InnoCentive and The Economist Announce the Winner of a Challenge to Enhance Communities through Improvement of Public Utilities or Infrastructure

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Waltham, Mass. – June 4, 2012 – InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, together with The Economist, today announced the winner of The Economist-InnoCentive Smart Systems Challenge. Dr. Yuri Gordienko, a senior scientist at G.V. Kurdyumov Institute for Metal Physics of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, will present his winning idea at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Information 2012 event taking place June 5-6, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Challenge, which attracted more than 800 problem Solvers and resulted in more than 40 submissions, asked participants for clever, data-driven visualizations demonstrating how improvements to a public utility or infrastructure would improve the health, happiness, safety and aesthetics of a community.

The winning  solution – based on a pilot project currently implemented in Dr. Gordienko’s native city of Kiev, a city with high levels of pollution – is founded on the notion that while vehicle exhaust is one of the most dangerous sources of air pollution, global attempts to assess how emissions impact local city ecology have proven ineffective. Dr. Gordienko proposes community-wide installation of sensors near available traffic web-cameras to track a variety of elements (including gases, noise, etc.) in real time and over time (such as during different seasons, at rush hour and under various weather conditions). By integrating location-based data from these sensors using available information processing systems, scientists can develop an online “virtual pollution map” that allows communities to make real time estimations about the actual impact of vehicle emissions on a city environment. For municipal authorities, this tool has the potential to improve traffic planning and overall city management accountability, while for residents, the greater public awareness of air pollution can drive better personal planning and healthier behavior.

“The ability to gather data is easier today than at any other time in history and that access is driving the development of ‘smart’ systems – ones that are safer, more responsive, more convenient and more efficient than previous generations – in cities and communities around the world,” said Vijay Vaitheeswaran, China business and finance editor for The Economist. “This Challenge inspired InnoCentive’s global network of problem solvers to find new ways to harvest data for the benefit of communities and we believe Dr. Gordienko’s solution does just that. By utilizing cost-effective tools to help us better understand the impact of vehicle emissions, the winning solution has the potential to reduce pollution and create healthier communities across the globe.”

“This Challenge called for economical ideas for improving our communities and the huge response is a testament to how passionate people are about making their world a better place,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “Dr. Gordienko’s solution, which makes use of existing infrastructure and inexpensive sensors to capture air quality data and spot trends that could ultimately help us change behavior for the common good, is a perfect example of how The Economist-InnoCentive Challenge Series taps into diverse and creative people who can uncover novel solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The Economist‘s Ideas Economy: Information 2012 event will explore big data and the next generation of smart systems – the networks of chips, sensors, wireless technologies and intelligent software – that are converging to link the physical and virtual worlds and transform the global economy. For more information, please visit:

The Smart Systems Challenge is one of a series of Challenges presented jointly by InnoCentive and The Economist as part of The Economist’s Ideas Economy event series. For more information about the joint Challenge series, visit The Economist pavilion on


About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, network of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA, Nature Publishing Group,
Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before. For more information, visit or call 1-855-CROWDNOW.


About The Economist

With a growing global circulation (now 1.5 million including both print* and digital) and a reputation for insightful analysis and perspective on every aspect of world events, The Economist
is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current affairs publications. The paper covers politics, business, science and technology, and books and arts, concluding each week with the obituary. Its website ( offers articles from the past ten years, in addition to web-only content such as blogs, debates and audio/video programmes. The Economist is now available to download for reading on Android, iPhone, or iPad devices.

*Audit Bureau of Circulations UK/US, July-December 2011



Media Contacts:

Steve Bonadio

InnoCentive, Inc.

Marisa Borgasano
Schwartz MSL for InnoCentive

Amy Jaick
The Economist

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Wazoku is an innovation SaaS business that helps some of the world’s biggest organizations to innovate at scale. Whether it’s making the most of your employee's ideas, identifying new partners to collaborate with, or exploring the boundless potential of open innovation – or all three! – Wazoku makes innovation happen.