Author profile picture

Ah, I suppose you were thinking about money as soon as you saw the headline. Fine, that’s also an investment.

But I’m mainly thinking about long term, far-reaching investments in people, community and relationships.

Pretty logical, new developments are tricky. A start-up that wants to turn its idea into reality is asked to scale up and go ‘past the pilot’. That’s all vital and valid. However, for me, the real investment lies in the ‘climate’ that is being created. A climate where we don’t look at things in the short term. Where we invest in talent development. Where it is safe to be allowed to ‘fail’ and learn from wrong decisions.

That calls for resolute choices such as long-term investment in good educational facilities, an entrepreneur-friendly environment, and bringing together a community that works cross-industry, which is also something that matters to me most. It is at these crossroads that exciting things happen.


The healthcare sector is facing such a crossroad; we need to go from healthcare (fixing things) to health (including prevention). The latter requires a long-term vision from all parties. It also demands a different approach to funding. Prevention must also be able to be paid for, instead of just curing things with pills, hands-on help or a scalpel.

This is also a bit of a challenge; if it were easy, it would have long been done by now. But as Einstein once said: “We cannot solve problems with the same way of thinking that caused them.” A transformation is needed for a sector that you are all going to have to deal with at some point in your life. Contribute your ideas, come and stand at one of these crossroads. Seek them out and have a look at them. Most importantly, invest in building a community of people and ideas that is able to give your career – as well as your company and mission – ‘purpose’, i.e. health.

When the Dutch make a toast, they often say ‘op je gezondheid‘ which translates into ‘to your health!’ So cheers!

About this column:

In a weekly column, written alternately by Bert Overlack, Mary Fiers, Peter de Kock, Eveline van Zeeland, Lucien Engelen, Tessie Hartjes, Jan Wouters, Katleen Gabriels and Auke Hoekstra, Innovation Origins tries to figure out what the future will look like. These columnists, occasionally joined by guest bloggers, are all working in their own way on solutions to the problems of our time. So that tomorrow is good. Here are all the previous articles.