20 April 2009 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Here is your opportunity to gain wide recognition for your hard-won innovation successes, as ICIS launches its Innovation Awards for 2009. Will you be on the short list in August?
THIS WEEK ICIS launches its sixth ICIS Innovation Awards, designed to recognize outstanding examples of technological or business innovation in the chemical industry.
We are pleased to welcome back Dow Corning as lead sponsor, and to introduce CRA International for the first time as sponsor of the Best Product Innovation category. For more on these sponsors and why they see innovation as an important weapon in today's corporate armory, see below.
Innovation is now recognized as a key driver of growth and profitability in the chemical sector, by companies, governments and academia alike. It enables companies to broaden their portfolio of products, expand their services to customers and keep competitors at bay. It can also take them into entirely new markets and directions.
In today's difficult economic and financial climate, innovation will become even more critical. It is essential that companies continue to invest in innovation for the longer term. The short-term reaction to cut research and development (R&D) spending could prove a costly one, as companies see their pipelines whither.
However, the industry's focus on preserving cash in the downturn will inevitably put pressure on budgets. Companies will have to decide where to focus their resources and strive to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their innovation processes.
It may well be worth companies reviewing their technology base and the medium and longer-term market trends to see what capabilities they have and how these match expected market demands. Areas such as photovoltaics, nanotechnology, climate change, energy efficiency and water quality offer huge potential for innovative progress.
WIDER ROLE FOR INNOVATION
But today, innovation plays a wider role in our industry. Companies are looking to innovate business practices as well as products and processes, and are turning to innovative approaches in their search for sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
To recognize these trends, the ICIS Innovation Awards again offer four categories to enter:
For the first time this year, ICIS will be announcing an overall winner, selected from the four category winners. This award will be presented by Dow Corning, as lead sponsor of the ICIS Innovation Awards.
The Best Product Innovation category gives entrants a chance to show how innovative they are in the more traditional, but still, vital areas of product and process innovation. It is this, after all, that brings in new business and/or makes existing products more attractive and competitive. The second category allows SMEs, that great source and reservoir of innovation, a chance to shine with a similar product or process innovation.
The Best Business Innovation category was introduced last year, and is intended to highlight wider-based innovation in the way chemical companies do business. This may be with new service offerings to customers or partnerships with suppliers and downstream collaborators, new approaches to the route to market or even novel supply chain or business process operations.
Last year's winner, for instance, was DSM Nutritional Products, which gained recognition for its development with the UN's World Food Programme of a low-cost, but extremely effective way of delivering vitamins and nutrients to people in the developing world.
The final category, that of Best Innovation in CSR, is intended to recognize companies that have been innovative in their approach to dealing with the social and environmental issues that have to be addressed to ensure sustainability and public acceptance of the chemical industry. This is vital work, but often viewed as an add-on rather than an integral part of doing business.
Again, last year's winning entry, from Dow Chemical, shows what the judges are looking for. At its Terneuzen site in the Netherlands, Dow has developed a system for reusing municipal wastewater in its process and cooling operations, benefiting itself, the community and the environment.
Are your company's successes in product or process development, business innovation or the field of CSR deserving of greater recognition? The ICIS Innovation Awards gives you the opportunity to find out, with all entries assessed by a specially assembled panel of five expert judges (see opposite page).
All that remains now is for you to prepare that award-winning entry and submit it to ICIS by July 6 - an entry form is printed at the end of this article. I wish you the best of luck and hope to meet you at the Awards presentation later this year!
FROM OUR SPONSORS
Dr. Stephanie Burns, chairman, president and CEO, Dow Corning
Successful innovation takes courage. It requires a clear vision and a strategy. But more importantly it takes commitment and tenacity. Recognizing the need for an innovation strategy and an innovation-focused culture is a critical step undoubtedly. But it is only the first step. To be truly successful requires a determination to stay the course and to maintain that focus even when times may be difficult.
