Hershey takes collaboration up a gear with first open innovation forum

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Open innovation, Innovation

Hershey hosts its first open innovation forum
More than 70 Hershey suppliers assembled in Baltimore on Wednesday (May 8) to attend an open innovation forum designed to help the firm improve and accelerate the innovation process via collaboration with external partners.

The Global Partner Summit, which will be an annual event, was designed to “create new ideas, new capabilities, more sustainable practices and consumer-focused innovations that will drive industry-leading growth​”, said CEO John P. Bilbrey, who has set an ambitious target of reaching $10bn in net sales by 2017.

Bigger, better, faster…

The suppliers were tasked with working on a range of innovation opportunities, including new product ideas, improvements to formulations and recipes, innovative packaging, and process & technology improvements, said William Papa, VP of Global R&D.

"Establishing a process to better leverage our suppliers' tremendous R&D resources and capabilities will open up new possibilities for developing breakthrough ideas.

"We will build better ways of operating by utilizing new technologies that are more efficient and effective.”

Open innovation in action

Once a buzzword on the conference circuit, open innovation is now an established part of most CPG firms’ R&D strategies, with many companies now employing open innovation teams, running internal and external open innovation events, and setting up open innovation websites inviting third parties to help it solve specific innovation challenges.

Many also work with ‘matchmaking’ firms such as NineSigma, which has helped R&D teams at some of the biggest consumer packaged goods companies in the world find partners and collaborators.

Open innovation will be a key topic at the Food Evolution Summit in Litchfield Park, Arizona on September 17-18, with speakers including Mondelez International's open innovation director Stu Stein,  Hillshire Brands' director of emerging technologies Lorraine Tam, and Bacardi's customer marketing director Chris Lee. Click here​ for more details. 

Related topics: R&D, Manufacturers

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