Open Innovation Approach to keep Track of Anything

Published Jul-03-12

An emergency triangle, a pizza cutter and an innovative parking disc win an M2M open innovation contest that sought ideas for tracking anything – people, objects and animals.

Deloitte, Deutsche Telekom, HYVE and RWTH Aachen University, Germany

The Story:

Open Innovation Approach to keep Track of Anything M2M (machine to machine communications) is considered to be an emerging field where state-of-the-art communications technology allows devices to communicate with each other. As such it is ripe for open innovation to generate breakthrough ideas. The technology can help you find and follow nearly every conceivable object or entity on the planet.

It can be a boon to our daily lives. How many times have you lost your keys or put an object down and then spent ages trying to track them down. The technology to make these frustrating moments a thing of the past exists right now; all that's needed are more applications.

So in spring 2012 a consortium of four partners, Deloitte, Deutsche Telekom, HYVE and RWTH Aachen University launched the Find & Follow competition on the ideabird online innovation platform for novel M2M ideas and concepts.

Crowdsourcing for Results

It was felt the crowdsourcing approach would yield the most exciting and innovative results as not only would it attract a diverse pool of brainpower, but as is typical with this innovation model, messages, discussions and rating of ideas will help to guide the conversations and novel approaches.

Participants were invited to submit their ideas for products and applications in any of the competition categories. These were:

• Home and Family
• Animals
• Outdoor and Sports
• Fun and Play
• Healthcare and Well-being
• Safety and Security
• Work and Travel
• Public Outings and Events
• Production and Logistics
• Nature and Environment

Take up far exceeded the organizers’ expectations with 770 creatives from more than 90 countries taking part. Overall, 626 ideas were submitted and they generated a total of 4,632 comments. The most ideas were submitted from Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Germany and the U.S.

Winners Awarded

The jury awarded the first prize and a check for $5,000 to an emergency triangle idea. It incorporates chip technology that alerts other drivers on the road of the upcoming hazards. According to the open innovation contest’s jury, “The Emergency Triangle convinced us because it is a unique and innovative idea with the goal of increasing safety on the streets. It's a typical product, which everybody knows, and at the same time the idea offers a new and very concrete benefit that only becomes possible through M2M”.

The second prize and a check for $3,000 was for a proposal for a parking disc that is controlled by remote control or smartphone and sends the user an SMS message when parking time is about to elapse. This should give them enough time to get back to their car and top up the parking meter.

“The Remote Parking Disk is the most innovative gimmick we have seen in the contest,” read the jury statement. “It provides great help in our everyday life, fits perfectly to the contest and inspires many other applications”.

There were two prizes for third place:

1) A pizza tracker that allows customers to track the status of their orders online so they know exactly when their pizza is going to be delivered.

2) An idea to modernize the children’s game of Hide and Seek. It uses bracelets/receivers that can send and receive location signals.

Going Forward

In addition to the prize money, the winners were invited to present their ideas and discuss them in more detail with managers from the contest partners. And participants who were not awarded prizes, but nonetheless caught the jury’s attention and those who were greatly involved in the discussions were invited to an exclusive innovation workshop to follow through their ideas.

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