Innovation Competition Winner Announced

It all came down to a little label. The Time-to-Toss label earned four executive MBA students a $3,500 cash prize and the rights to call themselves the first place winners in the 2008 New Product Innovation Competition.

The students who invented the Time-to-Toss label—Maninder Singh, Karen Laakso, Maria Brown, Rick Baker—spent six months working on the design and creation of the new product aimed at keeping patients from drugs that have expired and may be unsafe to use. The label works like this: When a patient receives a new prescription, they place the Time-to-Toss label on the prescription bottle. When the drug pass its expiration date, the label changes from white to red, and patients know that the medication is no longer safe. 
The man who started the New Product Innovation Competition back in 2006, knows a thing or two about innovation. Sushil Bhatia is the executive in residence in Suffolk's Strategy and International Business Department and specializes in global innovation, new product development, and entrepreneurship. Plus, he holds eight patents himself. (You know the expiration date on the side of your milk carton? Bhatia’s company, JMD Manufacturing Inc., created the fast-drying ink that makes that mark.) When Bhatia was asked to start a new course for the Business School aimed at creating new products, his class came up with 25 new innovations, and Bhatia saw an opportunity for a little fun. “Let’s start a competition,” he said.

The competition’s first year saw 25 entries, by 2007 that number grew to 127, and this year, Singh and his team beat out 240 entries. Participating students have to come up with an idea, do the market research, and submit a detailed questionnaire and either sketches or a finished product to a panel of international judges from varying fields. The judges seemed to think there were some pretty marketable concepts out there. The second prize of $1,000 went to a group of electrical engineering students who came up with Kronos Healthlink, a health monitoring device that allows medical personnel to access basic health information, and the Urvashi Bhatia Green Product Award of $2,500 went to Divesh Khushalani, who developed the Smarty Clock, an interactive alarm clock that ensures the device has done it’s job.

As for Singh, he’s pretty pleased with the competition’s outcome. “I recommend this to anyone who thinks they have a concept that might be marketable.” He should know. Singh and his team are now awaiting their patent approval on the Time-to-Toss label and are already working with Bhatia and JMD Manufacturing Inc., to get the labels on the market.