• Three trends that will create Radiology without Borders


    The theme of the 2015 European Congress of Radiology (ECR) is “Radiology without Borders”; a reference to the reality that while countries have strikingly different healthcare profiles – they share many of the same challenges and opportunities.

    From Belfast to Budapest and well beyond, health systems are struggling with high pressure on costs, the demand for more care, and the smart use of data. Today, radiology is at the forefront of fast-changing technologies that offer a continued stream of major clinical advances, better patient experiences, and improved economic value for institutions that can address these challenges and transform care across the enterprise… and beyond.

    Trend #1: We will see more and see it sooner – The introduction of quantitative digital imaging creates intelligence out of the image, making it no longer passive, but active. Spectral resolution delivers anatomical information and the ability to characterize structures. Hybrid Imaging is opening up new metabolic, molecular imaging frontiers so you can see both the cellular function as well as the molecular process underway inside a living patient – enabling assessment of how well a treatment is working so it can be adapted as needed. Add to that, decision support and algorithms that can, for example, track tumors during treatment. The bottom line?  An uncertain diagnosis leads to more tests and more costs. The right tests, integrated with relevant information about the patient, will create the shortest path to the best care at the lowest cost.

    Trend #2: Radiologists will become “integrators” – It is clear that the confluence of information from multiple sources – whether it’s electronic medical records, genomic maps of the patient, family history – increases diagnosis confidence. To use this data effectively for enhancing patient care, I see radiologists becoming “integrators,” of data and analytics. Radiologists will play an increasingly important role within an integrated team of professionals – specialists, care team members, and even the patients – to connect the dots through patient data, and develop a complete, holistic view of the patient’s care and treatment plan. Advances in radiology in the next five years will rewrite everything we know from the last 40 – we are on the precipice of major clinical breakthroughs and radiology can lead the way.

    Trend #3: Innovations will enable high touch patient experiences – New innovations are enabling radiology to add the human element in healthcare. The fact is, a relaxed patient takes a better image and doesn’t need to be re-tested. Today’s MRI can include a soothing audio and visual accompaniment. Equally, breakthroughs in radiation dose reduction and meaningful design are significantly changing the healthcare experience for the better. From a more comfortable and less stressful mammogram, to tracking the radiation dose of patients over time (and now, clinicians too), radiologists will be playing a key role in moving patients across the health continuum with more precision and efficiency.

    These 3 trends position the Radiologist as the cornerstone of definitive diagnosis and effective treatment. Radiology continues to be at the heart of excellent care, and I believe “Radiology Without Borders” is achievable, and even a critical need of the hour. 

  • Talking strategy and performance


    CEO Frans van Houten looks back on a challenging 2014 and the advances made in driving value for our customers and other stakeholders, as well as looking ahead to an exciting future.

  • How circular thinking could improve people's lives

    Henk de Bruin 2

    Boldness of action has never been more crucial to the health of the planet and the billions who live on it. Changes we make at Philips today will be felt by generations to come.

    Typically, innovation will be central to tackling complex issues such as ageing populations, middle class expansion in emerging markets, and new lifestyle trends causing health issues such as obesity and heart disease.

    Innovation, however, cannot simply be measured in terms of high-tech products that steer us through such dilemmas - it is about the fundamental principles that business is built upon.

  • Lighting up their lives


    Modern society has a worrying tendency to take our most precious resources for granted. Water, fossil fuels, marine, plant and animal life, the environment as a whole. It’s not until we come close to losing such things that we truly appreciate their worth and the essential roles they play in our lives.

    The same is true of light. In between the sun rising and setting, it illuminates a vast canvas in which we pursue our goals and interact with each other. But sometimes, because of geographical peculiarities, natural light is severely curtailed, restricting the way businesses can operate, children can play and society can function.

    One such place is Uppsala, a beautiful city on the eastern coast of Sweden, a 40-minute train journey from Stockholm. However, it is so far north that, during winter months there is often less than six hours of sunlight each day. School children and commuters leave and return home in darkness, experiencing a deprivation of light that affects moods, motivation to work and physical health.

  • Driving sustainable progress in a connected world

    Harry Verhaar 2014_Small

    The increasing connectivity in today’s world has created an environment rich with opportunities for innovation. Indeed, with the Internet of Things poised to revolutionize the way we live and work, considerable benefits are set to be unlocked for consumers and businesses over the coming decade.

    However, in a world where growing resource constraints are heightening concerns over access to a secure and reliable supply of affordable energy, it is clear that this era of connectivity must equally be exploited for another purpose: to drive progress in global energy efficiency.

    Despite global energy efficiency improving by between 1 and 1.5 per cent annually, demand for energy around the world continues to grow by 3.5 per cent on the same yearly basis. It is crucial that we move to close this gap and, by exploiting the connectivity between sustainable products in order to maximize their energy-saving potential.

  • In the International Year of Light, we can end light poverty


    We are a ferociously adroit species. We recently landed a spacecraft on the surface of a comet. Self-driving cars are on the roads. We’ll soon be able to print human organs. Yet despite all our ingenuity we still live in a world where 1.3 billion people lack access to electric light. That’s 20% of the population.

    Like food and water, light is a basic necessity that no human being should live without. The time for the world to recognize this is well overdue. It’s time to end light poverty.

    We depend on artificial light. Without it, hospitals aren’t able to treat people, pupils cannot study and shops cannot do business. Without it, we cannot move safely at night. Without it, community life is stifled by the sunset.

    Communities without electricity put themselves at serious risk by having to rely on candles and kerosene lamps. 1.5 million people die every year due to fire or respiratory illness because they are forced to rely on kerosene lamps. This is unacceptable, particularly as we already have the solution. We already have the technology that can end light poverty: solar powered LED lighting. 

  • The dawn of the Age of Health


    The 21st century will one day be known amongst historians as the Age of Health. Our tireless pursuit of a longer, happier and more balanced life has made great strides in the last few decades and it should be this rather than our mass generation of data that truly defines us.

    For the majority of medical history, people were little more than passive recipients of advice from professionals. Today, not only are people empowered to take control of their own health and make smart choices, they’re also taking advantage of leaps in mobile and sensor technologies in order to help them lead healthier and happier lives.

    In only a few short years, a wealth of personal health devices and apps have appeared that monitor everything from our heart rate, to sleeping pattern, calorie intake and stress level. While it’s exciting to witness the swift development and consumer interest in these devices, early adopters of health technologies tend to be fitness enthusiasts; the real benefit will lie in reaching those with less healthy lifestyles. 

  • Connected solution to our healthcare crisis


    We are experiencing an extraordinary revolution in the healthcare industry in which both patients and professionals have been empowered by a wealth of technological advances. Diagnoses are more accurate, wearable technology allows consumers simple ways to monitor their own conditions and data is giving us incredibly detailed insights into how to provide more meaningful care.

    Alongside these developments, more responsibility is being shouldered by governments and insurers who must meet the higher expectations and demands of their customers. And they do so in an age when people are living longer and costs – especially for managing chronic diseases such as heart problems, diabetes and cancer – are inexorably rising.

    Instead of simply treating the sick, we need to engineer a recalibration of the entire system. Patients need to be proactively encouraged – and enabled – to manage and improve their own healthcare, whilst professionals are freed up to treat more patients, more effectively.

