Leaders at NineSigma Leadership Conference Agree: Expecting and Embracing the Unexpected Advances Innovation

Innovation Executives Gather at International Conference to Share Best Innovation Practices to Drive Business Value

May 29, 2014, 10:00 ET from NineSigma

CLEVELAND, May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NineSigma, the leading innovation partner to companies worldwide, recently hosted its fourth Innovation Leadership Summit, where the power of unexpected connections to fuel business growth was the central theme. From PepsiCo, which is converting orange peels into biofuels, to General Electric, which is transforming its factories and taking new approaches to 3D printing, to Eaton Corporation, whose microgrids enable military bases to use energy efficiently, the message was clear: Innovative companies expect, seek out and embrace the unexpected.

Innovators from around the world gathered at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, Ohio to share their best practices, and how they are changing their companies, industries and the world. In addition to PepsiCo, General Electric and Eaton, speakers included leaders from Bioastra Technologies, Inc., Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corporation, Ohio Development Services Agency, Converse, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Michigan Molecular Institute, Obama for America, the National Football League, Nottingham Spirk, QuantaEd, Spartan Chemical Company, Shell Technology Ventures, Stryker Corporation, Vitamix, and Xerox Innovation Group. The Harvard Business Review also moderated a special panel discussion with solution providers on best practices in open innovation.

"These leaders in open innovation have found that by harnessing the power of unexpected connections, they are driving real business value," said Andy Zynga, CEO, NineSigma. "By building new and creative approaches to innovation into their corporate strategies, they are positioned to outpace their competitors, accelerate the launch of groundbreaking products, and improve revenue growth."

Many of the participating companies use open innovation (OI) to maintain a competitive advantage, working with NineSigma and collaborating with other innovators through NineSights, the firm's online innovation community. OI involves reaching out to a global network of inventors, entrepreneurs, researchers, and others for new ideas, technologies and partnerships that will advance new product development. Solution providers, too, benefit from unanticipated markets for their technologies. For example, Bioastra, whose "smart polymers" have applications for clothing, has grown by connecting with solution seekers in the food/beverage, pharmaceutical, and oil/gas industries.

During case-study presentations, round-table discussions, and interactive activities, innovators focused on how to find and leverage these "non-intuitive" opportunities. Topics included: crowdsourcing as a repeatable business practice, developing a sustainable innovation portfolio, the innovation team of the future, creative and advanced manufacturing, and more.

At a special awards reception, NineSigma honored several Innovation Champions among its clients. Kirk Andries, Managing Director, CCEMC, was recognized with a new Ignite Award for leading a Grand Challenge, a strategy for bringing forth new solutions to complex problems affecting humankind. CCEMC and NineSigma are collaborating on a multi-year Grand Challenge, managed on NineSights, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and find solutions for converting carbon dioxide emissions into marketable products.

Other Innovation Champions who were recognized include:

  • Michele Garnier, Innovation Business Manager, SanofiPasteur S.A.
  • Alan Gilbert, Director, Global Government and NGO Strategy, Healthymagination, GE
  • Sangwook Lee, Vice President, Technology Strategy Team, Samsung Display
  • Yuji Ozeki, Deputy General Manager, R&D Planning Department, Toray Industries
  • Tomislav Smolic, Executive Director Research & Development, Agrokor
  • David Zhang, Product Development Open Innovation Leader, Genentech

About NineSigma
NineSigma helps organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors find new solutions, knowledge and partners to accelerate the innovation cycle. The leader in creating 'unexpected connections' across industries and technical disciplines, NineSigma has produced billions of dollars in value for its clients. The company also helps for-profit and nonprofit organizations address problems of a global magnitude through Grand Challenges. NineSigma's online community, NineSights®, connects innovators of all sizes with the resources and relationships needed to drive growth. Learn more at www.ninesigma.com or www.ninesights.com.

Media Contact: 
Jackie Lucas, Warner Communications — jackie@warnerpr.com, (978) 255-1159

SOURCE NineSigma