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Consumer product companies to seek collaboration at TechInnovation 2017

· TechInnovation

At TechInnovation’s Crowdsourcing session, Open Innovation leaders from various industries will be presenting their strategies and goals as well as make their case for collaborations. The event, organised by IPI Singapore and already in its sixth year running, will be held at Marina Bay Sands on 19 and 20 September 2017.

Some of the big names set to appear are consumer electronics manufacturer, Haier Group, chemicals firm, Croda and biotech company, Roche Diagnostics.

Two companies that will be presenting their key ideas at the sessions are Unilab, the Philippines’ largest pharmaceutical company, as well as Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB), global leading consumer health and hygiene company.

The quest to improve technology for medical care

Dennis Dizon, Unilab’s Innovation Director, Consumer Health, will be seeking partnerships and collaborations that will explore areas such as non-invasive diagnostic tests, technologies or apps that can educate and monitor consumers on their health and wellness progress; as well as novel delivery technologies for consumer wellness and nutrition products.

These areas of collaboration are in line with the latest trends in the OTC and wellness spaces, said Dizon, who oversees overall innovation strategy, market space identification, and end-to-end new consumer health product development at Unilab.

“Consumers are becoming more proactive in their views on health,” said Dizon. “People want to prevent illness rather than just treat it. Most consumers understand that they can prevent illness and promote health by making the right lifestyle choices.”

“However, changing one’s lifestyle is hard, and consumers are looking for help in identifying the best solutions and ways to stick to them. They also are interested in solutions they can feel or see the results of,” he added.

Dizon has over 20 years of marketing, sales and trade marketing experience with Unilab Philippines. He is leading the Consumer Health division’s efforts in open innovation and exploring new areas of healthcare with like-minded small-and-medium enterprises.

“Unilab’s interest in healthcare spans solutions that have mass appeal, as well as more personalized or targeted solutions for consumers. Developing products that can help consumers track their nutrient and vitamin levels is an example,” said Dizon. “Unilab is also interested in more developed programs or services that help provide real-time information and feedback on a user’s progress.”

Health and medical entrepreneurs will get to work with the largest pharmaceutical company in the Philippines with a market share of more than 20 percent. Successful collaborators will get plenty of exposure and commercialisation opportunities in the Southeast Asian consumer market, as Unilab has commercial business in 10 and manufacturing operations in five other countries in Asia. On top of its pharmaceutical business, Unilab has its own line of cosmetics, skincare and health and wellness foods.

“Unilab understands the Filipino consumer better than anyone else, and has the channels and go-to market knowledge to successfully commercialise consumer, personal care and pharmaceuticals innovations in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia,” notes Dizon.

It hopes to work with late stage or new product innovations that complement Unilab’s focus on health and wellness. Depending on the collaboration, Unilab can add value via its manufacturing, consumer insights, marketing, and go-to market channel capabilities.

Improving customer experience through open innovation

For RB, which owns well-loved household brands like Dettol, Gaviscon, Lysol, Vanish, Durex and Air Wick, among others, Open Innovation is vital for the company’s long-term sustainability. RB prides itself on giving its customers healthier lives and happier homes and open innovation will enable them to make more customer-centric products.

“RB has a long track record of collaborating with third parties. Open innovation and partnership is in our DNA. Whether it is collaborating with technology developers to bring new disruptive products to market or utilising our marketing expertise to take a novel product to a mass market audience, we have experience, track record and more importantly the desire to make this happen, fast,” said Carl Clayton, Outside Innovation Strategist at RB.

RB is focusing on making smarter, more personalised products that can gather information about consumers and their environments. The data will be analysed and used in further product development targeting consumers’ individual needs. It hopes to do this across its three business categories of Health, Hygiene and Home. The information gathered can be used to ensure the right products are used at the right time in the right way, said Clayton.

RB’s Open Innovation strategy has led to the partnership with ST Engineering’s innovation unit Innosparks Pte Ltd. RB collaborated with the Singapore-based Innosparks last year to bring their novel Air+ Smart Mask to a wider set of consumers under the Dettol brand.

“We’d love to replicate this Open Innovation model and identify partners with novel products and technologies in the areas of Foot Care, Sexual Well-being, Vitamins and Supplements, Antimicrobial’s and Pollution as well as Health Relief and Household Care,” he added.

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