Open Innovation Search for Disruptive Technologies

Published Jan-02-17

A global open innovation contest yields three potentially disruptive digital solutions, including drone security platforms.

Cisco Systems, United States

The Story:

Open Innovation Search for Disruptive Technologies The phrase "disruptive innovation" was coined by business consultant and author Clayton M. Christensen and examined in his book ‘The Innovator's Dilemma’. It describes an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network.

The innovation landscape is a dynamic place that moves quickly, and for companies of all sizes innovation is a prerequisite for survival. Most innovations are small improvements on existing products and technologies, while disruptive innovations of the kind that shake up markets and industries are less common by their very nature.

One way that organizations can inspire disruptive innovation is through open innovation competitions that encourage, capture and promote brilliant new ideas.

Cisco Grand Challenges

Cisco's Innovation Grand Challenge 2016 aimed to do just that. This was the third such challenge organized by the American multinational technology conglomerate and it called on innovators from all over the world to submit their disruptive digital solutions. Up for grabs was a share of a $250,000 prize pot as well as development support and mentoring.

"At Cisco, we know that disruptive innovation can come from anyone, anywhere! So, we’re looking high and low, wide and far," wrote Cisco executive Alex Goryachev on a company blog.

There were more than 5,700 entries from around 160 countries that were submitted to the eight challenge categories, which included smart cities, cybersecurity, education and healthcare. This was almost a twofold increase in the number of submissions for the previous year’s contest.

The ideas were pored over by a panel of more than 100 judges, experts from inside and outside Cisco. They narrowed the submissions down to 15 semi-finalists who competed to be one of the six finalists. Those that made it through to the final stage participated in a live pitch event which resulted in the selection of three winners. They were:

The $150,000 first place winner was Streamroot from France for a centralized video optimization network that improves speed, quality of service and global reach.

In second place was Gestoos from Spain picking up a check for £75,000 for a "brains behind the eyes" camera technology. This uses artificial intelligence, Gestural Interaction, IoT and Multimodal locations to see and understand people's behaviors, movements and gestures in any environment.

Dedrone from the United States was the third place $25,000 winner for an automated, 3D aerial security platform that identifies unauthorized drones, protects critical installations and ensures safe drone usage.

"Our three winners rose to the top because of their unique potential to change the game in key industry markets," said Helder Antunes, Cisco’s senior director of corporate development technology.

Big Opportunities

For Cisco, the open innovation contest is a great way to meet new talent and forge new relationships. For participants, there's potential access to world-class mentorship and opportunities to find new partners and investors to speed up the time to market.

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