(This post continues the summary of fabulous stories and interactions at the 3rd Open Innovation Summit at Baldwin Wallace College’s (BW) Center for Innovation & Growth: Practical Challenges of Global Open Innovation featuring P&G on April 21st.)
Craig Vogel, President of Live Well Collaborative (LWC), talked about being an Open Innovation partner of P&G, focusing on the over 50 population. Craig, a design guru, is also Assoc. Dean of Research & Innovation at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) and an Industrial Design professor in the UC’s School of Design.
LWC’s purpose is, through discovery and sharing of insights, to create innovative products & services enhancing the quality of life for over 50 year old consumers. They do this through a unique model of working with UC’s schools of DAAP, Medicine, Nursing, Business and Engineering and companies like P&G, General Mills, Hill-Rom, Boeing, Citi, Kraft and LG.
The range of concepts LWC works on is wide and deep, but all focus on living well from age 50 on. P&G was one of the initial Open Innovation collaborators. LWC has done quite a few projects with P&G over the past 4 years:
- IAMS: reinventing the brand to include cats
- PUR: redefined water use beyond the kitchen and drinking to the house and household
- Tide: demonstrate value of compaction
- Old Spice/Secret/Gillette: discovering innovative solutions for body odor in aging population
- Crest: developing (in progress) innovative new oral care solutions.
On project in particular was the Mikan Ball. Students looked at how water influences the whole family’s view of beauty and health, especially as parents and grandparents. Japanese believed that bathing with aromatic organics helped healing, such as the orange-like citrus Mikan. Based on this, the LWC and P&G team created a Mikan-like ball, complete with the fruit-like texture, that purifies the water and provides aromatherapy for relaxation. Voila! A new product that gives a spa-like feeling to the home bath plus purified bathing water plus healthy skin!
In fact, P&G and LWC relationship has been so successful that P&G helped LWC create a design center at Singapore Polytechnic last September.
Because of P&G’s involvement, other consumer product companies have joined the open innovation collaborative, growing the Connect+Develop ecosystem. For example, LWC has worked with Hill-Rom on redesigning hospital gowns (finally!!). Collaborating with UC’s School of Nursing, LWC has redesigned the hospital tray table – a bacterial playground.
LWC is a very exciting type of open innovation and collaboration across multiple players – academia, large industrial (e.g., Boeing), consumer product companies (e.g., P&G), and non-profits (e.g., Cincinnati’s Alzheimer’s Association). Think about your company – what types of organizations can you reach out to that perhaps you hadn’t thought of? Give it a try!
Deb, founder of Mills-Scofield LLC, is an innovator, entrepreneur and non-traditional strategist with 20 years experience in industries ranging from the Internet to Manufacturing with multinationals to start ups. She is also a partner at Glengary LLC, a Venture Capital Firm.