Multinational manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G) is to pilot a new joint initiative from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), British Design Innovation (BDI) and Oakland Innovation to help it identify and develop innovative ideas from outside its own research labs.
Launching this September and part of NESTA’s new Connect programme, the ‘Open Innovation Challenge’ will see NESTA and BDI mediate between P&G and small companies to open communication channels and draw in ideas, while side-stepping traditional concerns over intellectual property.
At an initial open workshop P&G will brief enterprising thinkers from outside the company on current industry trends and identify areas in which the brand giant is looking for breakthrough ideas. Participants will then be invited to submit new product proposals which will be reviewed by BDI and Oakland, without involvement from P&G.
From these entries, the ten most promising applicants will be selected and given access to mentoring, business support and up to £25,000 to further develop their ideas to a stage at which they can demonstrate commercial viability.
Only after a final short-listing will up to five of the strongest applicants have the chance to present their ideas to P&G. P&G will then have 45 days in which to decide if it wants to progress the idea and sign appropriate contracts, otherwise the designer will be free to take their idea elsewhere. In all instances designers will retain their Intellectual property.
The move follows P&G’s recent announcement that it expects 50% of its R&D pipeline to have external innovation involvement.