Why Unilever is Betting on Open Innovation for Sustainability

The push for environmental sustainability is one of the drivers that is pushing Unilever to aggressively embrace open innovation. In 2010, the consumer products giant published us Sustainable Living Plan, which set some ambitious goals. In this article, Roger Leech, Open Innovation Portfolio & Scouting director at Unilever, explains why it is harnessing open innovation, the rationale behind publishing its technology “wants” in an online platform and what the company is learning about innovation along the way.

Of course, getting ideas from outside the organization is not a key to success in and of itself. Open innovation requires it to seek out partnerships with providers of the technologies that may be applied to its product development challenges. That takes time and manpower, and the likelihood of hit-or-miss results.

For companies that get good at it — that learn how to engage a diverse range of outside players in a targeted way — the payoffs can be considerable. In Unilever’s case, fully 60 percent of the projects in its innovation pipeline came through its open innovation process.

Read full article » www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/03/29…


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