GE is looking for breakthrough technologies by sponsoring an open innovation contest to attract ideas globally that will address the needs of the next-generation power grid.
General Electric, United States
GE has delved into the open innovation arena, recently launching its Ecomagination Challenge that solicits ideas for new business ventures relating to how to build the next-generation power grid. Anyone over 18 years of age can submit an idea, and the winners will receive $100,000 in cash prizes as well as a slice of $200 million in venture capital offered by its four investment partners.
Submitted ideas are viewable on their website, where anyone can browse, comment and vote on entries.
They are seeking entries in three categories: Renewable Energy, Grid Efficiency and EcoHomes/EcoBuildings.
Although it is a global contest, as of early September, the US has submitted a whopping 966 ideas, followed closely by India and Canada. A total of 72 countries have sent in their ideas.
It's obvious that such contests reap huge benefits for their sponsors, as dozens of companies, such as Netflix, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks and Dell, are leaping on the crowdsourcing bandwagon.
The GE contest will be closed to entries on Sep-30-10 and judges will then scrutinize applicants and their more than 1,000 entries, choosing which businesses they want to invest in.
Entries will be judged on originality, feasibility and impact.
In late October, GE will announce the entries that they will pursue, and in November, will reveal the business deals they have formalized.
The winning entries will be folded into GE's energy business, commercializing their ideas much faster than could be done on their own.
In an interesting twist, GE makes no claim to the intellectual property submitted to the contest, and entrants retain ownership of their submissions.