    One of the most effective ways of doing this is to create a connected healthcare world in which medics on different continents can, at the swipe of a tablet or use of a mobile app, share information with each other. 

  • Bringing pride back to the community


    Innovation is not simply about technology. It’s about turning idealistic concepts into practical solutions and using innovative techniques to transform society in meaningful ways. That is why I believe that Philips’ Community Life Center is the type of innovation that will positively impact many generations to come.

    The Githurai-Lang’ata Health Center on the outskirts of Nairobi in Kenya used to be ill-equipped, understaffed and poorly regarded by the community. Now- after months of planning, refurbishment and training overseen by Philips and its partners- it is a beacon of hope. It provides much-needed primary healthcare services that save lives and eases the burden placed on city hospitals.

    It’s a place where, assisted by the latest ultrasound equipment in well-staffed antenatal units, expecting parents can, for the first time in their life, see their future baby grow and know if the pregnancy is progressing well.  New mothers can consult clinical officers in a clean, welcoming environment and families with a range of ailments can benefit from 21st century diagnostic medical tools.

    So it’s little wonder then that, since reopening its doors in October, the health center has seen an astonishing 1,300% rise in visitors. Daily, babies are now born in the clinic under the supervision of the clinic staff.

  • The digitization of cross-channel marketing


    With such a diverse array of cross-channel marketing touch-points, the process of engaging with customers is more complex than ever before. We know what people are thinking and feeling at precise moments, and can anticipate their behavior and decision-making.

    But it is only by planning how to incorporate multi-channel operations into corporate life ­– both in terms of digitizing our infrastructure and training staff to act in more agile, customer-centric ways – that we can truly harness the awesome power of such a marketing revolution.

    Change is difficult, especially in large companies like Philips. But it can be inspiring, too. It’s not enough to simply have the tools and capability; we also need to change the way people think, behave and work within and between departments.

  • Creating a culture of collaboration to drive open innovation

    Mike Schavemaker

    Ideas have always been the lifeblood of a technologically creative company like Philips. We have some of the most pioneering minds in the fields of healthcare, lighting, sustainability and urbanization collaborating to help us lead better lives and transform the future.

    Inspiration, however, does not always come from within. The greater scope that a business has and the wider its perspective, the more likely it is to discover innovative solutions.

    Which is why we hope that the Open Innovation Challenge will become an integral tool to the way Philips brings truly meaningful products to market quicker.

  • Mastering the art of failure: Learning to become an adaptive organization


    You can be sure that if you are not innovating, someone else is – and in potentially disruptive ways. That is the harsh but essential lesson this rapidly-moving, ultra-competitive digital age has taught us. Speed of thought and anticipation is vital but so too is speed of action, bolstered by the powerful insights made available to us by data.

    This was one of the primary concerns discussed at the recent FT Innovate conference in London, where I was among business leaders and digital pioneers who gathered to share thoughts and experiences on where this always-on, intricately-connected and data-enhanced world is headed. And how companies like ours are adapting to embrace these massive changes, often leading to a fundamental redesign of innovation practices and culture.

  • Introducing Collectively: The change we need to see in the world


    As part of a unique global digital venture, Philips has helped to launch a new project designed to transform the way we live sustainably.

    Collectively is a web platform which links together consumers, thinkers, environmentalists, futurists, cutting-edge small businesses and some of the world’s biggest brands to inspire new ways of living and working, to create innovative solutions designed to have minimal impact on the environment and strengthen society.

    It’s a platform that will focus on steps that can be taken now and propose ideas for the future – to create, innovate and listen to new concepts that will make our homes, offices and lifestyles more environmentally-friendly. Collectively will also inspire and enthuse consumers to invest in and campaign on ideas that can be scaled up to protect our planet’s precious resources – and also show them the products they can buy to ensure sustainability.

  • Asking the Right Questions: The Road to Definitive Diagnosis


    As the thousands of radiologists gathering this week at RSNA will tell you, diagnosis isn’t easy. It’s often a painful, tedious and fraught process for patients and their families. Clinicians are rightfully anxious about acting quickly and getting answers so they can move patients into the right course of treatment. Then add in the complication of radiation dose management, a very important issue that patients are concerned about, and clinicians are required to manage. As the technology becomes even more advanced, imaging options available to health systems continue to expand.

    Yet, as the role of radiology in the health continuum becomes even more critical, it’s not enough to hope to achieve “early” or even “accurate” diagnosis. Someone can give you directions that may be easy to follow and accurate in that they eventually get you to where you need to go. But those directions could include one too many turns, and bring to you to your destination through an uncomfortable, indirect, and expensive path that caused some confusion and potential swearing at your steering wheel in the process. What the industry is in a place to demand, and where we have the data to make it happen, is definitive diagnosis. 

  • Reshaping the Role of Radiology


    As the 100th (!) RSNA Annual Meeting is underway, my thoughts turned to how radiology has changed and to where it’s headed. As chronic diseases take on a larger share of overall healthcare cost (86% in the US right now) and we transition from fee-for-service to accountable care models, how will this impact radiology?

    How will radiology become more connected across the health continuum, like all other facets of health care? And what role can radiologists play, from prevention to definitive diagnosis, personalized treatment, recovery and wellness?

    To me, the biggest change in radiology is that it is no longer just about capturing and interpreting an image. Radiologists are expanding their perspective. They analyze data from an increasing number of multiple, disparate sources. But what does that mean exactly? How will the new generation of clinical informatics impact radiology?

  • The Radiation Dose Dilemma: Risk, Rewards and the Real Story

    Dominic Siewko

    Radiation dose from diagnostic procedures has become a topic of debate in the popular press. And with the Medicare payments for some higher-dose CT scans on the chopping block starting in 2016, the red flag has been effectively raised.

    Rightfully so – health care providers and manufacturers need to take every step to ensure the safety of both patients and clinicians. But there’s still confusion in the market about the definition of safety when it comes to diagnostic scans, and as a health physicist, I’m compelled to set the record straight on the real risk and reward of radiation dose.

  • Living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    Picture - Eli Feb 2012

    COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is highly prevalent, but few people know how serious the condition is or have information at their fingertips to make decisions about when they should talk to their doctor.

    Today, on World COPD Day, and every day, Philips is working to raise awareness of COPD among both patients and physicians and is committed to developing solutions to help better manage COPD across the entire health continuum. Check out this infographic to learn more.

  • Leading the way: Philips’ ranked as one of world’s most innovative companies


    To be recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies is a proud moment but when that honor comes from one’s peers, it’s even more significant.

    Which is why Philips is thrilled to be named by the influential Boston Consulting Group as the 29th most innovative company in the world. The prestigious organization asked 1,500 of senior-level executives who should make its annual Top 50, and also looked at our financial performance - shareholder returns, revenue growth, and margin growth over the past three years – and this year Philips’ extraordinary achievements have seen us leap 20 places.

    It’s a reward not just for the past year, during which the company has been making all the right headlines for its innovations, but also for building upon our more than 120-year heritage of ground-breaking products. That journey led us to reposition the brand last year with the launch of ‘innovation and you’ – a simple message that encapsulates our philosophy of developing products that improve people’s lives.

