Working towards 0 diseases

Noorderwind’s Periodic Table of Transition — Health & Well-being

Sanne Mylonas
Jun 30, 2019 · 6 min read

Many know us as nature lovers and as climate change battlers. Both professionally and personally. We hide out in the nature during our weekends and our holidays, in our tents, on our (sailing)boats and on our bikes. We grow our own herbs, fruits and veggies in our urban gardens, plant flowers to keep the bee population growing and plant trees for each day we work for our clients. Even our name reflects our love for nature: Noorderwind, referring to the Northern wind direction.

After sharing several of our climate change battling projects in our blog on Smart Energy Systems and our blog on Living with Water it’s time to show you a different side of us. A side which feels very close to home for many people: Health & Well-being.

Coming from doctor’s families and having first hand experience with severe diseases we decided to add Health & Well-being to our Periodic Table of Transition. After all, when we’re taking care of our Planet it’s only fair to simultaneously take care of its People.

Working towards 0 diseases

Within the element of Health & Well-being we decided to focus on three areas:

  • The health and rescue system
  • The treatment of diseases
  • The recovery phase after treatment

The first area: health and rescue systems covers the current way the health system works (in the Netherlands), from insurances to hospitalization. It also covers the rescue procedure of those in need. We work on initiatives that look into how it currently works and how it can be innovated and improved.

The area of treatment covers the phase which a patient goes through for its treatment. You can think of innovations in patient care, in finding different treatment methods, in developing new products and services used throughout the treatments. All contributing to a faster recovery or even prevention of diseases.

The last phase, but in our eyes very important phase, is when the patient is not necessarily seen as a patient anymore. He or she has been treated, cured and can now continue with normal life. But the recovery phase after treatment can be long and in some cases very harsh. So this is a phase that we don’t want to forget and we want to make as comfortable and short as possible.

Ok so now you know what we mean with these areas, but how do we actually contribute to the improvement within these areas? Let me explain this by sharing some open innovation initiatives we have facilitated in the past few years.

Our open innovation initiatives

As you know we run open innovations initiatives in different shapes and forms, depending on the request of our partners. Within Health & Well-being we have worked closely with several partners these past years in open innovation teams, in internal accelerators but also during workshops.

One of our first open innovation teams that focused on the health and rescue system was AMBUSuite. The question that the team members of Navara and the Saint Radboud Medical Center and ourselves wanted to answer was: “How might we link the IT systems of the ambulance and the emergency room of hospitals, to ensure optimal care and knowledge of the patient arriving at the hospitals?” Without getting into all the details one major issue was that, up until then, the handover process from the ambulance to the first aids at the hospital was not digitized which meant that only little preparation could be done before the arrival of the patient. We focussed on the market research and development of the software, improving the overall user experience and validating the application according to wishes, interests and legal frameworks of all stakeholders.

When we kicked off a new cycle of our Engineering Entrepreneurship minor at the Inholland University of Delft this fall, we had no idea that we would coach some real life savers. But we did! The student team of Trienos looked into possibilities to shorten the time needed for search and rescue missions on the water. They developed and tested an unmanned robot that can be used by divers in their search and rescue missions trying to locate people lost in water.

With regard to the treatment of diseases, we are currently working on two very interesting projects. One concerns an open innovation team that tackles the growing threat of antibiotic multi-resistant microorganisms. Antibiotics resistance is high on the international agenda. Alternative anti-microbial innovations are needed to ward off this health crisis. Within this team of doctors and researchers we are researching whether the usage of bacteriophages in wound prevention could offer a solution and how it could become a viable business case. We are in the middle of this validation process and will present our results in October of this year!

The second project is the MERINO app, a collaboration of ConnectCare Services, the Antonie van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, the Movement Group and ourselves. The MERINO app aims to support patients going through cancer treatments and their surrounding family and friends. After a validation phase in which we zoomed into the value of an app for all parties we created the content and look and feel of the app. The main focus of the app is providing updates, both practical ones as well as personal ones. The app is now being tested by a group of (ex)patients and their surrounding family and friends to validate how they use the app.

One of our latest startups we support is Luuno, who focus on the recovery phase of a patient. More specifically, they focus on young children who are recovering from cancer treatment. Their product Fizzy, is a specially designed ball that helps children move and improve their motorics which is essential for a faster recovery after cancer treatment. Throughout their research and development they discovered that their product is also of great value to physically handicapped children and their ambition has been recognized by the Philips Innovation Award who gave them the stage in the Rough Diamond Category to pitch for a jury of business experts. We are working with the team on their business case development and have plans to start a validation phase with them.

Wanna join us in our battle?

Here you have it. Our overview on how we are battle the Health & Well-being issues in order to create a better tomorrow. Not only for our planet but also for our people. We are curious to hear your stories on this element of our Periodic Table of Transition. So are you thinking of building a Health & Well-being innovation? Feel free to contact us to see how we can start it together.


Noorderwind. Building a circular society together.