Unilever launches open innovation initiative
March 20, 2012
LONDON — Unilever has launched an open innovation effort to offer innovators outside the company an opportunity to help the company develop products, services and solutions it needs to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact.
The new effort is an online platform, and each project is defined by a “want,” or a technical solution the company is looking to work with external collaborators to develop. The “wants” are listed in the new platform and include things such as technologies to bring safe water to the world’s poorest people, how to develop lighter and more sustainable packaging, and how to develop technologies that allows the company to further reduce sodium in food.
“Our global research and development teams consistently make innovation breakthroughs that keep Unilever at the forefront of product development and design,” said Roger Leech, open innovation scouting director. “But we know the world is full of brilliant people with brilliant ideas, and we are constantly looking for new ways to tap into this potential by working with partners who have a fresh, serious approach to developing exciting new technology.
“Smart collaboration with partners gives both parties the freedom to do business in new and invigorating ways — creating shared value along the way. It brings together the expertise and experience of our sustainable innovation capability with new thinking and creativity from partners, creating new business models in which ideas flourish.
“A successful open innovation model will be absolutely fundamental to us achieving our ambition of doubling the size of our business while not only reducing our environmental impact but increasing our positive social impact, too.”