What Philips wants from open innovation and crowdsourcing

GregSebaskyThe Dutch lighting and healthcare giant Royal Philips is embarking on “one of the first attempts by a large company to do open innovation,” in the words of Greg Sebasky, the chairman of Philips’ North America business. The initiative is called the Philips Innovation Fellows competition, and it will run through late October.

The motivation, Sebasky explains, was “to listen to a broader range of inventors and others, and not think that our 100,000 employees will think of everything.” U.S. residents are encouraged to post concepts or products to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, focused on three themes that Philips has laid out:

  • Living Well: For instance, technology that helps people have a restful sleep or a sense of security at home.
  • Being Healthy: For example, new products or services that enable people to better monitor their family’s health, seek medical treatment, prevent illness and live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Enjoying Life: Ideas that would help provide greater happiness in people’s lives, including being an active part of one’s local community and living independently as one ages.

Submissions will be judged by a “steering committee” made up of Sebasky and three other Philips execs, along with representatives of Bloomberg Beta, the media company’s venture capital arm, and Ashoka, a non-profit. One criteria is whether the concept can gain the support of at least 100 financial backers on Indiegogo, a site similar to Kickstarter.

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