Open Innovation Talent Search Finds Novel Social Platform

Published Apr-03-17

A civic engagement tool to inspire good deeds.

NTT Data, Japan

The Story:

Open Innovation Talent Search Finds Novel Social Platform A subheading of NTT DATA's global Open Innovation Business Contest 5.0 was 'Let's innovate together, the solutions nobody has imagined'. It neatly summed up two of the hallmarks of open innovation - namely collaboration (great minds working together) and that brilliant and sometimes surprising ideas can come from anywhere.

Global Open Innovation Search

The Japanese headquartered IT-service provider launched the competition to find hi-tech start-up companies that it could work with on innovative business ideas. It was a search to find talent and ideas outside its four walls that it might not otherwise come into contact with.

"This year’s contest was especially successful in creating opportunities for NTT DATA to come into contact with more than 200 innovative startup companies, as well as form deeper relationships with accelerators operating as regional partners in innovation hubs worldwide," said Kotaro Zamma, Head of NTT DATA’s Open Innovation and Business Incubation.

Participants were asked to submit novel concepts that use NTT DATA's existing services and solutions and that would be attractive to the company's clients.

The open innovation contest drew a healthy response with more than 200 submissions from over 20 countries. The route to winning involved several stages, including screening by written entry exam and interview and regional contests in ten cities. One winner from each of these was invited to pitch their idea at the Grand Finale in Tokyo on March 15, 2017.

Social Coin

The overall winner was Barcelona-based Social Coin for a civic engagement platform based on deep learning that helps citizens solve civic issues and rewards their good deeds. The idea is to inspire people to take actions that have a positive impact on their environment.

How it works is that an individual enters Social Coin's 'True Social Network' app to activate their social coin. Then they perform an act of kindness and give the coin to the receiver who is then encouraged to pay it forward. In this way a 'kindness chain' is established.

Kindness givers are encouraged to share their stories filling the chain with incredible and inspirational tales. At the end of the chain the coin (which contains a seed) is planted. There are also social coins for businesses to promote happiness and measure engagement of employees and a dashboard for governments that provides insights into its citizens concerns.

Next Steps

Useful knowledge is spread throughout the world and isn’t just the province of a company’s R&D experts. Like many organizations, NTT DATA realizes it doesn't have to go it alone and is planning to host two open innovation business contests each year. In the immediate future, it is providing Social Coin with $30,000 worth of support to develop its proposed new business.

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