Mind-Blowing Ideas from Open Innovation

Published Feb-14-12

Breakthrough:
A start-up company adopts an open innovation approach to generate ideas for a patented technology it had developed.

Company:
Zyxsio, United States

The Story:

Mind-Blowing Ideas from Open Innovation When Zyxio, a start-up human media interaction company developed a new breath control technology it asked the crowd for ideas on how the innovation could be used.

Their patented technology is called SensaWaft and it’s a breath control microchip that allows users to control digital platforms simply through breathing and can be inserted into a number of products. For example, users can control a mouse pointer on the screen by blowing. How hard the person blows as well as changes in the direction are converted into commands.

Using Open Innovation to Search for the Next Big Idea

There’s a limitless variety of products that could use this technology and with that in mind the ‘Be a Mind Blower’ competition was a call for inspiration, ideas and input. It went out to anyone legally authorized to work in the United States.

All the applicants had to do was submit their ideas on line in one of five categories: PC/laptops/netbooks, games/multimedia/entertainment, assistive/multimodal/virtual reality, smartphones/in-vehitcle/enterprise and digital music/graphic design. Applications could enable new interaction methods or replace or complement existing ones.

“We believe that involving users in the development process of our future products is of utmost importance as they will be the ones incorporating our unique touchless technology into their everyday lives,” said Pierre Bonnat co-founder, Zyxio

Incentivizing Mass Participation

Even those who may not have had ideas themselves were encouraged to take part in the public voting process. Zyxio stated that it believed the best ideas should be decided by the public, and not by a small group of corporate executives.

Submissions were rated on a five-point scale from “Are you out of your mind?” (1 point) to “Genius, I say yes!” (5 points). By way of encouragement every person who voted was entered into a draw for two hi-tech prizes; a netbook and a droid phone.

Innovative Ideas

Ideas came in from all over the world during the five week submission period after which time the applications were narrowed down to the top 25. These then went forward to the final round of voting. To curry favour with the public the finalists were given the opportunity to promote their ideas on the ‘Be a Mind Blower’ website using social media, blogs and videos.

“We are excited about the range of ideas we received through the Be a Mind Blower competition,” added Pierre Bonnat. “We turned to the public to provide us with their insight on how this technology could be used and are thrilled with the results.”

High-Scoring Winners

The top five winning ideas with the highest point score were:

• To enhance game immersion for first person shooter video games
• Applying SensaWaft technology to e-books, allowing users to flip and
zoom pages touch-free
• To give musicians and singers control over sounds and other effects
hands-free while performing live on stage
• To better monitor meditation techniques with biofeedback
• To develop new digital brushes using SensaWaft technology to allow
artists to express themselves differently

Each winner received a check for $6,000 for their idea, a trip to Las Vegas and they sat on Zyxio’s “Mind Blowing” Advisory Board for six months to help the company develop these new ideas.

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