2nd Annual World Open Innovation Conference

NineSigma and Berkeley-Haas Announce Open Innovation Award Winners

From startups to the President of India, innovation leaders are making a profound impact on their organizations and the world at large. At the second annual World Open Innovation Conference in Santa Clara, CA, innovation company NineSigma and the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley recognized several whose initiatives have been particularly noteworthy. Each of them received Berkeley-Haas Open Innovation Awards on November 20th.

The awards shine the spotlight on those who have leveraged open innovation (OI) to achieve significant breakthroughs, including:

Start-Up Disruption Award


1st Place Winner-Transcence

Left-to-right, Andy Zynga, CEO NineSigma, Inc. and Steijn Pelle, Transcense

Transcense, which pioneered a real-time captioning technology to empower deaf people to follow group conversations. The company is now licensing that technology to enable innovation in other industries.

2nd Place -Lucid VR

Left-to right, Andy Zynga, CEO NineSigma, Inc. and Han Jin, Lucid VR

Lucid VR, which created a disruptive stereoscopic 3D camera that captures the world the way the human eye sees it.

3rd Place -Tyromer

Right-to-left, Andy Zynga, CEO NineSigma, Inc. and Sam Visaisouk, Tyromer

 Tyromer, for their socially responsible and environmentally sustainable solution to scrap tire management.

Business Model Transformation Award


1st Place Winner – GE

Left-to right, Andy Zynga, CEO NineSigma, Inc. and Dyna Finkhousen, GE

GE, which celebrates the power of the “Global Brain,” and executed more than 100 OI and crowdsourcing initiatives in 2014.

2nd Place – Eaton

Left-to right, Andy Zynga, CEO NineSigma, Inc. and Christopher Herbst, Eaton

Eaton, which has innovated power management solutions by transforming its corporate culture, launching new cross-functional, multi-national operations, and collaborating with competitors.

3rd Place -BioAstra

Left-to right, Andy Zynga, CEO NineSigma, Inc. and Sumitra Rajagopalan, BioAstra

BioAstra, for growing a global business from a small laboratory—a feat accomplished by reorienting their original smart polymer technology for use across multiple industries.

Distinguished Contribution to Leadership in Open Innovation

(awarded by the Berkeley-Haas and the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation)

Berkeley-Haas and the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation honors the Honorable Pranab Mukherjee, President of India for championing OI, and promoting innovative thinking, practice, and policy-making while serving the world’s largest democracy. Among many accomplishments, Mukherjee inaugurated the first Festival of Innovation at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and mobilized higher education leaders to establish Innovation Clubs.

Dr. Henry Chesbrough, Faculty Director, Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, Berkeley-Haas, who coined the term Open Innovation, said, “Companies are learning that being more open in their innovation processes can create stronger businesses and happier customers. 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.”

Through OI, 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.

“We are thrilled to honor these innovators at a conference that fosters new collaborations between industry and academia. Working outside organizational boundaries is what open innovation is all about. Our own collaboration with the Berkeley- Haas team epitomizes this,” said NineSigma CEO Dr. Andy Zynga.

Judges for this year’s award came from Berkeley-Haas, Element-Y, IBM, RocketSpace, TechShop, Optum/United Healthcare and Siemens Technology-to-Business. For more details on the awards visit https://woic.corporateinnovation.berkeley.edu/awards/