Innovationis a vital part of any organization or a workplace to remain competitive.
Innovation helps the companies to penetrate into the market faster, developsmarket by providing better connection and helps the company grow. Crowdsourcing is one of the innovation platform that that uses people or a group togenerate ideas and input usually via internet. Innovation plays a vital role inthe growth of any company.Unileveris one of the world’s renowned leading consumer’s packaged good company. In theyear 2009, Unilever announced their plan for 10 years with an ambition todouble their business by the year 2020, minimizing environmental impact anddriving sustainable growth ambition. It was difficult for the company to reachthe goals itself, so they announced that the company is open for anyone withnovel ideas to come and join their team to help them reach their goals. In theyear 2015, Unilever launched its global crowdsourcing community named”Foundry Ideas” which is an open platform.
Themain purpose of Unilever for crowd sourcing is to generate the innovative ideasto help meet its goals it has set to reach by 2020. The goals comprises of somebold targets such as doubling the sales. Thetopics and challenges that the Unilever has set for the external crowd orpeople is enlisted in its own website “Unilever Foundry Ideas”. Thereare three grand challenges facing in the today’s world in the areas ofnutrition, hygiene and sanitation. The challenges will be regularly updated anduploaded to the platform. This is the starting point for the Unilever for theOpen Innovation Platform. Any person or party who wants to submit their ideasor wants an opportunity to collaborate with Unilever team to help them achieveits goal can join its “Open Innovation” portal. They can submit their ideas on any of thesustainability issues related to sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.
Notonly is Unilever inviting people to submit their ideas, they too are seekingfor the startups that can benefit the company collaborate with the crowd bybringing innovative tools. Unilever is enabling the company’s global brand toexperiment with this new platform to work speedily, efficiently andeffectively. DESCRIPTIONOF THE PLATFORMInorder to grow their business and meet the challenges that the company has setfor itself, they are looking for people, businesses or partners who would liketo work with Unilever with the OpenInnovation.
Unilever has been implementing open innovation for years, butin 2009 they established an open innovation unit to associate with the outsidepartners.UnileverFoundry Ideas is the global platform for innovation which uses crowd sourcing as its main mechanism.This crowd sourcing platform helps the company to meet those people willing tocollaborate and develop ideas and be the part of the wider solution. It is theidea generating mechanism. It is a platform for the startups, designers,creators and innovators who want to co-create with Unilever. People willing tocollaborate can find the challenges they want to undertake from the Unilever’sportal. To submit the innovative ideas or proposals, the Unilever OpenInnovation website will direct the participants to another website of theirassociate partner which helps Unilever in crowd sourcing.
Itis obvious for Unilever to receive uncountable number of ideas, proposals fromthe applicants. In order to properly manage all the innovative ideas from theaspiring inventors, Unilever has hired the third party consultancy Yet2. Yet2is an open innovation and technology scouting service company which helpsbusinesses to reach their objectives and mission by open innovation. The maintask of Yet2 is to evaluate and do the initial screening of all the submissionsof the applicants and process it. If the submissions get through the screeningcriteria, Yet2 hands over the detail to the Unilever for further detailedinternal review.
Thus, Yet2 is responsible for only filtering the eligibleapplicants and evaluating if they meet the criteria and handling to Unilever. Thisplatform provides a better opportunity for the Unilever to recognize the liablepartners and help them to bring up to the scale. THEINNOVATION PROCESSTheinnovation process in the Unilever undergoes three main stages: