the NTS Group, Philips not only supports HighTechXL, but the entire startup ecosystem in the region.

The objectives in this context are clear, both for the startups and for the corporates. One side can benefit from the expertise and network of the ‘big boys’, while the other side may find new partnerships and gets to know and understand the world of startups from within. And, says Tieke, “we can now see what disruption looks like from the inside.”

And that might well be the most valuable knowledge conceivable for a Director of Business Creation at a multinational such as Philips.