TechConnect Innovation News speaks with Brendan Boyd, Director of Coatings, Specialty Fluids & External Innovation at Eastman Chemical Company.
What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?The tagline for Eastman Company is ‘the results of insight™’. We strive to find new ways to meet the needs of our customers through a combination of internal expertise and external partnerships. We are a global specialty chemicals company that produces a broad range of advanced materials, additives and functional products, specialty chemicals, and fibers through our focus on innovative and technology-based solutions while we maintain our commitment to safety and sustainability. Some of our key growth areas relate to films for management of heat and acoustics, products for enhanced filtration, novel coating additives, improved fuel efficiency and increased performance in tires, and BPA-free polymers for packaging, durable & medical applications.
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships?Eastman works with technologies that range from development work in association with partner universities to collaborations with early-stage startups focused on enabling commercial implementation of novel concepts to alliances with well-established companies whose innovations align well with key growth projects within our company.
Tell us why innovation is important to your company and how this model supports your efforts to find new innovations. Could you describe 1-2 policies or programs your company has in place to support external innovation?At Eastman, we recognize that there is a diverse array of resources that can contribute to successful innovations that include universities, national labs, start-ups, venture capital films, suppliers and customers. In our external innovation area, we have successful academic alliances where we leverage universities for basic science and technology development with an increasing focus on systems and applications. These are complemented by industrial alliances where technology licensing, partnerships and acquisitions are used to accelerate our existing organic growth programs.
Why work with TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit as a technology prospector? Who are you looking to meet with?Our corporate sponsorship of the National Innovation Summit allows us to approach technology scouting from multiple angles at a single venue. The co-location of the Summit with the National SBIR / STTR conference allows Eastman to learn about a range of university innovations and early stage companies to assess alignment with our growth opportunities. We are also excited to share our technology needs through the Corporate Needs presentation to participants across the value chain with significant diversity in approaches to complex problems.