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Innovation
is a vital part of any organization or a workplace to remain competitive.
Innovation helps the companies to penetrate into the market faster, develops
market by providing better connection and helps the company grow. Crowd
sourcing is one of the innovation platform that that uses people or a group to
generate ideas and input usually via internet. Innovation plays a vital role in
the growth of any company.

Unilever
is one of the world’s renowned leading consumer’s packaged good company. In the
year 2009, Unilever announced their plan for 10 years with an ambition to
double their business by the year 2020, minimizing environmental impact and
driving sustainable growth ambition. It was difficult for the company to reach
the goals itself, so they announced that the company is open for anyone with
novel ideas to come and join their team to help them reach their goals. In the
year 2015, Unilever launched its global crowdsourcing community named
“Foundry Ideas” which is an open platform.

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The
main purpose of Unilever for crowd sourcing is to generate the innovative ideas
to help meet its goals it has set to reach by 2020. The goals comprises of some
bold targets such as doubling the sales.   The
topics and challenges that the Unilever has set for the external crowd or
people is enlisted in its own website “Unilever Foundry Ideas”. There
are three grand challenges facing in the today’s world in the areas of
nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. The challenges will be regularly updated and
uploaded to the platform. This is the starting point for the Unilever for the
Open Innovation Platform. Any person or party who wants to submit their ideas
or wants an opportunity to collaborate with Unilever team to help them achieve
its goal can join its “Open Innovation” portal.  They can submit their ideas on any of the
sustainability issues related to sanitation, hygiene and nutrition.

Not
only is Unilever inviting people to submit their ideas, they too are seeking
for the startups that can benefit the company collaborate with the crowd by
bringing innovative tools. Unilever is enabling the company’s global brand to
experiment with this new platform to work speedily, efficiently and
effectively.

 

DESCRIPTION
OF THE PLATFORM

In
order to grow their business and meet the challenges that the company has set
for itself, they are looking for people, businesses or partners who would like
to work with Unilever with the Open
Innovation. Unilever has been implementing open innovation for years, but
in 2009 they established an open innovation unit to associate with the outside
partners.

Unilever
Foundry 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 to
collaborate and develop ideas and be the part of the wider solution. It is the
idea generating mechanism. It is a platform for the startups, designers,
creators and innovators who want to co-create with Unilever. People willing to
collaborate can find the challenges they want to undertake from the Unilever’s
portal. To submit the innovative ideas or proposals, the Unilever Open
Innovation website will direct the participants to another website of their
associate partner which helps Unilever in crowd sourcing.

It
is obvious for Unilever to receive uncountable number of ideas, proposals from
the applicants. In order to properly manage all the innovative ideas from the
aspiring inventors, Unilever has hired the third party consultancy Yet2. Yet2
is an open innovation and technology scouting service company which helps
businesses to reach their objectives and mission by open innovation. The main
task of Yet2 is to evaluate and do the initial screening of all the submissions
of the applicants and process it. If the submissions get through the screening
criteria, Yet2 hands over the detail to the Unilever for further detailed
internal review. Thus, Yet2 is responsible for only filtering the eligible
applicants and evaluating if they meet the criteria and handling to Unilever.

This
platform provides a better opportunity for the Unilever to recognize the liable
partners and help them to bring up to the scale.

 

 

 

THE
INNOVATION PROCESS

The
innovation process in the Unilever undergoes three main stages:

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