Unilever to launch open source ideas platform

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 26 June 2015

Unilever is poised to launch an open source ideas platform to invite ideas from consumers, business, startups and any organisations to help develop behaviour change marketing concepts and drive its sustainability agenda.

The platform, called Foundry Ideas, will be launched later today (26 June) at Cannes Innovation Lions Festival by Jeremy Basset, who runs Unilever Foundry, the FMCG giant’s startup venture.

Unilever launched Foundry a year ago to work more closely with startups of evolving the way it does marketing and speed up the process of getting ideas and innovations to market, but wants to look beyond startups to bring consumers into the process as well.

Basset, originally from Australia but based in Unilever’s London HQ, told AdNews ahead of the announcement the idea is to broaden the pool of where ideas to tackle sustainability issues and behaviour change come from.

“We believe if you want to change consumer behaviour, the ideas are already with consumers so how do we harness those and bring visibility to them to encourage other people to find solutions, that also for Unilever to partner with people to find solutions.

“We want to expand the breadth of people we engage with. At the moment we work with startups and start ups are pioneering the marketing of the future, but good ideas can come from anywhere. Ideas are interesting but solutions are much more valuable, and partners with solutions are what were after – we can’t do all of this ourselves.”

Unilever Ideas will launch with three challenges it hopes to solve, and is inviting anyone, from anywhere in the world to suggest ideas.

There are incentives such s prizes to add an element of reward and gamification to the process, but in the main it hopes that by leverage ideas from real people – it can start to change behaviours.

The three challenges are providing toilet sanitation to 100 million people by 2020, improving the nutrition of people in Africa and inventing the shower of the future to tackle the water and energy use in heating water.

Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan was created to set out ambitious targets to reduce the impact of its products on the environment and society, by addressing behaviour change though marketing. It was evolved because the environmental impact of its products comes more from consumer use that from production and manufacture of products.

Unilever also invite the Foundry 50 – 50 of the startups it has worked with over the last year to present at the Innovation Lions Festival.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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