Black, with milk, some sugar would be a normal answer of course…I drink it black, but that is not the question here. As an innovation champion, how do you drink your coffee socially? With others I mean. Do you drink coffee with others to achieve a goal or are you an unselfish drinker to help. Or in the words of Adam Grant, are you a giver, taker or a matcher?

A taker drinks his or her coffee with others to get as much out of it as possible, whereas the matcher will always try to balance the favours. The giver however is a special kind of breed, he or she doesn’t expect anything in return. And so it turns out, that in these days of open innovation these givers can become quite successful.

“And in the end,

The love you make,

Is equal to the love,

You take”

~ The end by The Beatles ~

Although I have the feeling I am more of a matcher, this summer I am challenging myself to give more, and expect nothing in return; Connect people, share ideas and learnings….and I must say, this unselfish coffee tastes well. I have spoken to so many cool innovative people ranging from Jeroen Mulder, Bart van de Ven @Café Bepp, Michel van Leuven @Nationale Nederlanden, Marie-José van den Boomgaard @KPN and many more. A personal thanks to these givers! So I would like to challenge you this summer to drink your coffee like a true giver and join one of the many of cool places around to meet others for new connections and ideas. But most of all to give! To get you started, let me give you 3 tips:

1. Join an Innovation Meetup
Check and find a meetup with a topic that interests you. Last week I found myself at my first meetup with the Dutch lean startup circle in Eindhoven. On the menu was a serious game centered around the Lean Start-up method, hosted by Otto Freijser (Playing lean). A cool game to teach your corporate colleagues about lean start-up and have a good time.

2. Visit the VenCaf, Rotterdam
Another cool place is the VenCaf, Venture Café Rotterdam. Every Thursday we get together with about 200 people to talk about interesting topics ranging from corporates working with start-ups, design thinking and innovation. Join us sometime! Note, I say we … even though I have no official connection with the VenCaf, it just feels like a welcoming place where we innovation champions can come together. Thanks to, among others Katja Berkhout and Lennart van der Ziel!

3. Create your own coffee moments
Sometimes it is best to create your own coffee moments. So 2 weeks ago I joined a new group of several innovation passionista’s initiated by Marie-José van den Boomgaard from KPN, including innovation gurus from IBM, Nuon, Engie and DAS. In an open session we exchanged our experiences concerning Start-ups and corporate innovation, with many cool learnings to share (read corporates working with startups exchange experience), to be continued on the 8th of September. And guess what, we’re opening our network to give other proven corporates passionate about Startups and Innovation the chance to join in as well, so let us know!

So there it is, this summer I drink my coffee black, open and willing to give. How about you?

PS. Want to read more about giving and taking in business?
Check out: Give and Take: Why helping others drivers our success by Adam Grant (see
PS2. Yes, the photo was created with Prisma, check out the app!