By Ed Getty
Research Fellow
Procter & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH

For almost 165 of Procter & Gamble’s 170-year history, nearly all growth came from innovating within the walls of our own R&D organization. In 2000, our newly appointed CEO, A.G. Lafley, realized that P&G’s “invent it ourselves” model was not capable of sustaining high levels of top-line growth. The picture was becoming clear:

  • More and more innovations were coming from small and medium sized companies.
  • Individuals were actively trying to license or sell their intellectual property.
  • Universities and research labs were becoming more interested in forming industry partnerships to infuse their research budgets.
  • Talent markets had become globally accessible through the Internet.
  • R&D productivity was flat while innovation costs were climbing.

So in 2002, P&G began to move away from our long-time invention model and made an intentional shift toward a more open innovation business model we call Connect + Develop or C+D.

Connect + Develop is about identifying and leveraging internal and external innovation assets and expanding innovation capacity by tapping into suppliers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even competitors, from anywhere in the world, to solve problems and answer questions. P&G uses both proprietary networks and external open networks to actively seek opportunities to connect and collaborate with innovators from around the world to find the next innovative products, packaging, technologies, processes, and commercial connections to help improve the lives of the world’s consumers. Our CEO has made it very clear. He wants P&G to be known as the company that collaborates — inside and out — better than any other company in the world, and he wants more than 50% of P&G’s innovations to come from outside the company.

Each year, our C+D leaders, known as Technology Entrepreneurs, work with our business leaders to determine their top ten needs and then that list is used to do prospecting and sensing with our C+D networks across the globe. Our networks include C+D Hubs in Japan, India, China, Latin America, North America, and Europe, as well as a proprietary network of select suppliers, and a number of external open networks.

Our C+D website (www.pgconnectdevelop.com) was designed to be a connection point for innovators, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and researchers who have an innovative product, technology, business model, method, trademark, package, or design that can help deliver new products and services to improve the lives of the world’s consumers. P&G is also interested in commercial opportunities for our existing products/brands.

C+D began in 2002. By 2006, more than 35% of our products in the market had some component of C+D, and today, that portion has increased to more than 50% and continues to grow.

For more information on P&G’s Connect + Develop program, click here .


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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