  • Using procurement power to improve lives in the DR Congo


    In the midst of the world’s deadliest conflict, there is a beacon of hope. Proof that it’s possible to pioneer a new way of working – and a new model of cooperation throughout the supply chain – that also improves the lives of the most vulnerable people.

    Nyabibwe, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a busy mining town nestled in a picturesque landscape. But for decades the nation has been torn apart by warlords. The DRC is rich in minerals – gold, tantalum, tungsten and tin. The latter is a crucial component in the solder of electronics and also found in many Philips products.

    However, armed groups run off with profits accrued by the country’s increasingly profitable mining industry.

    But not at Kalimbi, one of several mines in Nyabibwe.

  • How innovation can drive business transformation

    Dr Henk van Houten

    To be a great leader in any trade, one must also be a diligent learner. The two go hand-in-hand, especially in a connected world where strategies are being redrawn and business models recalibrated in quite disruptive ways.

    Which was why, in the Research Centennial year, Philips was eager to host one of the year’s most prestigious forums for Europe’s corporate innovation leaders. October’s European Industrial Research Management Association’s CTO conference brought together visionary innovation executives at the High Tech Campus and in the Philips Museum in Eindhoven.

    The event was valuable not just for what was said, but for what was shared. It embodied the true spirit of collaboration, central to the Philips philosophy throughout its century of research and innovation.

  • The Nobel Prize that has lit all of our lives

    1 Nobel Prize

    We take light for granted  – in our offices, when we turn the computer on, when we wake up in the morning, driving at night or even watching a football match in a floodlit stadium.

    But this week, the group of scientists who paved the way for lighting our lives in such an all-encompassing manner finally, and deservedly, achieved the ultimate award in their field – the Nobel Prize for Physics.

    If it hadn’t been for Professors Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, together with Shuji Nakamura, Philips would not have been able to build on their invention and introduce so many life-changing innovations.

    Life-changing not just for consumers who live in the West but, more importantly, for societies that, until recently, weren’t even able to switch on a light to read at night.

  • The secret of success at Dreamforce

    image 1 blog

    It isn’t often I can say I’m spending the week with Hilary Clinton, Al Gore, Arianna Huffington and Will.i.am. But this week, in California, I’m lucky enough to rub shoulders with those influencers, as well as some of the world’s most dynamic, forward-thinking technology gurus.

    The annual Dreamforce convention is regarded as one of the year’s most essential technology events. It makes sense of our disruptive digitised era, provides valuable pointers as to where the market is headed and how it is learning, and is where you can find the most interesting innovations.

    It’s the largest software conference on the planet and is organised by one of Philips’ key partners, Salesforce, with whom we are building cloud-based applications to enable healthcare professionals to better administer care and allow our customers a greater degree of independence, no matter what their state of health.

  • Helping consumers with chronic conditions live healthier lives

    image 1

    Dreamforce has started today, the annual event hosted by salesforce.com that attracts over 140,000 attendees. It is the largest Information Technology industry event in the USA. What a pleasure to be here again and discuss our collaboration with one of the most innovative University hospitals in Europe!

    Radboud university medical center, The Netherlands, is the first European academic hospital to use the combination of Salesforce1 and our Philips HealthSuite Digital Platform to improve the care of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients. These are patients who live with their chronic lung condition day and night but only get an overall health checkup twice per year. They will now be constantly monitored through a wearable sensor that is connected 24/7. This allows these patients to take better care of their conditions and care givers to provide proactive support when it is needed. 

  • Science fiction? No, the OLED will change our lives now


    When, 120 years ago in a small village in Holland, Anton Philips marvelled at the invention that was to transform the world, I doubt even he realised that one day his company would go into space.

    But that is the latest, most extraordinary journey undertaken by this company, in a satellite powered by NASA. For we are once again moulding the future with an innovation that might seem like science fiction but is, in fact, on the verge of changing all our lives.

  • When collaboration meets competition: The real lessons from the Dutch Open Hackathon

    Blake blog 1

    In a digital world, where rules are constantly being rewritten and business models seem in permanent flux, one dictum has remained as consistent as it is vital. Speed is of the essence.

    Speed of thought, action and reaction. The speed at which data can be harvested and meaningfully processed to create products that can be brought to market quicker and be scaled rapidly. This new, accelerated nature of business is changing our mindsets.

    Which is why Philips’ participation at the first cross-Dutch multinationals Hackathon was such a triumph, in that it showcased the endless possibilities that innovative strategies can bring in a short period of time. It revealed how extraordinarily creative solutions, utilizing complex sets of data, can be engineered at speed. And it showed that bringing different mentalities together in such a high-pressured environment can take innovation to another dimension.

  • Heart to heart


    I know you're busy, but can we spend a moment on a quick heart-to-heart? I mean a brief conversation about cardiovascular disease (CVD) – the world’s number one killer. In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 600,000 people die of heart disease every year. That's one in every four deaths. And, in the U.S. alone, CVD costs about $108.9 billion a year. Worldwide, CVD accounts for 17.3 million deaths a year. By 2030, the number is expected to rise to 23 million. 

    September 29, 2014, is World Heart Day in support of CVD awareness. This year, the event is focused on creating heart-healthy environments, encouraging us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk and promote a heart-healthy planet for those around us.

    Knowledge, as they say, is power. So here are eight heart-to-heart facts about CVD that I urge you to learn, share and act upon:

  • How the Internet of Things is revolutionizing healthcare

    Jeroen Tas 1

    The consumerization of the healthcare industry is developing with such rapidity that the entire market is being recalibrated. Companies that have never before exerted influence in this sector are swiftly becoming its major power-brokers. Business models are being redesigned to adapt to the growing influence of data-fuelled customers. Unique partnerships are being forged between agile start-ups and established brands to capitalize on this new digital-first world.

    Much of this change is the result of the revolution in data which is empowering people to live healthier lives by using connected devices such as tablets, wearables and hand-held devices. This  ‘Internet of Things’ means that consumers now have the power to take control of their own health in a highly personalized manner.

    The advances in cloud-based technology have also been key. This year, for example, a unique strategic partnership between Philips and Salesforce.com has created a platform that enables medical devices to operate in conjunction with deep sets of data.


  • The power of hackathons: When innovation goes open source


    Ideas are the lifeblood of a company like Philips. We nurture, develop and share them with a world that expects us to inspire. But the best ideas often don’t emerge from a single person – they’re the result of collaboration.

    ’Collaborative innovation’ has become synonymous with the Philips way of working. By building effective partnerships with outside organisations, encouraging internal team-building and consulting with our customers, our innovations become not only unique but meaningful too.

    And there is another more unorthodox, unpredictable, entirely thrilling means of collaboration that has had a profound effect on our company’s development in this new digital age. The Hackathon.

  • Digital transformation: Increasing the vitality of China’s health system

    Patrick Kung 2

    China’s progress over the past few decades has been nothing short of breathtaking. It has become an economic superpower, given birth to amazing mega-cities and become a hotspot for scientific breakthroughs. The transformation of China’s health system has also made tremendous advances that have improved the lives of its people. The average lifespan reached 74.8 years in 2010, current infant mortality has almost halved in comparison with 2005, and nearly everyone has a health insurance.

