Cultivating Innovation in the Next Generation

Corning is the world’s leading glass, fiber, and ceramics maker, producing an array of life changing innovations in advanced optics, communications networks, display glass, and the ultra-durable Gorilla Glass. But the innovation that most excites Daniel Tseng, President of Corning Display Technologies Taiwan (CDTT), and these days is a smartphone camera flash that enables selfies to be taken in the dark confines of a nightclub. The selfie-flash is the brainchild of a 22-year-old university student in Taiwan who came up with the idea for the product based on the unique features of Corning’s Iris glass.

The student was the 2016 second-place team from Tatung University competing in the Future Innovators Program, near 6 months training and innovation contest sponsored by CDTT, Corning’s subsidiary in the Taiwan market. The Corning Future Innovators program and contest is offered to university and graduate students and challenges them to observe problems they see in the world and use any one of three materials essential to Corning – glass, ceramics, or fiber – to solve that problem.

In the case of the selfie flash, the student used one of Corning’s advanced glass technologies – Corning Iris™ Glass, a breakthrough glass that is designed for TV light guide panel to distribute light evenly throughout the display, making it ideal for producing super-thin edge-lit LCD displays. The student realized that she could use Iris glass’s properties to direct a smartphone’s light towards the user when taking a selfie. The company was so impressed with the idea that it made a working prototype.

The excitement over the selfie flash isn’t so much about the product itself, however, but in how it represents the creativity and insight exhibited by young talent in Taiwan. Corning is looking to cultivate the talent to develop future innovators for Corning’s own operations and its supply chain in Taiwan.

“Among the top foreign investors in Taiwan, Corning has the most comprehensive investment at all levels of the industry, from manufacturing and R&D to sales and marketing,” giving the company a wealth of experience and insight to draw upon, says Daniel Tseng. “Hosting the Corning Future Innovator program is the best way to pass this valuable know-how along to the next generation.”

A world leader in advanced glass manufacturing, Corning has thrived for 166 years on the basis of its strength in innovation. The company has made some of the world’s most crucial inventions in glass, fiber, and ceramics, from the glass envelope for Edison’s light bulb to cost effective optical fiber and the Gorilla Glass screens on smartphones. Corning has also pioneered industrial processes, such as the glass substrate fusion process that allows the company to produce higher-quality glass at less cost.  “We succeed through sustained investment in R&D, over 160 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, and a distinctive collaborative culture,” the company states on its website.

Corning first came to Taiwan in the 1970s, providing glass for the TV-manufacturing industry that was the precursor to the island’s thriving ICT sector. It later became a key supplier to Taiwan’s large-scale optoelectronics industry, establishing plants in the Taichung and Tainan Science Parks in 2000, followed by a Commercial/Government Headquarters in Taipei, Corning Research Center Taiwan (CRCT) in Hsinchu, and Corning Advanced Technology Center (CATC) in Neihu and the employees in Taiwan are around 3,500.

In keeping with its commitment to the communities in which it operates (Corning continues to be headquartered in the same town in upstate New York from which it takes its name, where it has been based for over 150 years), Corning offers a number of educational programs to young people in Taiwan, including the Corning Kids Summer Camp aimed at elementary school age children 12 and under and Science Fairs for middle and high school students.