In 1999, Harryson Consulting GmbH was established – later taking the name iKNOW-WHO.com. The purpose of the company was to help clients with growth through innovation (GTI) for which a solid process was developed, applied to many customers, and documented in a book that sold in more than 10.000+ copies in the West and 100.000+ copies in China through Peking University Press that sold out five high volume editions.  Our work with Porsche was published in the Harvard Business Review.

Over the past decade, iKNOW-WHO has focused on “Collaborative University Competitions”. By now, 33+ innovation challenges have been solved and patent-protected by iKNOW-WHO.com for clients like Porsche, Nestlé, Unilever, The Kraft Heinz Company, BASF, Tetra Pak, Straumann Institute and AkzoNobel. The PCT-awarded breakthrough we made on behalf of DSM reduced ammonia emissions by 95% in the manufacturing of urea – while also significantly reducing the consumption of ammonia – a truly green breakthrough.

Philips provides another interesting example – the Scintilator Challenge to replace a rare-earth material for which Philips, GE and Siemens had tried to find alternative materials for more than 15 years. Philips had invested more than 100 million USD without finding a solution. GE and Siemens had invested equivalent amounts, because the rare-earth material used ((Lu,Y)2SiO5:Ce) six-folded in price each year. A modern PET scanner requires some 30,000 single crystals in this material per machine and, therefore, reached a market price exceeding EUR 3 million by 2011. This is when the Global Head of Research & Alliances, Dr. John Bell, approached iKNOW-WHO.com to describe the challenge. A project was started in January 2012. Eight months after the official kick-off, Dr. John Bell, presented in a 2-minute-video how the solution had been co-created.

Although Philips (and their competitors) had been looking for a high-density material, the winning university team (from Lund University) co-created a solution based on nanopolymers. The resulting patent application that we filed with Philips as owner and our university researchers as inventors early 2013 is available at under PCT application number: WO2014EP63595 20140626.


Over the years, we have published three books and several articles covering the extensive amounts of research we have conducted as part of the work we have done. We still use many of the insights from this research today. Furthermore, on occasions we have been interviewed for the public media as well.


Harryson S and Lorange P 2005, ‘Bringing the College Inside’Harvard Business Review, December issue. Read now.


Harryson S and Roos J 2018, DISRUPTING INNOVATION Through Collaborative Competitions: Extreme Breakthroughs Solving Any Challenge Faster Better Smarter, New Insights Press, 0998485047. Amazon.

Harryson S 2008, Know-who Based Entrepreneurship: From Knowledge Creation to Business Implementation, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1848443110. Amazon.

Harryson S 2000, Managing Know-who Based Companies: A Multinetworked Approach to Knowledge and Innovation Management, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1840643145. Amazon.

Harryson S 1998, Japanese Technology and Innovation Management: From Know-how to Know-who, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1858987687. Amazon.


Harryson S 2018, Co-Creating an Ecosystem for Extreme Breakthroughs, Texas Open Innovation Conference. Download PDF.

Contact us

Our mission is to transform this unique approach into rapidly growing client value – so if you have a challenge, please bring it to our attention. The more it is deemed impossible to solve, the happier we will be to do it!

We are particularly experienced and keen to solve innovation challenges related to emission-reduction, resource-efficiency and reduction of fossil/rare earth content. 

Schedule a call with the iKNOW-WHO team to discuss your future breakthrough!


Zürich, iKNOW-WHO GmbH

Churerstrasse 104
CH-8808 Pfäffikon SZ

Office phone: +41 79 291 8478


Turning Torso 275
SE-211 15 Malmö

Office phone: +46 722 44 56 06

Let us know about your challenge

The more it is deemed impossible to solve, the happier we will be to do it!

Thank you!