The case recounts how Ivo Rutten, Head of Ventures at Philips Lighting, embarked on a journey within the company (now Signify) to promote his idea for a new technology, which he hoped would solve a common technical problem in shipping: biofouling. Biofouling is the colonization of a ship’s hull by organisms such as algae and mussels, causing degradation. Ships and other underwater structures, such as oil pipes and drilling platforms, all suffer from this phenomenon. The case starts by describing the innovation and venturing processes at Philips Lighting. Rutten tried to find a strategic fit for ShipShape (a project based on his idea) with the company’s mission and to identify which key players within the organization would willingly contribute to further developing and deploying the technology. Then he focused on analyzing and testing the idea to demonstrate its feasibility. Rutten had made great progress, from conceiving the idea to getting a proof of concept. But with some technical and commercial uncertainties still remaining, he knew the road ahead would be bumpy – ShipShape might not even survive the review process. The better he prepared, the greater the chance would be that the venture would survive.

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RSM Case Development Centre

Based on field research; 17 pages
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Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Tarakci, M., & Gatt, C. (2022). Philip’s Corporate Innovation (A): Lighting Up Shipping. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from