CLEVELAND, Ohio — Power management company Eaton announced it has received the Berkeley-Haas Open Innovation Award, placing second in the Business Transformation category. Eaton was recognized for leveraging open innovation to transform its corporate culture, launch new cross-functional, multi-national initiatives, and collaborate with external technology experts around the world.
“At Eaton, we believe no single organization has a monopoly on the intellect that goes into innovation,” said Ram Ramakrishnan, Eaton’s executive vice president and chief technology officer. “By cultivating a climate of open innovation, we can further spur and accelerate innovation in collaboration with experts both in and outside of Eaton to help answer the needs of our global customers, now and in the future. We are extremely proud of this recognition of the efforts of our team.”
Through open innovation, organizations tap into a worldwide network of experts and exchange their internal knowledge with others for a strategic advantage. This scalable process empowers companies to continually transform themselves and solve complex challenges affecting humankind.
Eaton’s winning submission included a case study on the dramatic growth of its microgrid program through open innovation partnerships with universities, military bases, utilities, government laboratories and non-profits that bring expertise in renewable power, software and cybersecurity and also provide test beds for technology validation and maturation. Eaton and its open innovation partners demonstrated the ability to save 80 percent of the cost of storage in microgrids. The team also developed technology to save substantial generator fuel costs and reduce the risk to military personnel through fewer fuel transport missions for the U.S. Department of Defense’s forward-operating bases.
Dr. Christopher Herbst, a technology leader in Eaton’s corporate research team, accepted the award for Eaton at the second annual World Open Innovation Conference in November in Santa Clara, Calif. The awards are a collaboration of innovation company NineSigma and the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. The awards shine a spotlight on those who have leveraged open innovation to achieve significant breakthroughs.
“Companies are learning that being more open in their innovation processes can create stronger businesses and happier customers,” said Dr. Henry Chesbrough, faculty director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation at Berkeley-Haas, who coined the term open innovation. “All of us know more than any one of us, and these companies are truly changing the way we all solve problems, compete and collaborate.”
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