Novel Concepts at the Philips Innovation Open Contest
Hundreds of ideas were submitted from which Philips selected three novel products in oral hygiene and skincare.
Consumer electronics behemoth Philips has long understood that great ideas can come from anywhere, not just company employees. It is the driving thought behind ‘Simply Innovate’ the open innovation platform that invites members of the public to collaborate with Philips.
Under the auspices of this initiative the company launched a short competition called ‘The Innovation Open’. It was designed to deliver more product-specific ideas. The product categories included clothing care, coffee, kitchen appliances, oral healthcare, and health and well-being.
Embracing an Open Innovation Culture
For several years now the company has been developing an open innovation culture. Philips hasn't just launched a platform to generate a plethora of ideas; it has been working earnestly and steadfastly to prepare the organization to embrace external innovators.
Philips is a huge and old conglomerate, and the scale of the task shouldn't be underestimated as it changes decade’s old working practices and mind-sets.
In addition to audience-facing initiatives the company pursues open innovation through relationships with academic and industrial partners and European and regional projects.
It also has hi-tech campuses in the Netherlands, India, and China that are enablers of open innovation. These are innovation ecosystems where other tenant companies and institutions cooperate and exchange ideas among themselves and with Philips. They engender an atmosphere of openness.
Above all, Philips is trying to use external and internal resources to capture the most value from ideas.
Hundreds of Ideas
‘The Innovation Open’ drew an enthusiastic response from all over the world. Innovators in more than 45 countries submitted hundreds of ideas, far more than Philips would typically receive in a similar time-frame. They were evaluated by a panel of judges based on the following criteria:
Fitness – how well the solution meets the defined need
Uniqueness – preference was given to entries that are or could be patented
Feasibility – ability for the idea to perform and deliver the expected results
Ten finalists were selected and invited to the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam. There they received a half-day master-class on innovation before pitching their concepts to a panel of Philips executives. From these presentations three overall winners were selected. There are few details about their innovations, but they are:
Top Three Winners
In first place was a team of four industrial design students from Loughborough University in the UK. They were awarded €25,000 ($32,350) for a new approach to oral healthcare that uses ultrasonic technology.
The second place winner of €15,000 ($19, 500) was an engineering student from the University of Warwick in the UK. The idea was a new technology application in an on-the-go skincare device.
Third place was awarded to an independent inventor from Indonesia with a mechanical engineering background. He won €10,000 ($13,000) for a device to remove bacteria from the mouth.
Philips has said that its innovation teams are assessing the future potential of these novel concepts.
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