Marketwire

Announcing a New Partnership to Fuel Open Innovation in Energy

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Source: Marketwire

NineSigma, the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability and Eskom Form New Partnership

CLEVELAND, OH -- (Marketwire) -- 05/24/11 -- NineSigma, the leading provider of open innovation solutions and The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), today announced they have signed an agreement with Eskom Holdings Ltd., the South African utility to provide Open Innovation services. NineSigma, RIIS and Eskom will collaborate on a series of Open Innovation projects that will connect Eskom's internal research and development teams with leading innovators from around the world.

NineSigma's proprietary process helps organizations develop and manage their Open Innovation programs from project selection through product development. For Eskom, NineSigma's process complements the company's Innovation Circuit Program, which is focused on creating a culture of innovation within Eskom. NineSigma and RIIS will work with Eskom to identify current innovation needs, and then develop open innovation requests that will be shared with scientists, engineers, designers and inventors from around the world, and locally in South Africa through NineSigma's Open Global Innovation Network. NineSigma and RIIS will then work with Eskom to assess the results and engage new partners in innovation development.

'We are pleased to be working with Eskom,' says Skip Davis, Vice President at NineSigma. 'Eskom's open innovation program demonstrates their continuing commitment to their vision of empowering South Africa, its people and the economy.'

The purpose of the Open Innovation (OI) Pilot project in the Eskom context is to engage external stakeholders in assisting with addressing some of Eskom's challenges. This engagement goes beyond contracting or procuring goods and services from third party suppliers. It entails sharing Eskom's challenges, needs and associated future requirements with external parties, and encouraging them to provide solutions to such challenges, needs and requirements.

The project is a direct response to Eskom's need to co-innovate with institutions locally and internationally to find innovation solutions and fast track the benefits of innovation to Eskom and the energy industry. This project will begin to identify the opportunities that exist to stimulate the energy sector and co-develop an ecosystem for innovation in energy.

Eskom will be able to leverage NineSigma's vast global Open Innovation network of more than 2 million solvers as well as benchmark the establishment of a local energy innovation ecosystem on best practices and Open Innovation competencies developed over years.

Barry MacColl, acting General Manager of Eskom Research & Development, states: 'People and companies all over the world are more connected, more collaborative and more open with regards to the sharing of ideas to common problems than ever before. Tapping into the knowledge of a global citizenship will accelerate the innovation cycle and help us find the missing pieces of the puzzle that much quicker. It is a key strategy in Eskom's quest to meet the energy challenges we all face.'

'The development of an Open Innovation system in energy for Eskom will also have a positive impact on the local energy sector as far as job creation, skills transfer and skills development are concerned,' says Dr. Audrey Verhaeghe from RIIS, the local Open Innovation partner to Eskom and NineSigma.

About Eskom
Eskom generates approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa and approximately 45% of the electricity used in Africa. Eskom generates, transmits and distributes electricity to industrial, mining, commercial, agricultural and residential customers and redistributors. The majority of sales are in South Africa. Other countries of southern Africa account for a small percentage of sales. Additional power stations and major power lines are being built to meet rising electricity demand in South Africa.

Eskom buys electricity from and sells electricity to the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The future involvement in African markets outside South Africa (that is the SADC countries connected to the South African grid and the rest of Africa) is currently limited to those projects that have a direct impact on ensuring a secure supply of electricity for South Africa.

About NineSigma
NineSigma helps Global 1000 companies and other innovation-driven entities Engage with the global innovation community and Enable their organizations to more effectively adopt external knowledge and resources. Companies such as Kraft, Philips, L'Oreal, Unilever, Denso and Suntory utilize NineSigma's open innovation services to solve immediate challenges, fill product pipelines and integrate new knowledge and capabilities into their organizations. NineSigma has the largest open global network of solution providers and an extensive database of existing solutions that spans all industries and technical disciplines. The company has operations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Learn more about NineSigma at http://www.ninesigma.com/.

About The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability
The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability offers a total business solution for sustaining and managing innovation in the working environment, including both the private and public sectors. RIIS provides guidance and practical insight and assists with planning and managing an uncertain future. RIIS helps organizations prepare for a new future by addressing not only strategy, processes, systems and structures, but also culture, implementation, measurement, benchmarking and research. Learn more about NineSigma at http://www.riis.co.za.

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Dawn Ringel
Warner Communications
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