Open innovation: It works!
What is the one defining reason why we truly believe in open innovation? Because it works. Already DSM has been involved in several innovation outreach projects - with very positive responses.
In one instance we overcome a serious technological barrier in developing a specialty resin thanks to some help from our friends; in another, we redefined and realigned our thoughts about sustainability; in another we unwittingly encouraged a group of potential new application partners. These are just three stories. We’re sure there will be more.
The curious case of e-850
When DSM hit a dead end in the search for a simple solution to a particularly ‘sticky’ challenge we decided to appeal to scientists both inside and outside the organization.
A resin that our scientists developed (which we christened XXXXX e-850) was consistently getting delaminated whenever a waterborne lacquer was applied to it – and despite all efforts, no easy answer could been found.
A combination of Yammer and Twitter linked to a Slideshare presentation - achieved the desired result. Five people collaborated to solve the problem – including a professor from the Institute of Materials and Process Engineering in Switzerland; and a technician in resins from Arizona Chemicals in the Netherlands.
The result: Problem solved for DSM – and our customers (and a big thanks to everyone who helped).
The Dutch Design Week
Is the whole green revolution just a marketing ploy to get premium prices and keep developing economies at bay?
As a large company it’s very easy to get drawn into your own language, thoughts and ideas. Which is why as part of our open innovation strategy DSM decided last year to host a lively ‘green’ debate at the Dutch Design Week.
It’s no secret that sustainability is high on DSM’s agenda, with our portfolio of bio-plastics, bio-fuels, biomedical materials and biopharmaceuticals.
But as we discovered, understanding the technology, science and engineering is only half the battle. The event elicited some extremely interesting feedback – all of which will help with the development and positioning of our green product portfolio. For example:
- Be open: “Companies should mention the bad things in their products, not just the positive”
- Meet real people’s needs: “Make green products that people want, not just because you can”
- Educate: A plastic shoe could be greener than a leather one. But how many people know that?
- Does green really make a difference? “Is it just a marketing trick to make more money?”
It’s good to share.
Now there are many more professionals working in the green disciplines who are aware of our materials and outlook. And just as importantly…we’re now aware of theirs too…
Sometimes open innovation is a ‘happy accident’.
This was certainly the case with Stanyl Diablo, an advanced thermoplastic now being used to make components for next-generation, turbo engines. These smaller turbo engines are far more environmentally friendly, but they are also very hot indeed. In fact Stanyl Diablo can withstand more than 3,000 hours at temperatures of 230°C.
To publicise and create a buzz around this unique material we created a downloadable Stanyl Diablo presentation as part of a digital campaign and asked all those who viewed it to provide some very basic information upon registration.
We were surprised (and delighted) to discover that three or four connector manufacturers – not our original target audience - had found and downloaded it!
What have we learned from this? Happy accidents like this only happen if you are willing and able to reach out and make the effort in the first place (hence this website).