Innovation challenges are today a key strategy to achieve operational excellence and develop different products or services.
An increasing number of corporations are using open innovation to find or develop new technologies through engineering crowdsourcing.
In this article, you can find a summary of more than 20 innovation challenges solved through engineering crowdsourcing at the ennomotive platform. They are sorted by sector to illustrate where companies are putting their innovation efforts.
The global importance of the construction sector is indisputable due to its snowball effect on the rest of the industry sectors and its ability to generate new jobs. For all these reasons, the construction industry should be top-notch, by incorporating the latest technologies and innovations and applying Industry 4.0 practices, developing new materials, reducing the environmental impact, costs and increasing productivity.
In this sense, both modular construction and integrated manufacturing play an increasingly important role. In Sweden, for instance, 84% of the single-family houses use prefab elements.
Here you can find 5 innovation challenges in the construction sector solved through engineering crowdsourcing.
Even though mining is still an unknown sector for many people, it is really fascinating from the point of view of innovation challenges. This industry provides basic materials whose demand increases just as much as the industrial clients (automotive sector, electronics, energy, construction, etc.).
The pressure to increase productivity stems from the competitive pressure related to the high volatility of the minerals market. For instance, copper has changed in price between 4 to 2 USD/pound in the last decade, thus creating a big challenge in large manufacturing countries, especially in those whose processes are not so efficient.
There is also a growing regulatory pressure to protect workers, the environment and the communities close to mining operations (aquifers, air quality, local fauna, etc.).
For this reason, and because of the enormous numbers involved in this sector, innovation comes to the forefront to give an answer to all the challenges throughout the lifecycle of the mining process: exploration, mining construction and operation, and rehabilitation.
This industry is pushing innovation through programs like “green mining”, making extraction and mineral processing more efficient and introducing clean energies. Other programs like ‘safe mining’ are initiatives that aim, among others, to keep the workers away from hazardous perforation or blasting areas. These initiatives are also introducing remote control for equipment, automatic transport systems, etc.
Here you can find some interesting cases of mining challenges ennomotive solved through open innovation. Despite the complexity of the innovation challenges, results are extremely good thanks to the use of a geographically open and cross-industry model.
The autonomous, electric vehicle and shared mobility are forcing companies to introduce new innovation challenges regarding technology and consumption.
For this reason, many companies in the automotive sector are doing more innovation than ever, developing new products and services. They are introducing new open innovation strategies, looking for new ideas and solutions and accelerating the adoption of new technological talent.
For some time now, car manufacturers have used crowdsourcing to attract new ideas and create concept cars. For instance, the world’s first crowdsourced car was the small Fiat Mio with +17,000 participants and a design and manufacturing cycle that took only 6 months. Volkswagen also jumped in the open innovation wagon with its People Car’s Project in China.
Automotive suppliers have also joined this innovation trend. We can find examples such as the open ecosystem from VALEO and the most recent “Open BOSCH award”, which looks for startups to accelerate product development. Most recently, other global leaders such as Grupo Antolin have adopted engineering crowdsourcing as a strategic tool to co-create the future of car interiors while attracting global fresh engineering talent.
Just like these companies trusted open innovation, so have others who worked with ennomotive to solve innovation challenges in the automotive sector. Take a look at some of these success cases.
One could think that the steel sector is very commoditized, where little innovation happens when it is actually the exact opposite. As a matter of fact, steel product manufacturers need to be constantly developing new products for their clients (e.g. in the construction or automotive industry) while staying cost-competitive.
Companies working for the automotive sector have to improve safety and reduce energy consumption and companies in the construction sector look for an improvement in steel materials, an increase in strength and durability or better protection against corrosion using nanotechnology, for example.
Besides, these companies innovate by solving not only their cost-reduction challenges but also their sustainability ones, either by cutting down the water and energy use or improving the safety of their workers. Here is a selection of 5 open innovation stories in which different companies from the steel sector have found or developed new technological solutions.
Energy, gas, and electricity
Energy powers absolutely everything and is vital for homes, cities, industries, mobility, and the development of countries. For this reason, countries are increasingly worried about finding the most cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly way for energy supply.
In summary, the biggest challenge is the transition to renewable energies (solar, wind, hydropower, tidal power, etc.) that eliminate the need for fossil or nuclear sources, which have a negative environmental impact that cannot be ignored anymore.
It is evident that there’s been big technological progress in this field. The cost of a solar power plant has been reduced from 5,000 USD to 1,000 USD per installed kW. Thermal and coal facilities are also being dismantled like the Hazelwood plant, which produced, up until 2017, 3% of greenhouse-effect gases in Australia.
However, solving the big energy challenge implies solving many other issues, like how to store variable energy to maintain a 24h continuous supply or how to adapt to the extreme weather conditions of the new plants’ locations (the sea, deserts, etc.) and how to keep maintenance and operational excellence.
Here are some open innovation challenges in the energy sector published at ennomotive by a leading company in Europe or America.