The COSIA Innovation Model: Getting to Commercialization Faster

COSIA Innovation Model

When COSIA was formed, we worked hard to define how we wanted to collaborate across our member companies. We knew the key to seamless collaboration and faster outcomes was a common innovation model that would articulate how we could work together effectively. The model would define the steps required to achieve the desired outcome: deployment of viable technology solutions on a commercial scale.

Our goal at COSIA is to foster innovation and help innovators find the inspiration, resources and opportunities that will take their technologies seamlessly through various development stages. Here’s how we use the COSIA innovation model to create a common understanding on the pathway of accelerating technology development.

Say we’ve identified a particular challenge we think will move the needle on improving environmental performance in the oil sands. If we aren’t aware of any solutions that would address the challenge, we use the innovation model as a guide to how we activate the right innovation community to submit ideas.

The first questions we are ourselves are:
•    Are we providing enough clarity on the type of solution we are looking for?
•    Do our supporting documents give sufficient insight and direction to innovators?
•    Are all communications in a language that any company can understand whether they work in the oil sands or not?

Describing the technical challenge
The answers to these questions end up in a document that highlights the technical requirements of the challenge. But as COSIA evolved, we realized there was a need to provide additional background information on what had been tried before, what worked and what hadn’t. This information is now found in COSIA’s research reports, which are now publicly available. We also host briefing webinars that offered more details about specific challenges.

Putting out the call to innovators
Communications are the next step. Are we communicating the challenge effectively so that we get the attention of our target audience? And is our outreach campaign sufficiently robust to reach our target innovators? This may be an easy process, but communications can get complex fairly quickly if the target group of innovators is not immediately clear.

Getting to the right people
We begin by targeting innovators who have experience in the challenge area. You never know where a good idea may come from, but we can generally identify whether the technology solution we’re looking for is likely to come from universities and colleges, or from technology and service companies, for example.

For very narrow and specific challenges, we have to be very creative in our thinking. For one greenhouse gas challenge, for example, in order to reach our target innovators, we identified the top 50 patent owners worldwide and reached out to them directly asking them for submissions.

Innovation Model

Questions? Contact us at

Interested in innovation? Check out Peter’s other blogs.
•    Creating community to spark innovation  
•    Innovation road a crooked path  
•    Innovative ideas and the power of open sourcing  

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Explore our website and check out other examples of innovation success in the oil sands. 

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