News of an exciting new program recently crossed my desk. AkzoNobel is launching an innovation challenge this month called Paint the Future. The challenge is an open invitation to start-ups and scale-ups to collaborate with AkzoNobel on new ideas to drive innovative solutions for customers. The effort aims to connect with new disruptive technologies and accelerate innovation in the coatings industry.

AkzoNobel CEO, Thierry Vanlancker, stated that the company’s passion for paint and innovation goes way back, and is even more excited about the future. “Led by our Chief Technology Officer, Klaas Kruithof, we want to work with visionaries and entrepreneurs, capture the creative genius that flows from open innovation, and paint the future together,” he said.

Launched in partnership with KPMG, the challenge is open to early-stage tech companies and institutes around the world, and will give the winners the chance to enter into a joint development agreement with AkzoNobel. The collaborative approach will benefit both sides, with the company committed to working with the winners on sustainable business opportunities.

 The program focuses on five key areas:

  • Predictable Performance: How can we collect and augment data more innovatively so that our predictions for real-world surface performance become more accurate and efficient?
  • Smart Application: How could your solution change or improve the way customers apply paint?
  • Circular Solutions: How would your solution enable circular use of materials at any point in the value chain?
  • Enhanced Functionality: What exciting new functionality can your technology offer to make coatings cleaner, more responsive or adaptive?
  • Life Science Infusion: How can your solution, containing bio-active technology, help bring better performance or innovative features to coatings? 

The company has launched a dedicated online platform for the challenge,, and is accepting entries beginning January 8. The finalists will be invited to attend a special awards event in mid-2019, when the winners will be announced. I am looking forward to hearing about the innovative solutions that are developed through this collaborative effort - stay tuned!