19 April 2010 00:00 [Source: ICB]
This week, we launch the ICIS Innovation Awards for 2010, in our annual search for the industry's pioneers. Will you be among the winners?
INNOVATION IS a key driver of growth and profitability in the chemical sector today. It enables companies to broaden their portfolio of products, expand services to customers and keep competitors at bay. It can also take them into entirely new directions.
But today, it plays a wider role. Companies are looking to innovate business practices, not just products and processes, and are turning to groundbreaking approaches in their search for reduced environmental impact, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The annual ICIS Innovation Awards, now in their seventh year, are designed to recognize companies that have made significant progress via cutting-edge research and development, with tangible results emerging during 2009 and the early part of this year.
To recognize the breadth of innovation in the chemical sector, the ICIS Innovation Awards offer five categories to enter:
Companies may enter as many innovations as they wish, but can enter each innovation into one category only. This year for the first time entries can be made fully online, with the ability to upload supporting documents to back up the claims made in the entry.
The Innovation Awards are open to any chemical company or collaborative effort between companies and academia, regardless of where in the world they are based. The panel of five judges (see below) 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.
The Best Product Innovation category is sponsored by CRA, a provider of strategic consulting and economic and financial expertise.
The category gives entrants a chance to show how innovative they are in the traditional, but still vital, areas of product and process innovation.
The second category allows SMEs - that great source and reservoir of innovation - a chance to shine. For the purposes of the competition, ICIS is defining an SME as a company having less than 250 employees and a turnover below $75m (€56m).
The Best Business Innovation category was introduced two years ago, and is intended to highlight wider innovation in the way chemical companies carry out their 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.
The winner in 2008, for instance, was Netherlands-based 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. Last year the award in this category also went to DSM, for its novel approach to introducing a new glass-coating technology.
The fourth category, Best Innovation in CSR, is intended to recognize companies that have pioneering an 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 to, rather than an integral part of, doing business.
Dow Chemical's winning entry 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.
The final category, Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit, sponsored by leading North American chemical distributor U.S. Chemicals, is designed to highlight the way chemical innovation can reduce environmental impacts. This might be by improving the manufacturing process of existing products, by developing environmentally friendly alternatives to existing products, or by tackling issues of global warming, pollution and health.
ICIS is reintroducing this category this year, given the increasing emphasis placed by the chemical industry on it being able to provide the answers to many environmental and climate issues.
ICIS will also be announcing an overall winner again this year, selected from the five category winners. This award will be presented by Dow Corning, as lead sponsor of the ICIS Innovation Awards 2010.
All it remains for me to do is to urge you to enter - and wish you the very best of luck.
HOW TO ENTER
1. Select your category
2. Complete the online application form
3. Upload supporting documents
4. Click submit
If you have any questions, contact John Baker on +44 20 8652 3153
or email: email@example.com. Confirmation of receipt of your entry will be sent to you by email.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Closing date for entries: July 5, 2010
Announcement of shortlist: August 2, 2010
Announcement of winners: October 11, 2010
WELCOME TO OUR SPONSORS
ICIS is pleased to name Dow Corning as a partner for the seventh year to bring you the ICIS Innovation Awards for 2010. This year, ICIS welcomes CRA International as sponsor of the Best Product Innovation category and U.S. Chemicals as sponsor of the Innovation with the Best Environmental benefit.
ABOUT DOW CORNING...
Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicone-based technology and innovation, it offers more than 7,000 products and services via the Dow Corning and XIAMETER brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by Dow Chemical and Corning, both of the US. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the US.
More on Dow Corning
... U.S. CHEMICALS
U.S. Chemicals is a 50-year-old worldwide specialty chemical distributor serving the textiles, paint, flame retardants, plastics, cosmetics, personal care, food and pharmaceutical industries. A woman-owned business based in New Canaan, Connecticut, U.S. Chemicals actively supports environmentally responsible manufacturers and distributors of chemical products and services.
More on U.S. Chemicals
Founded in 1965, CRA International is a leading provider of strategic consulting and economic and financial expertise. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, US, the firm has over 700 professional staff at its offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It 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.
More on CRA
ERA OF INNOVATION
In today's volatile economic climate, one constant is the need for innovation to fuel growth. But, with the challenges of smaller staffs and decreasing budgets that chemical companies face, it is easy for businesses to lose sight of the game-changing innovation that has helped shape our lives.
Take, for example, the US in the 1930s, an era widely known as the "Great Depression." Innovation continued to thrive in the 1930s, despite the economy. Jet engines, xerography, and Scotch tape were just a few of the product inventions born. Business model innovation also thrived, with the introduction of supermarkets and drive-in movie theaters.
Dow Corning and ICIS Chemical Business know that the global economic challenges of the early 21st century will breed a new era of innovation. We expect that much of that innovation will come from the chemical industry, helping to create a more environmentally sustainable world, while offering practical solutions to challenges in developing regions and for underserved populations.
This is why Dow Corning continues to support the ICIS Innovation awards, because today - more than ever - we need to recognize the great ideas from our industry that will help shape the lives of the next generation.
Dr Gregg Zank, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Dow Corning
CRA International is again proud to sponsor the ICIS Innovation Awards Best Product Innovation category. Despite one of the deepest downturns the industry has ever faced, most chemical companies have maintained investment in technology and innovation. And, as a firm, we find that encouraging.
More importantly, chemical companies have focused not only on short-term product enhancements, but on long-term changes that align innovation efforts with major industry "mega trends." Moving forward, the chemical industry will need to play a critical role in developing innovative solutions that meet these challenges.
CRA's extensive work in technology and innovation strategy with leading companies affirms that product innovation will continue to be the lifeblood of the chemical industry, and that maintaining a robust product development pipeline will be a key driver of competitive advantage.
We look forward to working with ICIS to recognize those companies that continue to pursue this objective.
Dr. Neil Checker, vice president, CRA International
As Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said: "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." In the chemical business, innovation may occur at any level, any discipline, through any process. The embryo of an innovation requires passion, tenacity and a commitment to consistently improve.
Innovation requires courage. U.S. Chemicals supports new ideas and initiatives that improve the world we live in. That's why we are sponsoring the Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit category.
We want to reward the chemical community for its creative thinking and commitment to improve the planet. In the global market where we all compete, both internal and external pressures require all of us to do things differently, more efficiently and with greater efficacy. In the end, these innovations will ultimately be sustainable if it benefits our environment.
ICIS has provided the platform for creativity, and, as a sponsor of these awards, we applaud all those contestants who share our goals.
Carol Piccaro, president and CEO, U.S. Chemicals
THIS YEAR'S JUDGES
Dr. Neil Checker is vice president and head of the Europe & Middle East region for chemicals at CRA International, where he specializes in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions.
Dr. Alfred Oberholz was a member of the management board of Evonik Industries and is a former president of SusChem. He holds board positions on several innovative start-ups.
Simon Smith is CEO of RockTron, a leader in technology for recycling waste fly ash from power stations into valuable minerals. His career has been in engineering and business management.
Dr. Graham Hillier is director of strategy and futures at the Centre for Process Innovation, in the UK. He is also a visiting professor at the UK's Salford University.
Dr. Gregg Zank is senior vice president and chief technology officer at Dow Corning.
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 (cool) leather
Virent Energy Systems production of fuels and chemicals from plant sugars
DSM (twice) Sight and Life vitamins project with the UN/moving down the supply chain with claryl picture glass
Dow Chemical city wastewater effluent for industrial reuse project
Arkema formulations for "greener" roads
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