In 2005, G. Gil Cloyd, former Chief Technology Officer at Proctor and Gamble told IndustryWeek.com "An important goal for each of our business units is to identify technology fields that we believe can and will be very relevant." Cloyd continues, "After setting priorities some of that basic research will be done within P&G, but increasingly we network to the external world where some of the important research is under way and tie it back into our efforts." 13 years after being acknowledged by CEO A.G. Lafley as "the technical innovation leader" of Procter & Gamble, Cloyd’s legacy for innovation is extending its reach to the Air Force.
At the heart of P&G’s innovation pipeline are nearly 8,000 employees, 1,000 of whom are PhDs in a variety of disciplines in Research & Development. P&G’s Open Innovation program strives to engage external thought leaders from across the broader innovation ecosystem to help the organization accelerate innovation through collaboration. On August 2, 2018, WBI connected those thought leaders with the scientific leaders at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
The benefit of neutrality
Regardless of ownership, R&D environments tend to be stovepiped. John Mulhall of Irish Tech News says, “…the experience of R&D departments has been one of segregation that has led to a disjoint between what they do and what their colleagues are experiencing down the corridor.” In order to breakdown these stovepipes, WBI created a one-day symposium, with expert coordination, to begin the collaborative relationship between P&G and AFRL. Because WBI is a neutral facilitator, there was no hidden agenda during the symposium, reducing the risk of participation.
What can a single-day symposium accomplish?
In the four months since the one-day symposium took place, several collaborative opportunities have taken shape, for AFRL and other DoD partners.
The potential of these early collaborations can include CRADA agreements, licensing and product development. It’s just the beginning of tying Air Force R&D into the broader innovation ecosystem and accelerating warfighter capability.
This story was featured in our FY18 Q4 report. Download the report here.