Make Innovation Everybody's Business



Nosco’s partner InnoCentive has built the first online open innovation market-place operating with open innovation sourcing, enabling scientists, engineers, professionals and entrepreneurs to collaborate in a global community to deliver breakthrough solutions for the R&D-driven organisations.


InnoCentive was helping to make a positive impact on environmental conservation by working with the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) and other conservation groups. OSRI posted three challenges on the InnoCentive website, all dealing with oil spill recovery issues. This first OSRI challenge required a method for separating oil from water on oil recovery barges after the oil and water had frozen to a viscous mass.


InnoCentive is changing the face of R&D for corporations, government agencies and not-for-profits by employing its prize-based method to engage innovators in many industries from around the world. The method motivates solvers (InnoCentive’s network of independent problem-solvers) to get involved, but the real key to InnoCentive’s success lies in its diverse solver base. Solvers from every industry tackle each problem with fresh points of view. As illustrated in the OSRI solution, InnoCentive seekers (corporations, government agencies and not-for-profits working with InnoCentive) find that the best solutions for any given challenge often come from outside their respective industry.


The first of these challenges was solved by an oil industry outsider – John Davis, an InnoCentive solver from the Central United States – who used his expertise in the concrete industry to come up with the winning solution

Despite having no background in the oil industry, John proposed using a commonly used existing product from the concrete industry. This tool uses vibration to keep cement in liquid form during mass cement pours.

John realized that by attaching a long pole and inserting the tool into the oil recovery barges, it would keep the oil from freezing into a viscous state and allow the oil to be easily pumped from the barge. OSRI was established by Congress, in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, with the mandate to develop the best techniques and materials for dealing oil spills in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic waters. John was awarded $20.000 for his creative solution.