    But the country’s rapid industrialization comes at a price: some 85 per cent of all deaths in China are caused by chronic diseases common to developed economies, the care of which demands 70 per cent of the nation’s healthcare budget. In addition, the country’s population of 1.3 billion people is aging rapidly, making it even more urgent to find ways to keep the healthcare industry resilient. 


    Furthermore, China’s rural population has access to fewer and less well-trained doctors, because medical resources are being concentrated in the cities. Unless rural areas are given better access to health care, the quality of life in the countryside will not keep pace with advances in the cities.

    Thankfully, the use of connected digital devices is rising and rapidly transforming how doctors work and patients live. Take The Personal Health Management System, developed in Shanghai by Philips, for example. A tool for chronic disease management, the system lets medical professionals manage their patients more effectively outside of the hospital and gives patients access to care anytime, anywhere. At the same time, new emerging healthcare service models like medical consortiums are catalyzing the development of the Regional Health Information Systems (RHINs) platform, which will enhance the information sharing and facilitate operations among the community health centers (CHCs), primary hospitals and Level 3 hospitals. Such solutions effectively mitigate the imbalance of health care resources in China, increasing access while lowering the costs.  

    These and other innovations will transform the health care industry – as long as patients, care providers, the government and insurers are open to them, of course.  Everyone will need to adapt to different ways of working, different technologies, new business models and, perhaps most fundamentally, seeing health care not as a cost burden but as an opportunity to innovate.

    These innovations will also motivate companies and the government to invest in public-private partnerships as a way to encourage systemic innovation. China’s size requires solutions that are massively scalable, which won't be created unless the private and public sector work closely together.

    There is also an important role for multinationals to play. Some of them have been present in China for a long time and operate as local companies that know and serve the population’s needs. Many of them are also trusted and respected brands, which continuously bring innovative health care solutions and services with local insights to improve Chinese people’s health and quality of life.

    The public is also a crucial partner in the shift to a more sustainable health system. Like other nations, China has been influenced by globalization and lifestyle changes, leaving many Chinese people suffering from physical inactivity, poor dietary choices and obesity. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see the Government launch programs like Healthy China 2020, which centers on preventing chronic diseases and promoting better lifestyle choices.

    Citizens are also getting more health-savvy through social media and becoming more aware of personal health technology. All of this gives confidence that China can – and will – increase the vitality of its health system, led by its own citizens’ aspiration for a healthier future.


    -- Patrick Kung, CEO of Greater China of Royal Philips

  • Building trust: How digital data can be used to improve lives


    It’s the word on everybody’s lips. It doesn’t matter which country I’m visiting, or whether I’m sitting in a room with marketers, product developers or IT professionals.

    Everybody is talking about digital data. More specifically: ‘big data’.

    Although digital data holds infinite possibilities, it is also a concern for many people.  We are all bound together by increasingly intricate connections, and statistics about our lives are being amassed with every passing second. A business can choose to utilize this incredibly valuable data in two ways. First, as a commodity to be monetized. Or – as is the case at Philips – as a way to inspire innovation.

    That’s why we focus on what we call Trust Capital. The relationship we’ve built with our customers means that they’re willing to exchange their data because they know we will treat it in a responsible and transparent manner. We don’t value or collect data for the sake of data – it’s what we do with it that counts. And how we use it to improve lives around the globe.

    Data, for example, told us what families in different European cities like to eat for Sunday lunch. We then took that data and incorporated it into our new connected HomeCooker which, linked to some smart apps, provides specific ingredient reminders, recipes and advice to customers before they even know they need it.


    But it goes much further than that.

    What do a street in Sao Paulo, a traffic accident black spot and a city municipality have to do with digital data?

    Well, one residential street corner in Sao Paulo became known as one of the most dangerous places in the city because the angle of the road and the density of the surrounding buildings made it shadowy, dark and dangerous to drive in. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case thanks to a unique alliance between Philips, the Brazilian government and safety experts.

    We were able to analyze the speed of cars, when and where pedestrians crossed the road, and at what time of day or night drivers and walkers were most at risk. We assessed the type of lighting required, the angle at which it should be directed, and created a system that allowed local government to adapt the brightness in that specific area on an hourly basis. This protects both residents and the environment, as the system allows more control of electricity consumption.

    In such cases, data is what brings us even closer to the demands of customers or the needs of  governments.

    Data might be one of the most exciting and discussed by-products of digital innovation, and it’s also one of the most valuable. As long as we remember that data is not an end in itself – it is just the beginning.

    -- Blake Cahill, Global Head of Digital 

  • Seeing is believing: The power of innovation

    Mark Stephenson 12-2-2011

    There is a phrase I grew up with, one that will be familiar to many of you: ‘You do well by doing good’.

    It’s an inspiring guide to life but it wasn’t until I joined Philips that I realised it’s an even more powerful mantra when applied to business. There was a time when Americans only thought of TVs when they heard the name Philips but today, they understand that we are here to help society live longer, encourage communities to forge stronger links with each other and prepare a brighter, healthier future for our children.

    I’m reminded of this every day in the office when I greet my colleague Catherine. Catherine has a beautiful little girl, Alexis, who is blind. In most ways Alexis’ condition does not hold her back – she’s funny, vivacious, kind, mischievous… everything you want in a daughter. Last year Catherine had an idea – why can’t our engineers adapt some of Philips’s extraordinary lighting products so they can benefit her daughter and millions like her?

    lightaide 1

    So we accepted that challenge. Our innovators worked tirelessly; we carried out studies with our specialist partners; tested products and eventually created a special laptop-like product with bright, color-changing lights paired with incredibly clever programs that allow blind children to see shapes, colours and shadows. LightAide is truly unique and shows just what we are capable of when we listen to people and then strive to improve their lives. We innovated because we found a need.

    The initial LightAide prototype features a grid of lights whose colors can be changed and sequenced by the teacher. A big, round switch makes it easy for a small palm to gleefully pound away on it as the child reacts to the lights. It allows a therapist to assess how much a child can see, helping them to construct individual learning programs, as well as encouraging parents to engage with their visually-impaired children in emotionally-satisfying ways. And of course, watching the children have such fun is especially rewarding.

    But we didn’t stop with our initial success. A close friend of mine works with severely autistic children – could LightAide help them, too? After a few emails and some revelatory trials, we successfully adapted the product that Catherine’s daughter was using so that children with learning difficulties on the other side of America could enjoy school in a way that had hitherto been impossible.

    This is innovation at its most life-changing, innovation that has a strong emotional connection and thus real meaning. It puts the needs of individuals at the heart of everything.

    We have a rich history at Philips of creating products with our partners that make people’s lives easier. Now we are able to make products that significantly transform people’s lives in ways our parents and grandparents couldn’t have imagined.

    Not just in America, but in the poorest, harshest, darkest parts of the planet. For instance, our heart monitors are now used in some of the world’s most deprived areas and our solar-powered LED lighting systems help children in distant African villages attain even greater qualifications at school.

    And, through a mother’s insight combined with our innovation we’ve helped Catherine’s daughter and many other children to have a better quality of life. Doing well by doing good is sometimes just a phrase, nothing more. When you work at Philips you realize that it’s everything.

