In a program called Connect + Develop, P&G is trying to accelerate their internal R&D capabilities – provided by 7,200 R&D staff – by seeking to leverage ideas, talents and innovation assets of individuals, institutes and companies around the world. So they are not just trying to expand their innovation process to other employees besides their R&D staff, they are actually trying to expand it to include outside partners, customers, and even competitors.
Their primary focus is on ready-to-go innovations – solutions that have already been reduced to practice in some part of the world, and in disruptive ideas for their business categories. So in a way they are trying to identify lead users in their extended networks.
Some of the successes to date include Bounce, which was a ready-to-go technology acquisition, Spinbruch, which was a ready-to-go product acquisition, pump dispensers used for Olay Skin Care product, which was a ready-to-go packaging acquisition, and Swifter Dusters, which came from a partnership with a competitor.
Here is what A.G. Lafley has to say in his introduction:
I want us to be the absolute best at spotting, developing and leveraging relationships with best-in-class partners in every part of our business. In fact, I want P&G to be a magnet for the best-in-class. The company you most want to work with because you know a partnership with P&G will be more rewarding than any other option available to you.
Pretty powerful stuff!