Open Innovation Partnership Leads to Breakthrough Laundry Product
Through its open innovation portal Connect and Develop, Procter and Gamble forge a partnership with an Indiana-based company that leads to the creation of a revolutionary laundry product.
Procter and Gamble/MonoSol, United States
Procter and Gamble is one of the world’s biggest and most successful consumer products companies. In recent years it has been widely lauded for its Connect and Develop program. This is an open innovation portal that integrates external knowledge sources with a strong internal R&D program. Through Connect and Develop, P&G connects with individual innovators and academic partners, forms joint ventures and much more.
There have been many success stories, one of which is a partnership to create a product the company believes could transform the way we do laundry.
Introducing Tide Pods
Tide Pods is a line of highly concentrated liquid detergent tablets that P&G describes as its biggest laundry innovation in a quarter of a century. The tabs are similar to, but more complex than the single-chamber liquid-filled laundry tabs that it sells in Europe. The three-chamber product is housed in a clear fishbowl-style container with a flip-top lid.
Developing the Technology
To create the breakthrough film technology the product needed, P&G teamed up with MonoSol from Indiana, a leader in water-soluble film delivery systems and a company that P&G has worked with previously.
The development of Tide Pods presented numerous challenges. Each of the three chambers within a tablet has a different cleaning solution. They have to remain separate until fully immersed in water, and the film around the solutions has to dissolve completely in a range of temperatures without leaving a residue.
The other challenges that had to be resolved were that whatever film they came up with had to be cost effective and run on production lines effectively.
“The Tide Pods technology is a leapfrog in many aspects in terms of the state of the art in monodose detergents,” said Tom Yogan, MonoSol VP and Technical Director.
A Strong Collaboration
P&G and MonoSol did not work in isolation from each other; this open innovation partnership was truly collaborative. The chemistry that allows the film and the detergent to work together came out of the teamwork.
“It was a very intense collaboration,” adds Yogan. “We placed people at each other’s sites to work on the program. So we really don’t argue then about who invents what because we are all trying to get to the same goal – to get the best product outcome. And that’s when you achieve the greatness.”
The companies worked on the product for several years and this resulted in patents pending for both. P&G and MonoSol believe that a strong partnership based on trust greatly accelerates innovation.
The fruits of their open innovation approach are there for all to see. Tide Pods created a big splash when they launched and within the first year had captured 68% of category share.
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