    -- Mark Stephenson, Head of Brand, Communications & Digital, North America

  • Social Media: Why we need to adopt platform personalities


    The smartest brands like to experiment. They understand that for a business to develop – and offer the customer products with even deeper resonance – they need to be occasionally daring and spontaneous. Not everything they trial will work but the lessons learned will be invaluable.

    I can’t think of a better digital playground for experimentation than social media, a sector so vibrant and fuelled with creativity that each week seemingly heralds the arrival of a new content-rich platform without which we’re suddenly unable to function properly.

  • Being entrepreneurial: Lessons we learned from a tech start-up


    What are success factors for great innovation? Out-of-the-box thinking, teamwork, clear objectives, and relevance – all of these things are vital. But, there’s another important element. Entrepreneurial spirit.

    You might remember that a few months ago, Philips went to the South by Southwest (SXSW) tech festival in Texas, where we set out to meet people who share our passion for improving people’s lives. One of the highlights of our time there was hosting the Philips Digital Innovation Challenge, where the American-based start-up Incomparable Things was awarded one week at our global headquarters in the Netherlands.  

    Over the past few days, we’ve opened our doors to Incomparable Things, sharing our expertise in developing digital innovation strategies and roadmaps and creating value propositions and business models. In return, Incomparable Things provided important outside-in perspectives on our digital journey, giving us valuable insights to drive us even further on this path. 


    This was a unique opportunity for Incomparable Things to gain access to our knowledge and experience, but also a chance for us to learn from a talented team of digital entrepreneurs. Alex Howell, CEO of Incomparable Things was spot on when saying: “Amazing to think that a company of 115,000 people and a start-up of three guys can have a fruitful conversation about designing digital solutions.”

    This kind of two-way dialog is the behavior and culture that Philips thrives on. Even though we are a global company, benefitting from the resources and scale that comes with this position, sometimes we need to behave with the agility of a start-up.

    In our Google Hangout session, Alex Howell from Incomparable Things and James Scott from our digital innovation partner AKQA discussed the challenges start-up companies face when looking for the next big thing. Lessons were exchanged that are just as applicable for larger companies like Philips, with this statement of James Scott in particular: “You are most vulnerable right after your biggest success, and you are most entrepreneurial when you are backed into a corner.”

    Especially in the digital innovation area, which evolves at remarkable speed, I believe innovation cannot be done in isolation. Utilizing external expertise is crucial, and luckily something we are used to. Ever since Anton and Gerard Philips founded our company – something we would call a start-up now – Philips has engaged in collaborative partnerships designed to share experiences and knowledge, ensuring we stay at the forefront of innovation.

    To remain entrepreneurial at heart, we have to continue to place ourselves in a different mindset, to ask questions and share ideas, and to recognize that despite being one of the biggest brands in the world, we are still learning and growing every day.

    -- Antonio Hidalgo, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Consumer Lifestyle

  • Kicking goals: How Philips lights are transforming cities


    When the stadium lights dim on this year’s summer football tournament in Brazil, the fans and players that have lived out their lives under these enormous spotlights for the last month will most likely associate the darkness with finality; the end of four years of hard work and anticipation. But the technology behind these brightly lit stadiums is actually giving many people the world over the chance to see their own cities in a whole new light. For them, these lights signal the beginning of something new. 

    Philips has been integral to this year’s competition because we’ve lit nine of the 12 stadiums with the world’s most technically advanced and environmentally friendly LED systems – an innovation we call ArenaVision.

    Beyond this, we believe this kind of innovation can also make cities better places to live and work in. For example, in Sao Paulo’s Ibirapuera Park, our lighting system has seen a 30 per cent increase in visitors, not just because it’s safer to visit but because the colours match the mood of the venue – warm, bright, relaxing and enthralling. Plus, our LED innovations have cut power consumption there by a fifth.

    The same is true in Argentina where, over the next three years, we’re replacing 125,000 lights in Buenos Aires, saving 50 per cent in energy costs and also significant CO2 emissions. The lights that allowed billions to watch the world’s greatest football competition in crystal-clear focus are the same lights that will enrich people’s lives as they walk to and from work, or between tourist destinations.

    These projects are also testament to our ability to forge the right partnerships. We always start by asking how we can make people’s lives better, to impact meaningfully on their everyday lives. Then we try to find the right partner who shares the same societal vision.

    For example, the Brazilian government was adamant that our innovations provide a lasting legacy for local communities. So we introduced lighting systems around the stadiums that would make it safer for families and cheaper for burdened local governments to maintain. You can see this all around Maracana, an area of Rio considered dangerous. Philips innovations have helped lower those levels significantly.


    We’ve also created the Light Up Your Game project throughout Latin America, for which Philips is installing 30 new lighting systems in previously deprived areas so that they can become family-friendly focal points for the community, where children can play and, at night, there can be social events that bring the neighbourhood together.

    The other part of our football legacy is the bulb itself. We’ve ensured that LED is the future of lighting – the bulbs are ‘greener’, longer-lasting and more energy-efficient. Few countries understand better than Brazil how crucial it is to nurture and protect our environment, which is why old-fashioned bulbs will be phased out there in three years.

    Sustainability is one of our most important goals and it’s one that we achieve with the same passion as goal-scorers on the pitch.


    -- Henk de Jong, CEO Latam

  • The future is bright: Delivering the Philips Gift of Light


    It’s often said that ‘seeing is believing’. Well, having just returned from the remote Vietnamese village of Thanh Son, I’ve seen with my very own eyes the tremendous life-changing impact the Philips Gift of Light is having on this community. Improving the lives of 288 families by bringing them off-grid lighting solutions truly exemplifies our brand promise – Philips delivers innovation that matters to you. I must say, I felt a huge sense of pride at how we at Philips are enhancing life with light when I attended the switching-on of the new solar-powered LED lighting. 

    In July 2013, Philips Lighting employees in 17 geographies were invited to nominate worthy causes or projects that could benefit from a gift of Philips lighting innovations and services. We received more than 200 project nominations from employees around the world. Up to five shortlisted projects per geography were then voted upon by employees in their geography, resulting in 18 winners (there was a tie in Japan – they had two winning projects), which today are in various stages of implementation. The Philips Lighting Management Team then reviewed all the winning projects and chose an overall winner – Thanh Son Village.

    The winning project – nominated by Le Viet Hung, Marketing Manager, Philips Lighting Vietnam – received a further round of funding to provide solar-powered LED lighting and emergency lighting for 288 households and a play area at the community center in the off-grid village.

    It’s a sobering thought that close to 150 million people in the ASEAN region still live without access to electricity. Vietnam has worked hard on developing its national grid, yet today an estimated 4 per cent of all Vietnamese households are still without electricity. The village of Thanh Son is located in a remote rural area, about 70km (a two hour drive) from Hanoi. The villagers mainly earn a living by farming and growing cassava. For 30 years, village life in this largely off-grid community ended when the sun went down. But not anymore. 


