Maarten van den Heuvel
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Maarten van den Heuvel. After working as a strategy consultant for a few years, I’ve recently started my own company, called Ideation Kings. Within this holding I’ve started a few ventures together with my business partner Tim Gouw.
Most importantly we’ve founded Weekly Innovation in which we help corporates innovate by translating trends and ideas into a viable product concept within one week. Besides that we’ve started a global start-up platform called Founded X (and our Dutch edition: Founded in Holland), that is on a quest to uncover local start-up scenes worldwide. Last but not least is our own app start-up named Feli. It helps you to find the perfect gift for your friends – Tinder-style.
It’s in fact a collection of ideas and side-projects that we’re working on and bringing to market at maximum pace.
Where were you when the idea for Go Weekly came to you?
Tim and I first started working on a side project, while we were still employed. We crowdfunded a Dutch bookstore chain that was on the verge of bankruptcy.
After that we decided to investigate the possibilities for us to work together on a more frequent basis. Ultimately that became Go Weekly (for corporate clients) and Ideation Kings (for our side projects).
Tell us a bit about your team and company culture?
We’re just the two of us in our core team. However, for certain short and long-term projects we choose to add more people to the team. Most often due to the need for specific skills.
How do you craft your identity?
We’ve worked in the strategy consultancy business for years. That’s all about long-term, vague and expensive projects. We decided to take another approach. When you hire us you know how long we’ll be there (one week), what it will cost and what we will leave behind. It’s a clear approach that helps clients to understand what they can expect. It’s better for all parties involved.
What motivates you?
Working on new projects, on stuff that hasn’t been done before. Combining insights with new business models, helping clients reach the next phase in innovation. It’s very exciting to work in an environment that’s changing every day and exploiting all new developments that come with it.
What skill / quality do you value the most?
Being able to visualize and conceptualize new projects very fast. For us, at Go Weekly, we have to get to the core of a client’s problem within hours. That makes it essential to get a grip on the issue at hand as fast as possible.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken? What was your process in making your decision?
During our first year, we decided to allocate almost half of our time to side projects. That’s actually quite risky for your operational cash flow but we managed to pull it off. We wanted to practice what we preached and try our own process for ourselves as well. That has worked out great for us. Besides 20 clients, we have been able to set up and run over 10 side projects and I have actually written an article about this.
What do you do in your free-time to decompress?
I’m a big fan of movies and I love to travel and hang out with friends. I try to read up on my field whenever possible. Learning is not something you do once, but it’s a continuous process that’s vital for anyone to move forward.
What is something you’ve had to learn on your own that you’d like to pass onto the next Creative?
Enjoy yourself! It’s not all about the money. Paid projects are great. But try to challenge yourself to work on side projects as well and have fun.
What forms of media have influenced you the most?
I am a big movies fan but I’m not sure if that’s my biggest inspiration. My main source for the latest in my field are the people that I follow on Twitter. Those are carefully selected and make for an excellent creation – they do the work for me. Not only articles but also interesting new products, trends, videos, start-ups…anything really. I’m a big digital consumer.
What hardware / software do you use?
I tend to work a lot with rapid prototyping (Keynote, Photoshop and Marvel), short concept presentations (Keynote) and basic websites (Bootstrap and WordPress). I use my MacBook to create those.
What would be your dream creative setup?
I can work from anywhere. Most important thing is that it’s constantly changing. Never at the same location for more than a few days. Different environments keep you sharp and fresh.