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Philips, the global electronics company, has quietly been practicing open innovation through its ongoing ‘SimplyInnovate’ platform. To attract more product-specific ideas, Philips also launched the aptly-named ‘Innovation Open’ contest earlier this month.
The initiative is meant to complement Philips' own extensive research and development activities, said Open Innovation Senior Program Manager Laura Erickson.
The contest, which is ending on Sunday, is looking for ideas in the following product categories: clothing care, coffee, female beauty, kitchen appliances, male personal care, oral healthcare, parenting, and health and wellbeing. Anybody over 18 can submit a proposal.
One of the biggest differences between Simply Innovate and Innovation Open initiatives is the reward. While the former offers no specific prize, the owners of the ten best Innovation Open ideas will be invited to present their submissions at the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam. The top three ideas will receive monetary compensation – €25,000 ($32,350) for first place, €15,000 ($19,500) for second, and €10,000 ($13,000) for third.
Erickson told Crowdsourcing.org that the company decided to add prizes to create an incentive to people to participate. Though, of course, the ultimate prize for any tinkerer is to have his or her idea brought to market, which is possible through both SimplyInnovate and Innovatino open.
While Erickson pointed out that the number of submissions to the Innovation Open platform has exceeded what SimplyInnovate would normally get in the same time period, she is hesitant to attribute that to the monetary prize alone. She says the company has been doing more social media outreach and was broadcasting the challenge to universities, which also likely contributed to the enthusiastic response.
Product categories’ R&D and intellectual property teams will judge the initial submissions. The finalists who make it to Amsterdam will have to impress company executives in order to have a chance at the monetary prizes. In winning ideas, Erickson said Philips looks for fit with the challenge as defined, as well as uniqueness and feasibility.
Unlike some of the other open innovation initiatives we’ve covered in the past, Philips is not letting the crowd review submissions. While Erickson said that there is an argument to be made for ideas improving with a community’s input, the company decided that it’s better to have more detailed ideas that can emerge when inventors don’t have to fear that their proposals may be borrowed by less honest inventors.
So far, Philips has been encouraged by the number of submissions – and Erickson is hopeful the initiative will be back next year.
For more on open innovation, click here. The article was amended on Saturday, October 27 as Erickson did not wish to be quoted directly.