    We have now installed energy-efficient solar-powered LED lighting in 180 off-grid households and presented emergency LED battens and compact fluorescent lighting to a further 108 households where the electricity supply is intermittent. In addition, we have provided solar-powered LED lighting for the village community center using Philips Solar GreenVision road lighting. I saw first-hand how the ability to harness the natural and abundant energy from the sun and convert it into sustainable LED lighting truly makes a huge difference, especially in allowing children to study at night.

    As Le Viet Hung said, “The candles and kerosene lamps have been put away, and the smiles on people’s faces say it all. Children can play safely and study in the evening and village life has blossomed, no longer constrained by the setting sun. Our technology has not only improved their lives but ours too, showing that our innovations really do matter. It makes me feel good inside.”

    The Philips Gift of Light is not about us simply handing over a check and walking away. That’s why Le Viet Hung – having nominated the project – was part of the team of nine employees that actually installed the lighting. And we will offer the village of Thanh Son the same level of support that we provide to our commercial customers. We see this gift as the starting point for an ongoing relationship that provides a life-changing experience for all those involved. Delivering innovation that matters – what better way to make a difference to people’s lives?

    -- Christoph Schell, President of Philips Lighting Growth Markets

  • Bringing wellbeing into the healthcare discussion


    Healthcare discussions have long been dominated by conversations around diagnosis, treatment, and therapy – but in the last few years, we’ve seen these dialogues shift away from overcoming illness and move toward health and wellbeing as an objective.

    Is this a passing fad? I believe not. In fact, I think it’s a major factor in our ability to successfully transform health delivery.      

    Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 5.29.27 PM

    Health delivery will continue to include major investments in innovations for diagnosis, treatment, and therapy. But, just as crucial, it will now also require investment and focus in prevention and early diagnosis. Sustainable health delivery systems will involve traditional healthcare delivery professionals and places, but also expand to involve governments, civil society, and citizen consumers, not just patients.

    I believe that health delivery programs should encourage and assist consumers to take an active and empowered role in their own health and well-being by making informed choices around exercise, nutrition, sleep, routine physicals and other preventative measures.

    All of us have a role in the narrative on the best ways to create efficiencies, add value, improve outcomes, and achieve higher standards for health.

    Health professionals, government, and industry need to demonstrate a new kind of leadership with effective and engaging ways to encourage all people – not just patients – to create a healthier future.

    -- Deborah DiSanzo, CEO Philips Healthcare

  • Why necessity may no longer be the mother of invention


    Where once people’s behavior was the only driving force for new technologies, we’re now witnessing technology itself create necessities and bring about societal changes.

    Have a think about how many products – especially portable household appliances – that are in existence simply because we observed how people live. From food blenders, which were primarily used for making juices, the centrifuge market was born. The idea that music and information could be transported anywhere gave rise to micro systems.

    But today we are experiencing an effervescent moment of new necessities, with literally hundreds of new products launched around the world every week; products that create desires and wishes previously unthinkable up until now.

    Today, we cannot imagine a home without an electronic product in each room that, in some way, makes our lives easier ­– but before it existed we didn’t care if we had it or not.  

  • The future is social: The importance of making meaningful connections


    Connections. I can’t think of a better word that more closely encapsulates what Philips is about. More than 120 years ago, when Gerard Philips watched his workshop light up as he connected the metal filament in his revolutionary glass lamp, the link between innovation and the customer was forged – and it’s never left us.

    Today, the connections Philips makes with its customers are reciprocal. Through extraordinary technology, we can help people to live longer, richer and fuller lives and they can tell us in an instant what it is that truly motivates them, how a product has specifically connected with them, how we as a company can push our innovations to transform their lives in even more personal ways.

    This is what drives our social strategy. To create an intimately connected business in which innovation is not just clever, it’s meaningful. And there are at least three ways in which this happens.

  • How smart technology can lead to healthier lives


    Knowledge empowers. The more we learn about ourselves, the more we understand, and the more we are able to make positive changes for a healthier life. When collated and analyzed correctly, data tells us the truth. It tells how our diet may affect longevity, how our environment can impact health, how our immunity from disease can be improved by relatively simple lifestyle changes.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) tells us that premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory conditions can be prevented by more intelligent health systems, alongside initiatives to tackle risk factors such as poor diet and inactivity.

  • A growing tree needs healthy roots: Building on the potential of ASEAN health systems


    We’re now one year away from the planned launch of the ASEAN Economic Community ­– a single regional common market of Asean countries. This year, most of the region's 10 economies should achieve high single-digit growth and both production and consumption are expected to grow further. But while this growth has lifted millions out of poverty, economic inequality is still widening and around 10 per cent of people in this region still live on less than $1.25 a day. 

    Our region needs to ask itself how it can ensure that economic growth will positively impact the broadest possible range of communities and families. I personally believe that access to timely, affordable and high-quality health care is key, since economic growth is contingent on a healthy population.

  • Happy 123rd Birthday, Philips!


    In striving for a better future, it is sometimes enlightening to reflect on past triumphs. For the most creative imaginations can often be fuelled by memories of our proudest achievements.

    Anniversaries present the perfect opportunity to do so and today, to celebrate our 123rdbirthday, we at Philips have decided to look back at some of our company’s most important innovations. Innovations that revolutionized the world, lit its darkest corners, brought communication to the masses, enriched our lives and transformed our health.

    What links all of these astonishing moments in time is a simple philosophy that continues to guide all of us at Philips – let us create something that makes people’s lives better, that makes society stronger and the planet safer.

  • Innovative spirit: How Africa is turning obstacles into opportunities


    As recently as seven years ago, millions of Kenyans were struggling to access basic financial services. Without bank accounts, they were unable to transfer money or receive microcredits. Then, a locally developed mobile payment system called M-Pesa was introduced, allowing people without bank accounts to transfer funds as quickly and easily as sending a text message. Today, more than two-thirds of Kenya’s population use M-Pesa to make and receive payments and an estimated 43 per cent of the country’s GDP flows through the system.

    This speedy adoption of mobile payments captures the enterprising spirit of African innovation. It reflects the resourcefulness with which people in Africa find local solutions to local issues. It also shows how Africa’s challenges are opportunities in disguise and how the continent can leapfrog development stages without paying for their replacement. Mobile phones, for example, were rapidly adopted in Africa because of the lack of fixed telecom infrastructure. And solar panels are being adopted faster than in other parts of the world, because kerosene is so expensive that the payback time for investments in solar power is months rather than years. 

  • Shifting the paradigm: how innovation is driving Procurement


    A Philips electronic toothbrush is more precious than you might imagine. In its head there are rare-earth magnets that help the brush vibrate for optimal brushing awareness, ensuring teeth and gums stay healthy and your smile is even whiter.

    It’s an expensive component but an essential one, too, which is why we buy 20 million of them every year and continuously put enormous efforts into sourcing the materials responsibly.

    So recently, through our unique Procurement strategy, we hosted a special ‘supplier development group’ in which separate organizations within the Philips family sat together with suppliers to find a new partner who can manufacture this vital ingredient in an even more environmentally-sustainable manner, whilst ensuring costs are minimized.

  • 100 years of Philips Research: Reinventing ourselves to stay fit for the future

    Dr Henk van Houten

    This year marks the centenary of Philips Research, the institution that our CEO Frans van Houten calls "the lifeblood of the company". It's an epithet I'm very proud of. But it's also one we had to fight hard to retain.

