Sunday 10 August 2014

Innovation Foundation

I've been lucky in my time as a freelancer to work with some of the biggest names in marketing - such as P&G - and also with a number of very creative small organisations and individuals, for whom the cost of an ad agency on their business is prohibitive.

As a general rule, a top marketer at a company like P&G and a creative entrepreneur will tend to move in different worlds, and play by different rules, but I was impressed to see a new development from Unilever that attempts to bring the two together, for mutual benefit.

In the spirit of co-creation and collaboration, Unilever have launched The Foundry - a platform whereby the marketing people for the big brands can get together with entrepreneurs and inventors to work on challenges to improve people's daily lives.

It's a kind of David meets Goliath - and they make friends. Your ingenuity, creativity and agility for our investment, mentorship and marketing muscle.

Under the heading of "Collaborate. Experiment. Pioneer," a number of projects and challenges based around Unilever brands or groups of brands, are put up for pitch to technology start-ups. These range from the Young Entrepreneurs' Award - for anyone under 30 with a new product, service or app that could make a big difference to enable sustainable living - to Smart Bathroom - enabling families to plan/predict/recommend, organise and enjoy their personal grooming products more effectively and efficiently - to Smart Wardrobe - backed by Persil/Omo to maximise value from the family's clothes while reducing environmental impact.

I'm sure this will result in more breakthrough innovations than yet another new air freshener fragrance.

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