Home > From the tavern: Innovation stories and opinions > Connect and Develop: how Procter and Gamble stepped up observing, associating, implementing

Connect and Develop: how Procter and Gamble stepped up observing, associating, implementing

Setting a co-creation and co-development mindset is increasingly a critical success factor for innovation. It impacts the entire innovation process by taking to the next level steps such as Observing, Associating, Rapid Prototyping, and overall reducing time-to-market.

Procter&Gamble (P&G), driven by legendary CEO A.G. Lafley, has been leading the way with their Connect and Develop (C&D) model for innovation. Amongst other direct networking and open innovation platforms, P&G invites anyone in the world to connect through their C&D portal and feed into P&G’s ideation pipeline. Within a framework that provides potential external innovators with the appropriate challenge, they invite ideas ranging from quick-wins to game-changers, from product or packaging to business model. The aim is not merely to grow the size of their ideation platform but to gear-up their capabilities to implement innovation skills and processes:

  • Observing by taking their feed directly from consumers’ experience in using existing products or feeling some unmet need
  • Associating by deliberately exposing P&G developers to cross-fertilisation opportunities
  • Rapid Prototyping and implementing faster by leveraging technologies that have been proven to work in an adjacent (or even outright different) field. ]

Since Harvard Business School first published a paper on this topic in 2006, results have been amply confirmed. According to P&G, more than 50% of their innovations that reach commercialisation – including flagship products such as cosmetic Olay Regenerist or cleaning device Swiffer Dusters – now originate from outside, up from 15% 10 years earlier, while innovation success rate has doubled and time-to-market has been cut dramatically.

A fantastic success story and a great illustration of the principle: to innovate, get out.

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