Construction Giant Engages with Open Innovation to Innovative Start-Up Partners
A smart reusable shopping bag that rewards eco-conscious shoppers and lets them plant trees.
To encourage innovation in the construction sector and to create profitable partnerships with other companies, Spanish multinational construction company Ferrovial hosts Build Up! This annual open innovation initiative is a global search for start-ups, research groups and entrepreneurs to help it solve infrastructure challenges.
"At Ferrovial Airports, we love working with start-ups," said Gonzalo Velasco, portfolio management director, Ferrovial Airports. "Start-ups bring to use fresh ideas, and they also bring agile processes that help us address our challenges that we face."
The second edition of Build Up took place in 2018 and sought novel ideas to drastically reduce the use of LAG (Liquid, Aerosols and Gases) bags in airports. These are the bags in which passengers place their liquids when they fly with carry-on luggage. The open innovation competition's principal aim was to reduce the environmental impact of these bags.
According to the Centre of Excellence for Sustainability at Heathrow Airport, which proposed the challenge, the number of bags used every year is higher than the number of passengers passing through the transport hub.
The contest received 24 submissions, and these were whittled down to five finalists who were invited to pitch their ideas in person at the Launch Day. After making their 10-minute presentations, teams were questioned for five minutes by the Decision Committee.
The winner was a start-up from Austria for their goodbag innovation, a smart reusable shopping bag that aims to incentivize passengers to act more sustainable through gamification. All goodbags are produced from high-quality organic cotton, and each one is embedded with a near-field communication (NFC) chip. Then with the free goodbag app users can study the interactive map to find participating stores.
When consumers shop with a goodbag in one of these locations, they have a choice of receiving discounts or coupons for collecting plastic waste or planting trees when they spend a minimum amount. Coupons appear in the app, and when a shopper places their phone onto the goodbag's logo, the coupon is redeemed. At the time of writing this article in October 2019, 14,720 trees have been planted in this way.
"As a start-up company, we're working on innovative solutions to really create an impact," commented Goodbag CEO Christoph Hantschk. "With a partner like Ferrovial who is a center of excellence for bringing innovative solutions to the market, we can really benefit from getting access to the market and on the network with the big corporations to really create meaningful and impactful solutions together that make the world better tomorrow."
Following their win at the Ferrovial open innovation challenge, the company took part in a pilot project at Heathrow. That concluded with Britain's busiest airport being acquired as a partner. By the end of 2019, the company expects that at least 1,000 stores will be part of its network.
Next Story »