A New Approach to Innovation Essay example

2132 Words Dec 1st, 2012 9 Pages
CONNECT & DEVELOP:
A NEW APPROACH TO INNOVATION
AT PROCTER & GAMBLE
Written by Larry Huston (vice-president for innovation and knowledge) and Nabil Sakkab (senior vice-president for corporate R&D) in 2006
PREMISE
Procter & Gamble launched a new line of Pringles potato crisps in 2004 with pictures and words—trivia questions, animal facts, jokes—printed on each crisp. They were an immediate hit. In the old days, it might have taken us two years to bring this product to market, and we would have shouldered all of the investment and risk internally. But by applying a fundamentally new approach to innovation, we were able to accelerate Pringles Prints from concept to launch in less than a year and at a fraction of what
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It was through our European network that we discovered a small bakery in Bologna, Italy, run by a university professor who also manufactured baking equipment. He had invented an ink-jet method for printing edible images on cakes and cookies that we rapidly adapted to solve our problem. This innovation has helped the North America Pringles business achieve double-digit growth over the past two years.
WHAT IS CONNECT & DEVELOP
We knew that most of P&G’s best innovations had come from connecting ideas across internal businesses. And after studying the performance of a small number of products we’d acquired beyond our own labs, we knew that external connections could produce highly profitable innovations, too. Betting that these connections were the key to future growth, Lafley made it our goal to acquire 50% of our innovations outside the company. The strategy wasn’t to replace the capabilities of our 7,500 researchers and support staff, but to better leverage them. Half of our new products, Lafley said, would come from our own labs, and half would come through them. It was, and still is, a radical idea. As we studied outside sources of innovation, we estimated that for every P&G researcher there were 200 scientists or engineers elsewhere in the world who were just as good—a total of perhaps 1.5 million people whose talents we could potentially use. But tapping into the

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