Open Innovation : Multidisciplinary approach

Published Apr-23-10

Innovation model in academia for new product development

Philips Eletronics India Ltd, Manipal University, India

The Story:

Open Innovation : Multidisciplinary approach Manipal University is a name to remember, not just across the length and breadth of India, but worldwide. The fact that students from 52 countries are studying here is a testimony to this fame. Fired by the desire to provide health care and other essential services to the people of this region, Dr TMA Pai transformed the plateau into what it now is. He turned the wilderness into a sanctuary of education.

Located on the west coast of South India, Manipal was a barren wasteland, a plateau with wild animals. It was this plateau that Dr TMA Pai decided to change. His vision for Manipal covered a wide spectrum of interests because he himself donned many hats.

Then in 1993, MAHE was accorded a deemed university status under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956, by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Today, it has 20 constituent institutions comprising medical, dental, engineering, architecture, nursing, allied health, pharmacy, management, communication, information science, hotel management, biotechnology, regenerative medicine etc.

The university offers Bachelors’, Masters’ and Doctoral degrees in various specialties.
The University provides excellent educational facilities to over 17,000 students in its constituent colleges. It also has an active alumni base of over 65,000 students across the world.

With all the experience gained from producing several thousands of graduates, backed by experienced faculty, excellent academic and clinical facilities, Manipal University boasts of an educational environment with a touch of world class.

Manipal University is providing the finest infrastructure and facilities to its students for learning and research. In fact some of the facilities, like the Innovation Centre, have served as a valuable ‘incubation centre’ for industry and research. The state-of-the art innovation centre bridges the gap between university and industries for industrial academic research.

Open innovation Approach:

Over the past three years, Manipal University and Philips have been working together to acquire a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities in addressing the emerging consumer, earlier known as Base of the Pyramid. A chair was setup at Manipal University to promote- Idea Generation, Concept Development, Research, Community Development, Rural Linkages and Student Exchange programmes.

This partnership started with more funding of projects at Manipal University. This attempt has now matured to include ideation, market data collection and prototyping of ideas into proofs of concepts.

Philips brought to the table the industry perspective on commercialization of ideas, concepts on IP generation, infrastructure and access to the best talent within the company. In turn Manipal University contributed diversity of disciplines that is unique to a well-grown University. We have experts from technical, managerial, life science and healthcare sitting around the same table creating ideas and solutions for the prospective consumers.

Both Philips and Manipal University have shared this experience with other likeminded parties from industries, the academia, NGOs and Government Organisations. The ambition is to create an ecosystem built around ‘ Open Innovation’ that will ultimately meet the aspirations of emerging consumers. This has resulted in the collaboration with other organizations such as MS Swaminathan Research Foundation ( MSSRF), kTwo Technology Solutions, Intel, Electrocare Systems and Perfint Health care Solutions, Nokia Research, Intellectual Ventures etc. in this program.

The Innovation platform at Manipal

Avishkara (Idea Generation): The broader theme for the awareness session is development of cost effective solutions and services for emerging consumer segment.

Over a period of time Manipal BOP has developed a platform which helps Idea Generation, Submission, Evaluation and shortlisting of the ideas. It has also built a cross disciplinary team consisting of students and staff from various disciplines such as science, engineering and Management groups. So far approximately 220 ideas in the areas of healthcare, lifestyle, education, energy, nutrition, community development have been selected for the processing. Each one is a new business idea and can be translated into a product or service.

Ankura (Proof of Concept): The purpose of this exercise is to develop ‘Proof of Concept’ through knowledge integration. The concept development project activities are carried out in ‘multi-disciplinary customer centric innovation’ with student interns sponsored by industry. The tasks are mainly concept enrichment's based on a User Need Analysis, Technology development and Patent and Design. Under this program, nearly 20 concepts have been developed through multi-disciplinary teams comprising medical, technology and management teams.

Arpana (Market Analysis and BOP knowledge development): The basic idea behind this program is understanding the pulse of BOP community and providing the solutions at the grassroots level. Various projects are undertaken to carryout the following:
• User research study for designing the solutions for BOP
• Market analysis to understand the felt needs at the grassroot level
• Process model for Local development of the products
• Development of BOP knowledge base.

As a result of the above program, more than 40 studies have taken place to identify market trends, 15 user research studies for designing products for BOP consumers, enabling IT for Manipal Rural health care delivery model, publication of Book on BOP integrated approach and knowledge portal.

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Next Story »Article by: Manjunatha Maiya (Philips), Prof Harishchandra Hebbar (Manipal)

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