ISPIM Grand Prize 2017 – we have a winner!

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by Kevin McFarthing

Wow, so close! We are delighted to announce that, by a single vote, the winner of the ISPIM Grand Prize 2017 for Excellence in Innovation Management is Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), with the Fraunhofer Institute a close second.

The ISPIM Grand Prize competition was launched in 2015, specifically to recognize excellence in the areas of innovation management that are so often overshadowed by the innovation itself. Following on from the announcement of the finalists, the final was held at the ISPIM Annual Conference in Vienna, Austria, on 19th June. As a reminder, the finalists were Fraunhofer, GE, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM.

Each company presented its case to ISPIM’s members and delegates, who then voted for their favourite in a true democratic fashion, building on the pre-conference online votes of ISPIM members. The finalists all received trophies kindly donated and presented by Hannes Erler of Swarovski.

L to R:  Kevin McFarthing (ISPIM Advisory Board), Jean-Marc Hunziker (IBM), Frank Danzinger (Fraunhofer), Chris Wellise (HPE), Hannes Erler (Swarovski)

Chris Wellise represented HPE, describing the Living Process Challenge. This combines crowdsourcing with HPE technology and expertise to realise social and environmental benefits. Chris showed several examples of real innovation, including mobile applications to help women in poor communities track their savings. Another initiative monitors the movement of fish to help prevent illegal fishing, ensuring local communities retain access to their stocks. The Living Process Challenge has successfully engaged 450 HPE volunteers in 17 countries with 100 NGOs.

Chris said, “We are honored to receive the ISPIM Grand Prize for the Living Progress Challenge and are committed to continuing to apply our technologies to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.” Frank Danzinger of Fraunhofer agreed: “We are very honored to be a finalist with our JOSEPHS at the ISPIM Grand Prize. ISPIM has been a great forum to present amongst four really challenging and creative innovation initiatives.” JOSEPH’S is an off-line co-creation and innovation programme, focused on a 400 m2 workspace in the centre of Nürnberg, Germany.

Jean-Marc Hunziker presented IBM’s THINKLab Galaxy, a meeting place for IBM scientists and customers. This is a very clever way of presenting key elements of potential innovation. As Jean-Marc said, “innovation is a function of speed. Potential innovation partners need very early access to the latest thinking at IBM Research. Our scientists must be able to articulate much faster the value of what they are working on. With the THINKLab Galaxy we experience every day that storytelling opens people’s minds!”

Lisa Ralph of GE was unfortunately unable to join us in Vienna, but kindly sent a video presentation. He neatly described how GE’s Genius Link was able to produce routes for a potential opportunity in GE Transportation with 31x more design options, in a quarter of the time, engaging over a million developers.

The ISPIM conference was an ideal event to host the Final.  “Above all, we experienced before and after the final presentations a lot of interesting talks considering JOSEPHS and established a number of new contacts to continue our initiative’s co-creative journey”, commented Frank.

There are lots of people to thank, especially the judges and our media partners (including, of course, Innovation Excellence). ISPIM would also like to thank the many organisations that took the thought, time and effort to enter.

So that’s it for the ISPIM Grand Prize 2017. The work starts soon for next year’s competition, one that is becoming a key fixture in the innovation calendar, so keep an eye out for announcements later this year.

Finally, engaging crowds was a theme, whether they be ISPIM members, expert designers or NGOs. This was nicely encapsulated in a comment from Jean-Marc, “when the audience starts to sing, the musicians lower the volume”.

 International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) is a network of researchers, industrialists, consultants and public bodies who share an interest in innovation management. Founded in 1983, ISPIM is the oldest, largest and most active innovation association in Europe, rapidly expanding in the Americas and Asia.

ISPIM produces scientific and educational material and events to help people understand and share thinking and experiences on how individuals, organisations and society can be better organised to create and distribute new products, services and processes to make the world a better place.

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Kevin McFarthing runs the Innovation Fixer consultancy, helping companies to improve the output and efficiency of their innovation, and to implement Open Innovation. He spent 17 years with Reckitt Benckiser in innovation leadership positions and also has experience in life sciences. Follow @InnovationFixer