Open Innovation Call For Radical Ideas in Packaging

Published Mar-21-20

Three breakthrough ideas that could transform the future of packaging.

Perrier, France

The Story:

Open Innovation Call For Radical Ideas in Packaging The innovation climate has been changing in recent years, with ever greater numbers of companies engaging with open innovation initiatives. This is primarily due to the realization of the benefits of working with external innovators for fresh perspectives and ideas. It is an opportunity for organizations to use those ideas to solve product development challenges and to incorporate novel thinking into their products and services.

At the same time, the smaller entities, typically start-ups benefit from such open innovation collaborations by having the opportunity to reach a broader audience and gain access to development funds. Done well, open innovation creates win-win scenarios all round.

Perrier and Packaging Solutions

One of those significant players to adopt open innovation approaches is Perrier, a French brand of natural bottled mineral water. Through an open innovation intermediary, it put out a call for novel and sustainable packaging solutions, in 2019.

The brief stated that because of concerns about packaging polluting the environment, it was looking for novel smart packaging ideas that could be even better than creating a carbon and waste neutral solution. "Can we go even further and imagine positive social and environmental impacts?" the brief stated. "For instance, a packaging that would improve marine biodiversity or aggrade soils."

During a Change Now summit in Paris in early 2020, Philippe Gallard, the head of Perrier’s International Business Unit, explained why the innovation paradigm makes so much sense for his company.

"When we started to think about what we can do in terms of sustainable packaging, we decided not to do something alone. If it's done right it can be a game-changer. But it is a big challenge we are facing at the moment. Through collaboration, you get new ideas and access to contacts you wouldn't normally have."

Gallard went on to tell Food that although Perrier has R&D teams they are not the only experts. Partnering with others will help them to create the best team.

Following the invitation to collaborate, Perrier received around 90 submissions from researchers, start-ups and non-governmental organizations. The ideas were judged on several criteria, including environmental and social benefits and the ability to scale across the sparkling water market. The net result was the selection of three projects that Perrier hope have the potential to change the future of packaging.

The three start-ups and their ideas are:

• PlastiSkul - uses micro-factories for waste transformation, an integrated approach involving low-tech and hi-tech solutions, from waste collection to transformation.
• Flexikeg - delivering water and other beverages in a re-usable flexible keg.
• Biotic - bio-based and biodegradable plastic made from agricultural waste.

Transforming Ideas Into Action

The next stage is to bring the winning ideas to life. To that end, Perrier is providing each winner with technical, operational and financial support, with a minimum of €100,000 and up to €1 million in total.

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