Tomorrow is Good: Realising Dreams


Door Maarten Steinbuch
Leestijd ± 3 minuten
  • 5 November 2017

In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer, and Tessie Hartjes, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All four contributors – sometimes accompanied by guest bloggers – are working on technologies that can provide solutions to the problems of our time. This Sunday, it‘s Maarten Steinbuch’s turn. Here are all the previously published columns.

I have just returned from a week in India. The first week as a part-time entrepreneur! We visited hospitals, walked between many patients, spoke with surgeons, gave lectures and listened to a lot of people. And experienced India. A special country with special people. What you feel is an honest respect for each other, and real contact. They look at you directly, I had to get used to it a little bit. I understand the students from India who are studying at our university a bit better now.

But why was I in India? My dream, my goal as an entrepreneur: in 10 years’ time, a company with 1000+ employees. Design, manufacture, and sale of robotics for surgeons. Most of its employees working in our Brainport region. Because high precision mechatronics belongs right here. The Dutch market is good as a home market, and the European market is of course also interesting. But the scale we need is only really reachable in India. With 1.3 billion people, twice the size of Europe. With too few doctors and a great need for better health care.

It was a good visit, with lots of opportunities for collaboration, with top doctors doing an unprecedented number of operations, very specialised and with the most modern technological tools. An ideal market to scale up with our robotic solutions.

Some conversations were more philosophical. I found out a lot about the book about three laws of the performance of human action: The Three Laws of Performance. In short, the environment and your past determine which events now affect your actions, and you can determine your own future by determining what you want to achieve with a long-term view, your dream. And that will then influence your actions in the present. In my engineering jargon of control technology: your current state is determined by the influences of the past and the outside world, your performance is your ‘output’ and your future is your setpoint, your desired value. The error signal, the difference between your future goal and your current performance, determines your control action. The greater the error, the stronger the action. So the bigger your dream, the more you will have to do your best to make it a reality!

You can also see this thinking in big dreams in the book Exponential Organizations with the Massive Transformation Purpose. Setting a future, big goal and then inventing, for instance, the new Facebook or Amazon. Elon Musk does this with electric driving, his Mars mission, his tunnels and batteries for the energy transition. Lex and Tessie (Lightyear) do this with their solar-powered family car; Steven (Amber Mobility) does so for the new driving. And we do that with the surgical robots. From the Brainport region, in India. To be continued!