Customer Stories

SunNight Solar

Using open innovation to advance solar powered lighting

To address the problem of the millions of people stuck in the dark after sundown, unable to access electricity, Mark Bent set up the company SunNight Solar. After having spent most of his R&D budget, he came to InnoCentive and its global community to deliver innovative, out-of-the-box solutions. Our process allowed him to proceed more quickly and with far less expenditure than he would have been able to achieve with his own R&D resources.

It took me 18 months to develop my initial product. With InnoCentive and my second product, the research to prototype took two months.
// Mark Bent CEO, SunNight Solar

The Challenge

  • The global need (and market) for off-grid lighting power is clear: more than 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity.
  • In trying to meet this demand, SunNight Solar had already spent over $250,000 on developing a lighting product, with not enough progress – how could he extend the R&D program while cutting the budget?
  • Mark Bent ran a Challenge with InnoCentive, asking solvers to create a solar powered flashlight that is powerful enough to illuminate an entire room.

The Solutions

  • InnoCentive motivated nearly 1,000 people to get involved in the Challenge, engaging people from around the world.

  • An engineer from New Zealand, Russell McMahon, delivered a product design that not only met the specification exactly, but which also included an added benefit of a 20-year life-span.

The Results

  • Mark Bent was able to achieve his development goals at an enhanced pace. In less than a year after he came to InnoCentive, the dual-purpose light was ready to go to market.

  • Since the implementation of the solution, hundreds of thousands of the flashlights (called “BoGo Lights”) have been distributed.

  • The project has improved the quality of life for many people in over 50 countries.

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