Sunday, October 06, 2002

Latest P&G innovation is, well, innovation

By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The latest innovation from Procter & Gamble Co.'s board should increase the company's innovations. P&G's directors this year formed an innovation and technology committee, headed by Duke University Health System president Ralph Snyderman.

        The committee should help provide the attention and expe rtise to keep developing new products and finding improvements to current P&G brands, he said.

        “In many ways, P&G is a technology company now,” Mr. Snyderman said. “The success of the company has been and will continue to be in developing innovative products that people want to buy.”

        Research innovations have been a mantra of P&G management for years. But the new committee signals t he intensity with which P&G will share technical research among divisions, and look for outside ideas it might not have considered five years ago.

        P&G officials said directors have pushed those kind of partnerships, and often provided the contacts. For example, processes that P&G uses in detergents such as Tide can be used to strengthen bone through P&G pharmaceutical products such as Actonel.

        And there are huge technologies outside the company that P&G can tap into using partnerships or mergers, he said.

        “We will help with that,” he said. “It's already been brought up within the company, that most of the good ideas will come from outside.”

        P&G vice chairman Bruce Byrnes, head of the health care and beauty care businesses, said the company is tapping the expertise of its board members more and more.

        Other members of the innovation and technology committee include Scott Cook, co-founder of software company Intuit Inc.; Norman Augustine, retired chairman of aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp., and Johnathan Rodgers, former president of Discovery Networks U.S.


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