New Methodology for Ceramics Production

Published Dec-23-09

A new method to produce lightweight white ceramics with high chip resistance.

Wolfgang Schaerfl, Germany

The Story:

New Methodology for Ceramics Production Corona Ceramics, headquartered in Bogota in Columbia has been developing and manufacturing home improvement products for more than 125 years, and is now including open innovation as part of its research and development.

Open Innovation to Improve Success

Corona enjoys enormous success with many product lines, including sanitary wares, faucets, and dinnerware. They can be found in homes all over Columbia and in no fewer than 25 countries. What has kept them at the top of their game for so long is the ability to evolve and improve their products. Their market place is fast-moving, and stagnating is not an option; they have to innovate to survive.

Like many enterprises Corona has been “going it alone” for as long as anyone can remember, but in the continuous pursuit of excellence company bosses realized that for a relatively small investment they could use the talents of people outside their organization.

Search for New Products

So they turned to InnoCentive and posted a challenge that asked potential solvers to help them come up with faster ways of producing better products. Specifically, Corona wanted a method to manufacture white lightweight ceramic tableware with high chip resistance. These types of products are easily damaged in general use as they are prone to chips, cracks, and dents. The Columbian company was seeking formulations that would make use of novel fibers or fillers to create attractive products that would be resistant to general wear and tear. And for this open innovation challenge the company was willing to offer $20,000.

Popular Challenge

Many potential solvers logged on to peruse the challenge and dozens sent in their sketches, formulas, and ideas. It was eventually won by Wolfgang Schaerfl from Germany. Both the seeker and the solver are keeping the prize-winning solution a secret, but Corona is more than happy with this particular excursion into open innovation.

The ceramics company is now using the technology to create products that it believes consumers all over the world will love. And they hope it will help them to steal a march over their competitors.

Open Innovation Problem Solving

By using open innovation Corona found a solution to a problem that it was unable to crack. The company knew that it was solvable and came to the conclusion that someone outside of their headquarters might have the answer. Or if potential solvers didn't already know the solution they might be able to find it if the question and challenge were framed in the right way.

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