SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2011 > Open Innovation

Award-winning ideas with the profiled glass tube CONTURAX® Pro Foto: SCHOTT/A. Sell

Smart People with Creative Ideas

Nearly 800 participants from 68 countries accepted Rohrglas’s invitation and submitted their ideas on new application possibilities for the angular profiled glass tube CONTURAX® Pro.

Sabrina Winter

How do you come up with innovative ideas or create a force field in which creativity begins to bubble? Today, innovation managers rely on approaches like open innovation, crowd sourcing or ideation to achieve this. These terms stand for opening up people’s minds to the creative potential that lies dormant in the general population. People from different cultures with different backgrounds are now providing companies with new ideas and approaches. This paves the way for developing innovative products and applications, coupled with existing knowledge and know-how – for existing as well as current markets.
Thomas E. Miller’s (U.S.A.) ­installation on directing light and providing shade. Illustration: SCHOTT
SCHOTT-Rohrglas was interested in tapping into this potential for its square glass tube CONTURAX® Pro. For this reason, the company decided to take the open innovation approach in searching for new application ideas. And succeeded in doing so. Over a period of eight weeks, nearly 800 participants from 68 countries followed the company’s call and submitted more than 500 ideas via an Internet platform on how to use angular glass tubing in areas like architecture, design, lighting, science and at home. ”We then evaluated the ideas that were submitted based on criteria like customer benefit, technical feasibility and market potential,” says Dr. Nikolaos Katsikis, Director of Business Development at SCHOTT-Rohrglas GmbH, in explaining the expert jury’s approach.
Transparent partition walls from Denny Kondic, Germany. Illustration: SCHOTT
First place was finally awarded to Thomas E. Miller, an architect from Huntley, Illinois, for his idea of installing them to direct light and cast shade on building façades. The angular glass tubes are used as architectural elements and meet both functional and aesthetic requirements. In comparison to other possible materials, glass has a long lifespan and requires hardly any maintenance. The idea that Denny Kondic from Nehren in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, came up with earned him second place. This involves installing transparent partition walls made ​​of glass tubing to make rooms look larger. Different moods can also be generated using colored light sources. Third place went to Daniil Kondratyev, a graphic designer from ­Israel. His idea calls for using the refraction from the angular glass tubes to produce atmospheric lighting effects. They can even be changed in a flexible manner by using different lengths, square tubes cut at an angle or a variety of different light sources.
The generation of atmospherical light effects through refraction from Daniil ­Kondratyev, Israel. Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell
The seven top finishers in the ideas competition were honored at an award ceremony that representatives of Glaco, Maars and Zumtobel also attended. SCHOTT-Rohrglas has already succeeded in signing up these companies as partners for realizing prototypes of the ideas that came in places one to three. ”All three companies are experts in their respective areas of ­application. Therefore, we are quite confident that we will be able to bring these ideas to market together with our partners,” Dr. Nikolaos Katsikis explains. <|