P&G Get Their Teeth into Open Innovation with Whitening Product

Published Dec-31-18

Together with a partner Procter & Gamble developed an innovative teeth whitening product.

Procter and Gamble, United States

The Story:

P&G Get Their Teeth into Open Innovation with Whitening Product Procter & Gamble engages with numerous open innovation tools and approaches to support innovation, following a goal set by the CEO of the company to produce at least 50% of its innovations from external ideas.

In recent years it has launched a wide range of products onto the market that have directly benefited from open innovation. Among them are Tide Pods, Always Infinity, Olay, Febreze air filters, Febreze vacuum filters and carpet powders, Febreze spot and stain removers and Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal.

These teeth whitening strips are made of a relatively thick plastic and have a type of gel on one side to adhere to teeth. They are meant to be held in place for five to forty-five minutes depending on the strength of the product and were developed with another company.


This successful product is the result of a partnership between P&G and Corium International, Inc. a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops transdermal healthcare products. The company's "form fit, no slip clean removal" Corplex technology attracted the attention of P&G's technicians.

It is a versatile polymer technology that can be delivered in liquid, semi-liquid and solid formats and allows for excellent adhesion and the controlled, sustained delivery of compounds on wet and dry surfaces and on flexible surfaces like the skin. Corplex consists of blends of polymers with adhesive, physical/chemical and water-absorbing properties.

Together the two companies developed the new product which is marketed under P&G’s toothpaste brand Crest. This allows the multinational to take advantage of a name that is already familiar and popular with the public. The Crest Whitestrips were launched in 2009 and were well received by customers as it gave them a new solution to whitening their teeth.

Win-Win Scenario

The partnership is an excellent example of how open innovation can create a win-win scenario for all stakeholders. It saved P&G from investing a lot of time and resources into R&D and both companies built on each other's capabilities.

In 2009 when Corium was honored as P&G’s External Business Partner of the Year its CEO Peter D. Staple said: “The success of this project is an excellent validation of what can be done when a great technology is combined with a great collaboration. Corium is proud of its association with P&G and the business success we have achieved together.”

As of 2016, the teeth whitening strips were reported to generate $250 million in annual revenue for P&G. In 2017 Corium extended its supply agreement to P&G oral care products until March 31, 2022.

By engaging with external partners P&G benefits from external technologies and ideas that allow it to create new products beyond its core business.

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