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Innovation - Turning ideas into solutions.

OBG understands that solving our client’s toughest challenges requires collaboration. By sourcing and supporting innovative ideas, both internally and externally, and applying OBG’s resources and expertise, OBG’s approach to innovation turns ideas into solutions for our stakeholders.

From internally capturing ideas, advancing custom innovations, and holding an annual company-wide innovation competition, to externally sourcing open innovation and hosting SPARK Innovation Competitions at universities across the U.S., OBG continually adapts to the future needs of stakeholders through creative thinking and successful execution.

Engaging Employees

OBG continues to grow a culture of innovation where employee creativity is encouraged and ideas are continuously captured. OBG’s innovation program evaluates ideas and commits funding to implement those ideas and solutions that differentiate the business and support its growth. Many ideas come from OBG's company-wide I-Factor innovation competition, which energizes and inspires collaboration, creativity, and ideation among employees.

What is I-Factor? OBG's company-wide innovation competition focuses on leveraging innovation to enhance business growth. Each year, the competition centers on a problem statement that encourages employees to find solutions to challenges in line with OBG’s growth strategy. Four teams are selected following a company-wide vote to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of executive judges to win a cash prize, as well as an opportunity to receive OBG funding to advance the project. To date, ideas have been successfully advanced in areas of microgrids and energy resilience, advancement of fuel sources, and unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and remote sensing.

Collaborating with Partners and Universities

OBG believes openness leads to inventiveness and advances the development of new technology. Instead of doing everything in-house, OBG strives to collaborate and tap into the ideas cloud of experts everywhere to develop new products, processes, and services. One way that OBG achieves this is through its SPARK innovation competition, which connects the innovative ideas of students with real-world industry challenges.

What is SPARK?

Connections with Clients SPARK is a 24-hour, think-tank style competition created to develop solutions to industry challenges in the areas of advanced manufacturing, energy, environment, and water. Hosted at select universities across the U.S., SPARK brings OBG and its clients together in partnership to provide college and university students the chance to solve real-world challenges, with real-world engineers and scientists, working alongside real-world industry representatives.

Started in 2013 as a partnership with Syracuse University, SPARK has since been scaled to competitions comprised of multiple universities. As part of each competition, diverse, cross-discipline student teams are provided problem statements and given just under 24 hours to come up with a solution. Guided by subject matter experts from OBG and industry partners, the teams ideate, develop concepts, and pitch their solutions to a panel of academic and private sector judges to win a cash prize.

Connections with Communities OBG believes that to meet our mission of people creating a better future by making a difference each day, we must not only provide thought leadership and innovative and integrated solutions for our clients, but also use our capacity to engage with and support key initiatives designed to strengthen the communities in which we, and our clients, live and work. As part of each SPARK competition, OBG connects innovation, thought leadership, and corporate social responsibility by supporting initiatives that promote positive social impact through STEM education, environmental stewardship, community resilience and infrastructure, and health, wellness, and safety.