Crowdsourcing Collaboration Celebrates “Outside the Box” Applications for Dow’s UCONTM Oil Soluble PAGs to Help Address Global Challenges
Building on its foundational excellence of science-driven innovation, Dow turned to the power of the crowd to spearhead new application development and potential markets for UCONTM oil-soluble polyalkylene glycols (oil-soluble PAGs).
Partnering with InnoCentive, the first of its kind Oil-Sol Challenge received more than 60 solutions from 43 countries.
The Challenge called for industry leaders to collaborate, innovate and problem solve to validate new applications or markets where UCONTM oil-soluble PAGs could offer clear advantages to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Two winners-Joel Martin and Dmitriy Tipikin-clearly stepped up to the challenge, identifying potential applications for addressing eye disease globally and for providing better environmental and sustainable standards for oil/gas/mining operations. Each was awarded $15,000 for their winning ideas.
“Polyalkylene glycol synthetic lubricants have been around for more than 50 years, but have never been compatible with hydrocarbon or mineral oils until recently,” said Lisa Inoue, Dow strategic marketing leader. “Our internal experts identified industrial and automotive lubricants as possible markets, but we looked to outside scientists and innovators to help us uncover other potential opportunities that can broaden the use of this important chemistry.”
The crowdsourcing method is gaining traction to enhance and increase the efficiency of developing new technologies where there is a need. For InnoCentive, working with Dow elevated the importance of global collaboration with scientists to broaden the scope of oil-soluble PAGs for the future.
“Collaborating with Dow from initial conversations through the end of the Challenge, it was clear Dow is serious about innovation and inclusion of innovators from around the world in the process of discovering creative and diverse solutions in an accelerated model of InnoCentive crowdsourcing,” said Steve Domeck, VP of US Commercial for InnoCentive. “Once again, the InnoCentive Challenge Driven InnovationTM methodology and Solver community delivered results allowing Dow to advance more quickly into new markets.”
“We saw some excellent ideas from around the world, and the two winners resonated with Dow’s expertise in these markets,” continued Inoue. “And the collaboration doesn’t end here. The winning applications are under review with scientists across Dow businesses to evaluate further implementation for our customers.”
Winning Applications in New Markets
Joel Martin, CEO of Cebix Inc., submitted the concept of using PAGs as lubricants and excipients for the treatment of eye diseases. This novel pharmaceutical application could be used to treat a range of eye-related ailments, and uses oil-soluble PAGs to address the limitations of existing technology- polyalkylene glycols -on the market today. The concept provides an opportunity for a line of care products that meet the needs of an under-served global population.
“I enjoy doing things like this,” said Martin. “The subject caught my attention because of my experience and background in venture capital. I’ve looked at products for eye infections. Reading the ingredients in various products, I saw polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) were being used and I’ve looked around at what kind of pharmaceutical reagents may work with PAGs.”
Dmitriy Tipikin’s winning concept applies oil-soluble PAGs to the process of demulsification of oil-in-water emulsions, with linkage to extraction and hydration inhibition in oil, gas and mining applications. The idea employs oil-soluble PAGs as a conducive component for improving environmental standards along with operations and yield. Tipikin’s concept will help address challenges from new and alternative mining techniques and provide the opportunity for a family of industrial products that solve needs in oil, gas and mining worldwide.
Tipikin notes that his motivation for this challenge was rooted in his interest in molecular interactions.
“I am interested in molecular interactions in different situations, including interface situations,” explains Tipikin. “I instantly guessed that a change in hydrophilicity-hydrophobicity of a compound may lead to really interesting new applications and decided to investigate possibilities.”
Keeping the Innovation Momentum
“Competitions like the Oil-Sol Challenge help Dow rally scientists to advance the realm of innovation,” said Inoue. “This competition also enables us to partner with scientists like Martin and Tipikin, who are innovators in oil-soluble PAGs. We look forward to the opportunity to work with these solvers, and discover novel, outside-the-box applications to the industry in the future.”
Want to collaborate with Dow in the future or have an interesting idea related to UCONTM oil-soluble PAGs? Contact Dow’s experts at OSP@dow.com.
Dow (NYSE:DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.
About InnoCentive, Inc.
InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, community of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Astra Zeneca, Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly, NASA, nature.com, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Rockefeller Foundation, Thomson Reuters and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster than ever before. For more information, visit www.innocentive.com.
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