Chemical Giants Discovers Novel Battery Technology Ideas with Open Innovation

Published Sep-06-19

New ways to increase battery performance and other winning ideas at a global open innovation competition.

LG Chem, South Korea

The Story:

Chemical Giants Discovers Novel Battery Technology Ideas with Open Innovation South Korean chemical company LG Chem has been actively pursuing an open innovation strategy in recent years, reaching out to start-ups and innovators across the world for new technologies to help keep it at the forefront of the battery business.

In 2018, the largest Korean chemical company decided to host its first ever Global Innovation Contest (GIC) inviting universities and research institutions to submit proposals for innovative battery technology ideas through its official website.

“Because of the exponential development of the battery sector, continuing to seek out new technology initiatives is crucial to our success,” said Myung Hwan Kim, president of LG Chem. “We will keep expanding our efforts to strengthen the competitiveness of our battery technology through activities inspired by the company's open innovation policy.”

Innovative Ideas

A total of 129 applications were submitted from teams hailing from 27 countries. They were assessed by internal experts who invited seven teams to a pitch day at LG Magok Science Park. Each team presented their proposals and business plans for commercialization. Among the ideas were improved lithium metal battery solutions, different routes to enhance processing and quality and ways to increase battery performance via BMS (Battery Management System).

The judges selected five teams as winners, awarding them up to $150,000 each and inviting them to nurture their next-level technologies via joint research projects alongside LG Chem.

Meanwhile, LG Chem plans to keep in close touch with the other 124 teams that did not make the top five spots and offer them support such as technological evaluation and possible future investment.

Benefits of Open Innovation Partnerships

Open innovation is about creating win-win partnerships. The benefits are not just on the side of the large companies. It's not about them appropriating value, it's about providing benefits for all parties involved.

One of the most crucial benefits for big outfits such as LG Chem is access to talent. The next big idea or the winning new technologies they need may not necessarily be in one of their employee's heads. They could be in the kitchen or back room of some small start-up somewhere else in the world. Also, big companies with their departments and bureaucratic processes are often slow-moving beasts and getting an original idea to market can feel as slow as wading through molasses. Working with a smaller partner can accelerate timescales.

For start-ups and other smaller enterprises with brilliant ideas, entering into an open innovation partnership can provide them with the funds and facilities they need to properly develop their innovation and get it to market swiftly. They often lack the resources to get their concepts off the ground as quickly as they would like.

Due to the success of their first global open innovation contest, LG Chem decided to hold a second one in 2019.

“We will continue to pursue open innovation, and we will link it with the start-up of technology-based public offerings,” added LG Chem vice-president Jin-Nyoung Yoo.

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