    As little as a decade ago, Philips Research faced an enormous challenge: reinvent itself very fast, or risk becoming irrelevant. For many years we excelled in setting some of the world's most important industry standards, such as in Optical Data Storage, MPEG Data Compression, and Zigbee Connectivity. This work has had great impact worldwide, and is still a source of considerable license income for Philips.

    We realized that in much of our work we were relying on the continued validity of Moore’s law, which dates back to 1965, saying that the number of transistors on a chip would double every 18 months (later changed to two years) and that the cost would drop at a similar rate. This had enabled the dramatic progress in audio and video quality in consumer electronics, the drop in cost of data storage and telecommunications, and even the improvement of medical imaging equipment.  So we were living in a world where the future could be mapped out by extrapolating past progress – and in Philips Research we relied heavily on chasing the physical limits to make products more precise, faster, and smaller. 

  • Design Thinking is Dead. Long Live Design Thinking.

    SeanCarney_hr1 (2)

    I remember a few years ago, every conference I went to featured a talk about Design Thinking. The term, which refers to how companies tackle problem solving in co-creative and multidisciplinary teams using a fast-paced and iterative approach, possibly got a bit over-used. Then, user experience and digital innovation started grabbing the headlines, and Design Thinking started to fall by the side.

    But in a connected world, I'd argue that Design Thinking is more important than ever. Think about it. Some of the most awe-inspiring products and solutions on the market right now are hooked up to the internet. They use data streams to enhance the experience of the user, and evolve and grow over time. To create these increasingly complex innovations means we have to work fast, by capturing multiple insights and translating them into viable solutions even faster.

    To do that, we need a healthy mix of people to get involved in the innovation process. No single designer, or even team of designers, can ever hope to understand all the facets of a particular subject. Instead, we need insights from engineers, researchers and marketeers from inside the company, to name just a few, not to mention external partners and end users. Our role as designers is to orchestrate this process and connect the dots by empathizing with our customers and each person in the innovation team. One of our established design tools we use is the Experience Flow, which helps us to keep the practical and emotional needs of end-users at the center of innovation.

  • How the youth of Latam are leading the charge for change


    We’re always speculating about the next big thing – what will it be, where will it come from, how will it change our lives? But perhaps we’re looking for inspiration in the wrong place. Perhaps the next big thing is not an ‘it’ but a who.

    Because when you live and work in Latam, you quickly realize that the vibrancy, creativity, determination and intelligence of young people on this continent is truly driving its future.

    When we speak about utilizing innovation to transform our planet’s future and preserve its resources, to allow its citizens a life of unparalleled comfort in their old age and bring the finest healthcare to people who need it most, it is the younger generations to whom we must turn.

  • 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 hosting The 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. 

  • Why design awards are not only about a shiny plaque

    SeanCarney_hr1 (2)

    This week, we're celebrating winning a record-breaking 47 iF awards for design excellence. It's an achievement we're immensely proud of, both for the company and for the individuals who created each standout product or service.

    But as Chief Design Officer of Philips, there's one question I still get asked from time to time: what is the value of a design award? Is it just about vanity and publicity, or is there some other purpose to entering these competitions?

    To that, I would say that first and foremost each award recognizes the immense talent of our teams, and rightly so. Plus, of course, it gives our innovations the seal of approval from an internationally renowned panel of judges. That attracts new customers and clients, which in turn increases our overall brand equity and our sales. 

  • A new era of sustainability: Why prevention is better than a cure

    When I was growing up, my parents didn’t give much thought to recycling waste – if they did, it perhaps involved a trip to the bottle bank. The way they saw it, protecting the environment was laudable but not always practicable.

    Today, my working life begins and ends with these issues – and many, many more. How can we make products that improve people’s lives yet have minimal impact on the planet’s resources? Where can we find ecologically sound partners in the farthest corners of the globe who can help bring our innovations to fresh markets? Which new techniques should we invest in to ensure that the Philips of tomorrow is even more environmentally friendly?

    The global population consumes 2.5 times the resources that the Earth can sustainably support. Little wonder, then, that everything we do at Philips is underpinned by the concept of sustainability.

  • Good business: Why placing ethics over profits pays off


    Ethics is a term that’s often misunderstood, yet it’s becoming an increasingly important component of business practice, particularly in this region. As an emerging market, the Middle East has witnessed a significant growth and, with Dubai’s win of Expo 2020, this is set to further increase over the next six years.

    In the race towards a sustainable economy, the pressure is on companies to practice what they preach by acting more responsibly and reporting on their efforts and achievements. The fight against corruption is also strategically crucial for the companies’ community, in order to create a level playing field for today’s globalized markets.  

    Philips has long recognized these needs, and is actively engaged in various initiatives that contribute to raising the standard on business ethics, including the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative of the World Economic Forum, working towards a common goal. Philips has been a global signatory of the UN Global Compact principles since 2007, and this reflects the commitment of the company to high standards in accountability and transparency. In addition, to really make an impact, we find it necessary that our partners share our values when it comes to doing business in a fair and ethical manner, because ethics really do trickle down to each and every level of operation. 

  • Innovation That Matters to You... and Fast Company


    Who says that start-ups are the best innovators? We're 123 years old and still one of the freshest thinkers in the world, according to Fast Company who just voted us among the 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2014.

    “To win in such a fast-changing environment requires a new kind of business agility,”says Fast Company editor Robert Safian, whose team spent months gathering data about not just the normal things like sales growth and profit margins but also on "progressive, sustainable business models and an ethos of creativity".

    That's something which has underpinned our company since its foundation in 1891. We've brought light to the world and music to the masses, and we've helped to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Today, we're combining our technical know-how with a deep understanding of people's needs to deliver truly life-changing solutions for businesses, governments and consumers. 

    Because, for us, innovation isn't just about creating exciting objects that catch the imagination of our customers for one heady moment. Instead, it's about perfecting products, services and business models that help our customers to take care of people and save lives, to live healthier and enjoy themselves, and to be part of a more sustainable world.

    Last year, we launched our new brand identity with a promise that gets to the very heart of what drives everyone at Philips: "We deliver innovation that matters to you." Being listed in the Fast Company top 50 Most Innovative Companies is great recognition of that message and of our commitment to improving the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025.

    It's an accolade we're very proud of and one that we will keep working hard to earn as we deliver meaningful innovations to more and more people around the world every day.

    -Jim Andrew

  • Innovation and You

    Innovation and You new Brand line Philips

    At Philips, it’s people that inspire us. People inspire us to make and deliver innovations that satisfy their unmet needs. When we bring people and technology together, we create something really special: innovation that people truly want. 

    Of course, it’s easy to say this. It is also easy to launch a new brand line into the world because we think it’s what people want to hear and we hope it makes us resonate as the kind of brand that people trust, and want to interact with. But what I believe truly sets us apart and makes us different is that our company has always been based on the relationship between people and innovation. 

  • The power of lighting: How LEDs are helping to transform communities


    The most memorable football match I’ve ever had the privilege of watching took place a few weeks ago in Ghana. It was dark, more so than usual because the sky was moonless, but the pitch was bathed in bright, white light. Sounds unremarkable but it was actually the first time the players had ever experienced playing under artificial light. The community, too, had never seen live sport at night and the pitch had never hosted this many people after the sun had set.

