Can Industry use Blockchain Technology to Innovate Cooperatively?

Alan L. Johnson

The effects of blockchain technology are widespread on the EHSQ (Environment, Health, Safety, and Quality) space and in particular the chemicals space. In the article, "Six Ways Blockchain Impacts The Chemical Industry" Dr. Stefan Guertzgen, Global Director of Industry Solution Marketing for Chemicals at SAP (a German-based European multinational software corporation that makes enterprise software to manage business operations and customer relations) discusses the many applications in the Chemical industry like Innovation, Fostering Commodity Trading, Distributed Manufacturing, Asset History and Employee Qualification, Data Transmission, and Competing as an Ecosystem.

In fact, he says:

A blockchain facilitates close collaboration in an open or closed community (a dedicated community of experts) by sharing information safely with all stakeholders in real time, following the rules set by this community without the need for validation or authorization by third parties. As everybody works from the same data and information, costly redundant work can be avoided, increasing overall return on innovation and reducing time to market.

The piece that was most interesting to me was the use of blockchains to innovate securely among industry participants and be able to create a value-added digital industry. The thought of cooperative product development where each party owns their IP within the ledger is a distributed model not easily replicated today.

For process manufacturers and blenders there are serious challenges in preserving formulation confidentiality. The application of blockchain tech will remove the need to worry about leakage.

What seems natural to me is the need for large scale applications to adopt some form of standard blockchain tech that allows for the ledger to be accessed and the information used in a production, enterprise system.

One could easily see a blockchain integration into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and Environmental, Health, Safety, & Quality (EHSQ) systems.

I wonder what the impact on Innovation would be if we were able to remove competition and make more of a digital collaboration space.

While it is clear that we are some years away from networked industries innovating as a collective through a blockchain data structure, the possibilities at the moment seem endless.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. Do you work in an industry that is being shaped by blockchain tech?

Q2. Has blockchain tech affected any part of your life?

Q3. What are some of the benefits that you believe society will experience due to blockchain tech?