If innovation can help a company take advantage of opportunities during the good times, it's just as important during a downturn. A clear strategy then can sustain a company until recovery begins. By encouraging the enterprise to think differently about business challenges, new ways may emerge that can deliver new value to customers.
That value could be new product offerings or new business channels. It may happen through new channels to market or new business models. At times it will require some risks to be taken and decisions made with less than 100% confidence but a business without risk is one that's likely to be a business without real growth.
In partnership with ICIS we're pleased to celebrate the success stories of companies who have made innovation an integral element of their business. Along the way they have taken risks, have encountered many challenges and probably experienced some setbacks. But their determination to continue has remained steadfast. And it's that commitment we should all celebrate.
Dr. Neil Checker, vice president, CRA International
CRA International is proud to sponsor the 2009 ICIS Innovation Awards in the category of Best Product Innovation. In these difficult times for the chemical industry, we at CRA believe continued investment in technology and innovation is even more critical to the long-term success of chemical companies.
Societal, market and industry trends in end-use sectors from transportation through to packaging, as well as environmental compliance and energy efficiency improvements, will require new processes and products. The chemical industry will need to play a critical role in developing innovative solutions to meet these challenges and opportunities.
Our extensive work in technology and innovation management with leading players confirms that product innovation will continue to be the lifeblood of the chemical industry. Maintaining a robust product development pipeline will be a key driver of competitive advantage.
We look forward to working with ICIS and our fellow sponsor in recognizing those companies which continue to pursue this objective, particularly in the current unprecedented and challenging business environment.
THIS YEAR'S JUDGES
The ICIS Innovation Awards are designed to recognize companies that have made significant steps forward through R&D and innovation, with tangible results emerging during 2008 and the early part of this year.
The coverage of the Awards is international, reflecting the editorial coverage of ICIS.
We have kept the application procedure simple and straightforward (download the form) and we look forward to receiving your entries by the deadline of July 6.
The Awards are open to any chemical company or collaborative effort between companies and academia, regardless of where in the world they are based.
Our distinguished panel of judges will be looking for innovative projects that solve problems or provide solutions for the company entering and/or its customers, or demonstrate an innovative approach to business overall.
Winners will enjoy extensive editorial coverage in a special 12-page supplement to ICIS Chemical Business, published in October this year, and will be invited to an Awards lunch later in the year. This year, as an added incentive, Dow Corning is offering to provide innovation consulting services to Award winners.
For answers to questions regarding the Awards themselves or on how to enter, please go to www.icis.com/awards or contact John Baker, global editor, custom publishing, who is responsible for running the ICIS Innovation Awards.
Tel: +44 20 8652 3153 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DATES TO REMEMBER
ABOUT DOW CORNING Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning and Xiameter brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by Dow Chemical and Corning. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the US.
Find out more at www.dowcorning.com
ABOUT CRA INTERNATIONAL Founded in 1965, CRA International is a leading provider of strategic consulting and economic and financial expertise. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the US firm has over 700 professional staff at its offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. The company believes in using a combination of industry experience and rigorous, fact-based analysis in order to provide clients with clear solutions to complex business problems. The chemical practice applies keen insight and rich experience across the industry, from upstream petrochemicals and polymers to downstream specialty chemicals and materials. CRA specializes in the fields of strategy, technology management, M&A, performance improvement and organization restructuring.
Learn more at www.crai.com/chemicals
Previous recipients of the ICIS Innovation Awards include:
Air Products a novel approach to packaged gases
BASF (twice) developments in ionic liquids/Hexamoll DINCH plasticizer
TFL Ledertechnik Solar reflective leather
Asahi Kasei Chemical Novel nonphosgene polycarbonate (PC) production process
ExxonMobil Chemical/Tonen Chemical Polymer-based battery separator film
Virent Energy Systems Production of fuels and chemicals from plant sugars
DSM/WFP Sight and Life vitamins project with the UN
Dow Chemical City wastewater effluent for industrial reuse project
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