I am 50 years old and I live with my wife in our house in a small village in Sweden. Our three children have moved out a few years ago. I am a food chemical engineer with extensive experience in the food manufacturing process like quality control, research, processing and raw material chemistry. .
The first time I came in contact with InnoCentive was when I read a magazine in which there was an article about this new way of doing product developments. Today I do not remember exactly when this was, but I think it was in the beginning when InnoCentive started up.
I became curious about it and went to the homepage to see what it was. I found it very interesting, and the chance to win a great reward if my proposal was chosen, made me shiver. How exciting! A chance to show your competence, work with your brain without limitations and the possibility to compete with others to find the best solution and get money for it! I was directly hooked on the idea and registered as a Solver.
At this time of life I was what you call “fed up” with my work, and wanted to find a new way of developing my personal knowledge and I really needed something which could make my brain “wake up” again. InnoCentive turned out to be this injection! Many times I thought that my employer did not fully use my knowledge and competence in their business. Now suddenly an opportunity popped up for me to let the creative part of my brain operate again and at the same time being able to do the regular work for my employer. This was possible because the InnoCentive work could be done in my spare time after work. An extra hobby work, so to say.
I started to send in suggestions, which I personally found very good, but was rejected by the Seeker companies for different reasons. This did not stop me from contributing in the Challenge process.
Suddenly, without really believing it, I got a positive message on my e-mail that my solution have been positively evaluated and had become the winning solution for a Challenge! I could not believe that little me had won the Challenge! Very happy about this I took all the needed documents for the “due diligence process” to my Employer to sign the papers to verify that the suggestion was not anything which they had the Intellectual Property on. Now the real problems started!
Even though all the work with the Challenge had been done outside the work and that the use of it was outside their business area, and they also had the possibility to obtain business from it, they refused to sign the papers! After contacts with the Chairman of the Board of the company things changed, so the papers were finally signed and I got my award, even though I had to make a bit of trouble for my employer to get them to sign the papers.
After this award I thought that this will for sure not happen again, but it did!
A year ago a new Challenge came up on the InnoCentive homepage (Stable emulsion) which made me think “ I know this!” Wise from the experience from the first award, I contacted my employer before I contributed and this time they where positive from the start. Later on it turned that I was awarded for the second time! This I could not imagine when I joined as a Solver! Now all my mental barriers about the possibility for me and my skill to solve challenges in the “best way” have fallen. I think it can happen again!