“Outside, In”

By Joe Robinson, Vice President, Philips Government Solutions

From access to quality healthcare, to energy efficiency, to education, to hunger – the world's problems may be daunting, but meaningful innovation offers the opportunity to meet those challenges head on.


(Top photo credit: POLITICO/Rob Lamkey)


Innovation that is personal, relevant and powerful doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires collaboration among the private sector, government and academia. It takes a commitment to join together and think about challenges differently, applying an outside, in approach.


That is why Philips partnered with POLITICO to host "Outside, In," a year-long series of conversations with innovators aimed at tackling big topics and solving complex problems facing our world today.


During the inaugural event on February 12, 2014 at Washington D.C.'s District Architecture Center, panelists discussed ways to harness the power of innovation through partnership. Philips CEO Frans van Houten opened the panel by crystalizing the company’s view on the importance of partnership as part of the innovation process.


"We like to think of innovation as a team sport. In this new Age of Connectivity, innovation rarely is the result of a lonely scientist experiencing a 'eureka' moment. It is a collaborative process, building on existing knowledge and earlier experimentation. Open innovation – employing the collective talent and experience of the private and public sector – creates chemistry and connections that can truly change the world."


The panelists included:


  • Joel Gurin, Senior Advisor at the Governance Lab at NYU, directs the Open Data 500. Gurin was formerly Editorial Director and then Executive Vice President of Consumers Union and Consumer Reports. Prior to that, he was Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the FCC and also served as Chair of the White House Task Force on Smart Disclosure. Gurin is the author of the new book, Open Data Now.

  • Peter Levin, founder and CEO of Amida Technology Solutions and former CTO of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Levin is credited with developing the VA's Blue Button Project, an online platform that allows veterans to view and download their medical records.

  • Nick Sinai, former venture capitalist and current Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Sinai helps lead the Obama Administration's open data initiatives and the White House's Green Button initiative, a public-private effort to provide electricity customers online access to their own energy usage data.


Indeed, while each source of new ideas has the ability to innovate, oftentimes that ability can best be realized through the collective efforts and shared talents of those working across government and industry.


Connectivity does not simply apply to our technologies. We must be brave and imaginative enough to innovate beyond the development of technology and business solutions, but also find innovative ways of working – ultimately coming together to build a more caring, innovative and healthier world.

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