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.