Sharing information, the future innovation strategy?

12th of March 2015 Article by Rob den Hertog
Sharing information, the future innovation strategy?

Rob den Hertog, project manager for the ISSA/Interclean series of exhibitions, discusses the future of information sharing and its possible impact on our sector.

Last summer, Carmaker Tesla said All Our Patents Belong to You as it released its electric vehicle patents to the world. Ceo Elon Musk said at the time that patents, "serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession".

It looks like the people at Toyota like the idea of making advanced technology easier for others to get their hands on. In an announcement Toyota said it would let "automakers who will produce and sell fuel cell vehicles, as well as fuel cell parts suppliers and energy companies who establish and operate fueling stations" get free access to 5,680 fuel cell related patents around the world.

"At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen. By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, you can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future more quickly, effectively and economically."

So what could this trend mean for the cleaning industry?

In a recent survey we asked the members of the Amsterdam Innovation Award jury and the Amsterdam exhibition committee to share their ideas on the trends and developments they come across in their companies, magazines and network. It was obvious that sustainability is a big issues in all regions. Furthermore the companies are developing more efficient cleaning products, equipment and methods. Also mentioned more than once was the need for standardisation, especially in this globalising world and companies working cross borders.

Technology wise the people interviewed indicated that much technology is stepping into our industry. Connectivity between all we currently know like machines, soap dispensers, towel dispensers and other equipment, GPS locators, advanced battery technology and artificial intelligence are trends mentioned. To make life easy for the operators new dashboards, user-interfaces and ergonomic solutions are being developed. There are also some signs that the business model of the cleaning industry is changing. Multi service companies, e-inventory management at location, rental versus buying are expected to be increasing in the coming years.

Coming back on what Tesla and Toyota are doing it will be interesting to see what our industry does with this new phenomenon. Will it also start sharing knowledge, will we see new technical cooperation, and will Intellectual Property issues belong to the past?

For now I find it our task as an exhibition organisers to encourage exhibitors to highlight their innovations and help them in spreading this news throughout the world. We do this by putting innovative products, solutions and ideas in the spotlight before, during and after the show, for all our visitors and relations to see and share. Is this enough effort, can we consider this as our sharing information asset?

Is the industry ready to share knowledge globally and will this make the industry even better?

ISSA/Interclean Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) takes place in Warsaw, Poland from April 22-24. Visit for more information.

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