Date of publication: 11 January 2017

Braskem are the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas. Their comprehensive portfolio includes polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinylchloride resins, as well as basic chemicals such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, chlorine, soda, and solvents. They are also the largest producer of biopolymers in the world, which they make from sugarcane ethanol.

Their products work their way into value chains all across the world. With an eye on future growth opportunities the company is committed to the creation of sustainable chemistry and plastic solutions that will improve the lives of people in every sector their products influence.

The Challenge:

As part of the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge, they decided to look at how its products can contribute significantly to improving agribusiness performance. Five percent of their current revenue comes from applications for the sector, representing almost US$1 billion in sales for the company.

As the pace of innovation accelerates, Braskem are committed to move the company towards the use of open innovation tools that have the potential to bring in new ideas faster and at greater scale.

The Solution

The team have decided to invest in an experimental Challenge Prize platform with a focus on agribusiness. They have identified wastage as their first focus and the company will reward talented individuals or teams with ideas to develop uses for their materials that optimise the use of key inputs whilst increasing yields and/or quality.

Challenge Prizes are a type of crowd-sourced innovation. Although this is a centuries old approach to innovation (see the Longitude awards offered by the British government in the 18th century), it is still a relatively new concept when it comes to corporate innovation. In recent years Challenge Prizes have most notably been pioneered by the XPRIZE Foundation, whose CEO, Marcus Shingles, succinctly explains their importance to modern-day incumbent companies under threat of disruption with the provocation “the smartest people in the world don't work in your company”.

Get to know the team:

André Leonel Leal, Market Development Manager
André Leonel Leal, Market Development Manager

André holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering (USP), Specialization in Business Administration (INSPER) and Sustainability (FIA). He has developed his career working with Kyoto Protocol, Social Responsibility and Market and Business Development.

Bárbara Iria Silva Mano, Polymer Sciences Researcher
Bárbara Iria Silva Mano, Polymer Sciences Researcher

Bárbara holds a degree in Chemistry and a MSc Degree in Materials Science. Developed her career in polymers R&D, with experience on project management, partnerships with universities and intellectual property. Currently, works in Braskem R&D Center.

Get in touch:

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