Several companies have internal incubators or other programs to foster innovation from outside the company. Hexagon has been pursuing one method of innovation—acquisitions. But it also has an “open innovation start-up platform” called Sixth Sense targeted to “accelerate technology commercialisation in global manufacturing industry.”

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division launched Sixth Sense to bring together start-ups and industry-leading companies to create transformative solutions that benefit everyone. It promotes sharing resources, data and ideas to fast-track progress and solve real-world problems which address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, such as the journey to net zero. The challenge areas include Sustainability, Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Sensors and Robotics.

Sixth Sense’s first themed challenge – Artificial Intelligence (AI) for sustainable Smart Manufacturing – encompasses all these areas and is also accepting dedicated applications, with start-ups encouraged to register their interest for future themed challenges and events.

Parth Joshi, Chief Product and Technology Officer of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, said: “We are searching for intelligent, efficient solutions that will not only enhance performance, but benefit people and the planet. Industry 4.0 is evolving and pushing to solve complex challenges, but the catch is that you cannot solve big problems without solving lots of little ones at each step with innovation.”

The 10 most innovative proposals will be chosen for an intensive innovate-on-the-job scaling programme, supported by Hexagon, key clients and world-leading mentors. Three final concepts will be offered opportunities to globalise and scale their business as commercial joint ventures.

Milan Kocić, Head of Sixth Sense for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, said: “Sixth Sense will build a bridge between small businesses and larger manufacturers; helping overcome start-ups’ challenges with scaling, while simultaneously meeting the industry’s need for new ideas.”

The platform has already partnered with a number of promising young companies, and is founded on the principle that diversity is fundamental to innovation and establishing such a thriving open ecosystem.

The selection criteria for Sixth Sense include:

• $1m or less in revenue

• 1-5 years in existence

• Post seed, Series A, Series A+

• Proven traction and product-market fit

• Propensity to scale

Preferred qualities:

• Validation of investment from third party

• IP & licenses

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