    Watching or playing live sport at night is something we take for granted in the West but here in Africa, the seemingly simple act of erecting four portable lampposts that support strings of solar-powerful LED streetlights has had an unbelievably transformative effect on people.

  • Raising awareness around breast cancer and creating the future of healthcare around the world


    On the occasion of breast cancer awareness month, I want to share news about the work of our team in India on a program called Asha Jyoti, which means “Light of Hope” in Hindi and Punjabi.  Asha Jyoti offers breast cancer screening (and also cervical cancer and osteoporosis screening) to women in semi-urban and rural areas in northern India, and over half of the participants are from India’s poorest socio-economic families whose household income is less than $1 per day.

    Asha Jyoti is an example of a successful partnership with Philips working alongside India’s government-run Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and the non-profit organization, RAD-AID.

  • How the Internet of Things empowers us all

    Imagine a world in which, instead of just links between mobile devices, televisions, gaming machines and the internet, the cloud powers billions of once-inert consumer devices that are currently an unconnected part of our everyday lives.

    This isn’t the future. Today’s digital world, a world Philips is fully embracing, changes how we use the internet so it becomes a meaningful enabler of personalized solutions to improve people’s lives. The ‘Internet of Things’ has become central to how we innovate at Philips – and how we listen to, engage with and take inspiration from our consumers.

    Our cloud-enabled consumer devices not only serve people’s needs but react to them, empowering people to control their lives in ways that were once impossible. This is the reality of the 21st century – smart products must constantly evolve according to the desires of our consumers and we must be agile to satisfy them and create value. And we are.

  • Big Data: Can it really change our lives?


    Just the other week, my son sat at our kitchen table and looked at me skeptically as I recalled that one of the most desired gadgets when I was his age was a simple pocket calculator. Today, he and his friends have such a dizzying array of ‘toys’ designed to amuse, educate and stimulate, that the wonder of a hand-held calculating machine is lost on him.

  • Our innovation is proof that the customer knows best

    What’s the secret of great entrepreneurship? Hard work, obviously. Brains, leadership, brilliant ideas and the ability to inspire are all essential ingredients, too. Oh, and a little bit of luck comes in handy.

    From where I sit though, there’s something else: dialogue. The reason why Philips has become one of the world’s most dynamic, agile and entrepreneurial companies is because we listen, engage and learn.

    It’s what we call Deep Customer Insight (DCI) and it’s why food mixers in Russia come with a unique attachment that dices and cubes vegetables with utter precision in a fraction of the time usually needed for their salads. That kitchen skill is unique in Russian culture so we adapted our product to suit them. It’s also why the same kitchen gadget that makes soup in France will extract milk from soy beans in China, why a different cutting approach for men’s shavers is used in Africa than in Western Europe – because it suits an African’s skin better and reduces irritation.

  • WEF: a forum for innovation, equality and change

    rdj at wef

    Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is held in the Swiss city of Davos. One year, quite by chance, I found myself sitting next to one of Africa’s most successful businessmen.

    We started discussing the benefits of LED lighting: how it can save costs in terms of energy consumption and energy bills and how it needs far less maintenance than ordinary lighting. We then started speculating what it would mean for a large African country if the whole nation switched to LEDs. These ‘big picture’ discussions started purely because we bumped into each other at breakfast.

  • Social media: Why one size does not fit all


    It may sound bizarre to have one 24-hour period a year devoted to championing something that is so intrinsically bound up with our lives. But Social Media Day is a key event in the digital calendar because it allows the world to share. Information, technology, advice, the latest innovations, predictions of where we’re headed – all of it focused on an arena that, despite being little more than 10 years old, represents one of the key mechanisms that enables brands and people to interact.

    Social media encourages an engagement between brands and their customers that can make or break a business, sometimes in a matter of minutes. It allows innovative brands to react swiftly to customer concerns and personalise their messaging using real-time marketing to enhance their products. And it empowers companies by giving them deeper insights into trends and customer behaviour.

    Philips is a pioneer in these digital strategies because at the core of our DNA has always been an instinctive understanding of the customer, their needs and desires. For many years we have been developing social media strategies that mean we can stay one step ahead of our rivals by listening to societal trends and local propositions and predicting what our customers are next going to demand of us.

    Our multi-layered B2B and B2C approaches mean we can do this 24/7, at scale and with astonishing speed. Just as importantly, we’ve demonstrated why defining what digital means to a brand is as important as measuring its potency. It’s no good engaging in social media if you don’t first understand its relevance to your brand.


    For example, on Instagram, Philips updates content regularly to present a 360-degree view across the business. We run a series of independent accounts that are product and country-specific, allowing us to intricately tailor our messaging so that it carries real relevance and meaning. The more inspirational the image or video, the more likely it is to be shared and the more willing advocates will be to hunt out further Philips data on other channels.

    Our content is carefully chosen and disseminated by specialist in-country social media teams whose engagement style depends on the platform – our voice on Twitter, for example, is friendly, engaging and positive, whilst on LinkedIn we’re more formal and knowledgeable and on Google+ it’s the human element that matters most, so our tone is more personal.

    The important lesson is that one size does not fit all. Though social media is one of the most powerful tools that a brand possesses, it’s also a complex one – made simpler by proper planning and a robust editorial and publishing process. More on that in another post…

    -- Blake Cahill, Global Head of Digital

  • Saving lives: Why the future of healthcare depends on multifaceted thinking


    Escalating costs.  Care provider shortages.  A rise in non-communicable disease. These complex healthcare issues will require us to consider new approaches to find solutions.  One thing is certain: The answer to these problems will require a coordinated approach to manage people and patients from the home. 

    With technology-driven innovation, there is great promise for the future of health delivery.  Telehealth is a great example.  It is a multifaceted, carefully coordinated system of audio-video, monitors with sophisticated algorithms, and data presentation capabilities to help dispersed care teams manage at-risk patients and prevent complications when there is no specialist at the bedside. It’s a new delivery model that requires us to think differently and to coordinate efforts.  A network of people, hospitals, and technological expertise can address issues of access to care, caregiver shortages, distance, cost of care, and the need to improve outcomes. The model is scalable and sustainable. The model has potential for long standing public good.  

  • Are we on the cusp of a new economic revolution?

    frans 3

    500 years ago, it was widely believed that the world was literally the centre of the Universe. That is, until astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’s daring theory that Earth and its sister planets revolved around the sun. Copernicus’ unwavering confidence in his own beliefs not only challenged the orthodoxy, they eventually liberated society.

    I believe that we are at one of those similarly pivotal moments in history when being prepared to think and act differently – however heretical it may seem – will reap extraordinary rewards.

    The World Economic Forum (WEF), held each year in Davos, Switzerland, proves itself indispensable at providing a symposium where socio-economic patterns are analyzed and future trends are predicted. Perhaps this year we can be brave enough to consider whether these traditional models of growth and prosperity – despite the good they have brought us – are dangerously outdated. Perhaps, like Nicolaus Copernicus, we can be brave enough to challenge the status quo.