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General Mills on open innovation, product failure and trust

By Shane Starling , 27-Jun-2011
Last updated the 27-Jun-2011 at 16:28 GMT

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General Mills is throwing more and more resources behind an ‘intellectual outsourcing’ project that has significantly reduced its product fail rate. But gaining the trust of start-ups has not been easy, says Kamel Chida, associate director of its Worldwide Innovation Network.

“The main reason why we decided to embark on this programme was to really increase the success rate of our products and the time to market,” Chida told NutraIngredients at NutrEvent in Lille, France recently of the programme begun in 2004 to boost product success rates.

“It also stems from the fact that we realised that were a lot more smart people outside General Mills than inside and we could all gain by partnering with these people and take the company to a different level.”

“To be frank start-ups and small SMEs … are not very comfortable working with large corporations so we are very aware of that and we work very very hard to dispel that myth and we have put in place systems and tools that allows these professional partners to feel comfortable working with us.”

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