Note 3: Collaborative innovation

We’re using collaborative innovation to push the boundaries of the paints and coatings industry. Almost everything we touch is painted or coated, so there are huge opportunities to share our expertise and develop products and solutions for customers that go beyond expectation, imagination and generations.

Beyond expectation refers to the advanced functionalities offered by our products, in addition to the color and protection they provide. Beyond imagination is all about our digital innovations, which are making increasing use of robots, big data and artificial intelligence. Beyond generations focuses on developing sustainable solutions to safeguard our planet and create a circular value chain.

We know collaboration will help us innovate faster and better. That’s why we have created a collaborative innovation ecosystem: Paint the Future. It will enable us to explore new opportunities with others, deliver impact at scale and ensure a more sustainable future – together.

In 2019, Paint the Future launched a highly successful global startup challenge – an industry first. Suppliers, academia and customers are also joining the expanding ecosystem (see Case studies). Through our platform and a variety of related programs, innovators now have access to resources that can help them commercialize their solutions.

Our work with Alucha – a 2019 startup challenge winner in the circular solutions category – is a great example of how innovative collaboration could help to create a more sustainable future. We are investigating the development of recycling solutions for complex waste streams. The technology has the potential to turn the paper industry’s biggest waste stream – paper sludge – into bio-oils and minerals used in paint. These minerals will be unique, as they’ll be circular and not mined from non-renewable sources, potentially replacing the linear minerals currently used by the paint industry.