Corporate Spotlight Interview: Sherwin-Williams Company

February 18, 2016 07:52 PM EST By: Regina Ramazzini

Speaking at TechConnect World Innovation Summit, Victoria Scarborough, Director of the Global External Innovation Team at The Sherwin-Williams Co., tells TechConnect about Sherwin Williams' technology and investment areas of interest.

  Sherwin Williams Victoria Scarborough

What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?

The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution, and sale of coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers.  Sherwin-Williams has interest in technologies, processes and potential partners that can help us meet the innovation and business needs of our company.  Our interests are divided into 5 broad subject areas:

• Visual Appearance: Unique appearances, new textures, visualizing the finish, color matching
• Painting Process: Make it easy, make it fast, improved transfer efficiency, reduced surface preparation
• Maintenance & Durability: Self maintaining, improved durability, corrode no more, extreme conditions
• Custom Solutions: Packaging innovations, smart coatings, unique experiences, paint alternatives, sensors & sensing
• Sustainability: Resource conservation, environmentally responsible, reduce/reuse/recycle/renew, energy saving

What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships? 

It is rare to find a technology ready to be adopted into a commercial application. Breakthrough technology is also a rare find, but may provide a differentiating win in the market. Between these two ends of the spectrum are emerging technologies that are further along in their development cycle. Sherwin-Williams will work with partners at all technology stages, particularly when a compelling solution may be possible.  In an effort to more efficiently screen emerging technologies, we often use our External Innovation Proof-of-Concept Lab to facilitate technology evaluations. 

Please describe your company’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.

The Global External Innovation Team at Sherwin-Williams is integrated into our stage/gate development model.  We scout for solutions to clearly articulated needs within our organization and test new materials through our Proof-of-Concept lab to rapidly determine if they add value. This allows for both developed and undeveloped technologies to be evaluated for adoption into our coatings portfolio.

Why work with TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit as a technology prospector?& Who are you looking to meet with?

Our goal is to create connections with potential partners who have solutions to our needs and TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit provide access to an impressive breadth of technologies that we would not typically find in the coatings technology space.  We typically work with a range of potential partners including universities and their spin-outs, government labs, start-ups companies, individual inventors, small businesses and other large companies.

For those that participated at the TechConnect-National Innovation Summit in 2015: What did you like most about the 2015 conferences?

The TechConnect Innovation Summit offers our company access to potentially many different types of innovation providers. By sponsoring a booth, we meet hundreds of new contacts and talk to many interesting new companies that we may not have met otherwise if we had not attended the event. This has been true every year we have attended.


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