Steven Webb

Steven Webb

PhD scientist with 25yrs of experience

Sincerely concerned about the impact of open innovation on future scientists 

Winner of 10 open innovation challenges and architect of 130 solutions in the last 4 years in the open innovation realm.


Today we’ll take the journey to Houston, Texas in United States of America to meet Steven Webb. More precise, in Woodlands, TX, USA, a far northern suburb of Houston.

Steven is a diamond scientist and works for the drill bit company, Hughes Christensen Corporation, owned by Baker Hughes.  They make drill bits. He is the scientist in charge of the diamond cutters on those drill bits and he has travelled to China over 20 times in the last 5 years sourcing diamond materials and diamond-making equipment.

His daughter is a Princeton graduate, class of 2014.  She is working in Istanbul for the Atlantic Council.  His son is a senior in high school.

Steven is a “lone wolf”. He prefers to be alone much of the time.  He thinks a lot.

When he is not working, he is an avid cyclist; he rides around his hometown for 3 hours almost every weekend day when it is not raining.  He says this is exercise and to relish the fabulous weather of SE Texas, perpetual summer.

He grew up in Toronto; lived in NY (New York), OH (Ohio) and MA (Massachusetts) and he very much appreciates snow, ice, sleet and clouds.

He does his best thinking in Starbucks, with a 2.21$ coffee and 0.50$ refills (usually free if you smile and the owner isn’t a corporate supplicant to Howard Schultz, he says).

He won 9 times through open innovation platform; and once for IdeaConnection.  He has made about 130 submissions in the last 4 years.  It has been great fun.

The problems he succesfully answered through open innovation are:

Innocentive  – open innovation platform:

  1. Materials for Exhaust System
  2. Diverse Experts Required: Formulating, Filling & Monitoring
  3. Process for No-Waste Partitioning
  4. Novel Methods of Converting Carbonic Acid to Carbonate Anion
  5. Non-Stick Plastics for Liquids
  6. What to Do with All That Wastewater?
  7. Lightning as an Alternative Energy Source
  8. Faster Mixing Methods for Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC)
  9. Fabric Quick-dry Technology
IdeaConnection – open innovation platform:
10. Model of Process for Separating Seeds
When I asked Steven to give a title to his interview, he answered: Is open innovation a future dire relationship between engineers and owners that will impoverish scientists?  
Good question! Let’s find some answers!