In a past blog post, we’ve talked about our involvement in “Deplastify the Planet”, an open innovation program engaging with UC Berkeley students. Samsung submitted two challenges, around robotics and IoT, both leveraging Samsung technologies to better manage plastic waste.

As a follow up, we invited Schoolab, the global innovation studio that started “Deplastify the Planet”, to share insights on how open innovation programs are helping to solve some of the toughest problems we face as a society.

Open innovation is a must-have in a fast-changing world

By Alexandre Truan, Head of Marketing, Schoolab San Francisco

“Deplastify the Planet” is a one-of-a-kind project-based class offered jointly by UC Berkeley and Schoolab, where students work alongside major corporations with a single goal in mind—‘deplastify’ the planet.

Students from all disciplines and backgrounds work in teams on semester-long projects. Each team is paired with a corporate partner and spends the semester brainstorming, building and testing—all to solve the challenge of reducing the excessive use of plastic.

In a fast-moving world where every industry is constantly challenged by new incumbents, open innovation programs have become a must-have for R&D and strategy directors. Involving external actors such as startups, suppliers, clients, VC’s and universities in your innovation funnel offers great outputs:

  • avoiding tunnel effect
  • creating eco-systemic solutions
  • enhancing creativity inputs during the entire development process
  • leveraging additional resources & skills
  • increasing the overall reach of an innovation by creating ambassadors

Engage with young talent to tackle the challenges of the 21st century

One of the most important challenges of the 21st century is sustainability.

The urgency of the situation is well-known, and solutions need to be uncovered in every industry. It is an ongoing effort, and it is key that all change makers incorporate sustainability at the center of their design process. Moreover, the only way to create a long-lasting impact is by fostering all generations and industries to create systemic changes.

Involving university students expands the reach of sustainable innovative projects because:

  1. Including students in the problem-solving of a complex issue helps the student get a better understanding of the challenges faced by the corporate world. This leads to smart, implementable actions taken by students and young graduates.
  2. Engaging different generations offers diverse perspectives and leverages experience of the older generation while building on the norms and tastes of youth.
  3. Bringing outside thinkers in your innovation process creates ambassadors and carries your innovation vision to new horizons. Students will own the topic over the years and spread the vision in their different working environments.

“At Samsung, we understand that the key to innovation is the ability to look at a problem from multiple angles and viewpoints,” said Maria Khardaeva, Director of Programs for CTO Office,  Samsung Strategy & Innovation Center. “The opportunity to collaborate with UC Berkeley students provides us with fresh perspectives as we work together to make meaningful change and create a better, more sustainable world.”

By bringing together universities such as UC Berkeley and companies such as Samsung Electronics, we can help create an impact that’s positive for students, the company, and our global community. The Deplastify the Planet program will continue in the fall. We look forward to being a part of the change to help organizations build more sustainable products and services. Find out more about the program at