San Marco Group has launched in 2022 its first Open Innovation project, ReThink Next Generation Coatings, a Call for Solutions open to companies, start-ups and research centers. The aim was to collect innovative material solutions in order to reduce the environmental impact of water-based paints and coatings.
This project scope was to pave the way for further open innovation activities, creating a positive cycle that could trigger growth. New synergies are born between the company and the external world, while working on a topic of primary importance for the Group, namely the environmental sustainability.
It is from some of San Marco Group's most important pillars based on the values of innovation and sustainability, and from our R&D lab's need to breathe new life into its ideas, that this new Inbound Open Innovation project was born. Implemented through a contest and a network made up of disparate stakeholders, the primary goal of the theme chosen to work on is that of developing the Group's first Open Innovation experience from innovations that can be managed with the technical expertise already within our R&D team. Indispensable for the success of the project is the innovation provider, an intermediary who has helped in defining the contest, in strategically managing the project and in defining the guidelines forming the basis to select the best ideas from all those received. Our careful search for an innovation provider led us to choose Materially, consultants experienced in supporting companies in the development and diffusion of innovation and sustainability from materials.
«The call for solutions ReThink Next Generation Coatings stems from the belief that innovation should not take into account only internal ideas and resources, but also search tools and skills outside. Relationships of exchange and synergy should be established with external entities - We therefore want Open Innovation to be one of the new beacons in the development of our Group, as a valid tool to strengthen the commitment we have always dedicated to environmental respect.» - Pietro Geremia, President and CEO of San Marco Group.
ReThink Next Generation Coatings has officially been launched on October 6, 2022 after months of study and preparation. The event, held in Milan, presented the project, and explained the contest procedures; the video is available at this link. The contest remained open from October to November 2022, engaging over thirty companies and start-ups.
Between December 2022 and January 2023, San Marco Group's R&D laboratory leveraged its experience in formulating products by testing more than 15 raw materials. New formulation possibilities were evaluated, and the knowledge base was further expanded through interactions with technicians from companies participating in the contest.
To determine the winners, the results of the technical pre-selection were provided to the jury, consisting of San Marco Group's President, Pietro Geremia, R&D Director, Giovanni Marsili, Marketing Director, Roberta Vecci, assisted by Anna Pellizzari, an expert in innovation representing Materially and, Silvano Storer, in the role of coordinator. Environmental attention, product and technology innovation level, ease of implementation, material availability, commercial impact, and required economic investment were the evaluation criteria adopted by the jury.
The evaluation has been concluded in February, with the selection of 4 solutions that were awarded during the event, held on February 28, 2023, at Magna Pars, the Hotel à Parfum in Milan.
The award event has come from a 360-degree collaboration resulting on a moment of exchange on relevant issues such as bio-building, sustainable architecture and environment. Moreover, exceptional guests such as journalists Letizia Palmisano, Nicolas Lozito, and Laura Galimberti has joined this event.
«The selection of the winning companies is just a starting point - we want to combine our skills to develop a joint research effort, so that our labs become an even more vibrant forge of innovation and sustainability. The experimentation on raw materials will continue in the following months to allow an in-depth analysis of the opportunities that have aroused from the contest. The aim is to further reduce the environmental impact of our products. » - Giovanni Marsili, Director of Research and Development at San Marco Group.