The FMCG giant, which owns brands including Lynx, Dove and Marmite, has developed a new platform called Unilever Foundry Ideas, which will act as a central hub for crowdsourcing briefs, letting the company drive innovation through collaboration.
The platform is being launched as a space for innovators, creatives, inventors and designers to "co-create" with Unilever by responding to briefs listed on the site with innovative ideas.It is an extension of the Unilever Foundry.
The business has committed $100k to piloting new crowdsourced technologies through the site, and said it would allocate money towards each brief as an incentive. Current briefs include work for its African Aromat and Sunlight brands, as well as Lux and Walls Fruttare.
Unilever’s senior vice president of global marketing, Marc Mathieu, said: "Through Unilever Foundry IDEAS, we’re creating a platform that allows us to engage with innovators, creatives, designers and anyone with a novel idea.
Although it is not a new concept to Unilever, our ambition is that by 2020 Unilever will leverage crowdsourced ideas ten-times more than we do today."
The "hope" Unilever said, is that some of these start-ups will go on to work with the company, which has 400 brands across 190 markets. Through the pilot, startups will also be given the opportunity to access mentoring, expertise and funding through Unilever Ventures.