Strategic Partners Procter & Gamble

Paul Swift, Open Innovation Manager, UK – Procter & Gamble

My name’s Paul Swift and I am the Open Innovation Manager for P&G in the UK.    P&G is a company that serves about 4.8 billion consumers across the globe, with brands such as Pampers, Ambi Pur, Always, Ariel and Gillette.

The science of formulation underpins pretty much all that we do in the UK and scientific breakthroughs are critical for us to be able to deliver the level and the speed of innovation that we want on the marketplace. But you can’t do that without a platform for world class research and we’ve been working with the EPSRC to really understand how we can actually catalyse the underpinning research that’s needed to actually move us, from in the past what would have been an empirical approach to design, to something which is truly predictive of the ways that consumers use our products to help us design better products and better solutions for them in the future.

Take the example of washing your clothes; the washing machine is designed to take away things from your fabrics, from your clothes, but what about the things that you’d actually like to stay on your fabrics, like a pleasing fragrance, or a pleasing smell.  So what a collaboration between P&G and a number of our academic and industrial partners has helped us to do, is develop new capsules that lock the perfume, the fragrances on to the fabrics, and that’s an example of the kind of collaborations between industry and academia, that could give us new products and new product forms and new product benefits that simply wouldn’t have been possible if the industry had tried to do it themselves.

Some of the investments that EPSRC have made for training, for example, in the Centres for Doctoral Training, have really opened their doors for industrial collaboration, and the ability for the EPSRC to work with other bodies such as Innovate UK.  Also the new national formulation centre really helps to join industry together with academia and that’s industry of all sizes, including the small and medium sized enterprises, supply chain partners and new technology companies can all access through this one portal.