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Co-creating with Philips at South by Southwest



I recently spent an inspiring week at one of the world’s most important digital gatherings, South by Southwest (SXSW) tech festival. Held each March in Austin, Texas, the festival dazzles with ideas and futuristic scenarios. It’s a place where start-ups are encouraged to mingle with the world’s foremost technology gurus and some of the most cutting-edge developments destined to shape our lives are unveiled for the first time.

It was an exhilarating event to be a part of and to learn from. We contributed by hostingThe Philips Digital Innovation Challenge.


The challenge saw three promising start-ups, specializing in digital tools to improve people’s health and well-being, pitch on stage in front of an expert panel, in a battle of ideas.

Finalists in our challenges included Atlas Wearables, a fitness tracker that allows gym-goers to use devices to track their performance and maximize fitness, and PUSH , a company that provides instant feedback and data for weight training, both bright innovations that go to the heart of what people want – technology that makes a difference for them. The first prize was given to Incomparable Things, an inventive app that ‘visualizes and inspires adventure’ to motivate a healthier lifestyle. It allows those who aspire to an active life to create a virtual scrapbook of images, experiences and location-specific data that can be shared with others to motivate one self and others to engage in healthier lifestyle behaviors.


Incomparable Things was awarded a week at Philips Headquarters in the Netherlands, and the opportunity to gain unique access to our technical and business experts, so they can learn from us and we from them.


One thing I noticed while interacting with these terrific start-ups at SXSW was that each and every one of their digital innovations treated the consumer not as an anonymous user but as an equal partner. By putting the user first and asking them the right questions (and listening to all the possible answers), they’ve broadened their understanding of their user and become better innovators as a result.


SXSW proved to be an important step in our journey towards leadership in digital. Over the next few months we will continue to build on the relationships we made in Austin, opening ourselves up to learn and co-create where possible. Stay tuned to hear about our upcoming week with Incomparable Things. And if you have a great idea to improve people’s lives with digital innovation, submit your idea on Simply Innovate!

Antonio Hidalgo

Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Consumer Lifestyle (until September 2014)

Antonio joined Philips in 2009 as Chief Technology Officer and executive member of the Consumer Lifestyle Management Team and became Chief Innovation, Marketing and Strategy Officer in 2011. Antonio left Philips at the end of 2014 to explore other opportunities.


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