Posted by: Nancy | April 27, 2009

Opening up to ideas

In the category of “No Monopoly on Good Ideas”, a tip of the hat today to Campbell Soup Company.

Based in Camden, N.J., Campbell Soup is the largest soup-maker in the world. It has revenues of more than $7 billion and sells its soups and other food items in 120 countries around the world.  With a 136-year history, Campbell Soups had never before opened its doors for outside innovation.

Until now.

The company recently launched a new initiative, called Campbell’s Ideas for Innovation at www.campbellideas.com. The website invites suggestions for new products, technology, packaging, marketing and business processes.

campbells

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Campbell had studied successful programs at Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati and Kraft Foods Inc. in Northfield, Ill., before launching its website.

It’s not exactly a wide-open wiki, but it offers folks a way to share their ideas, with  legal protections for both sides.  It’s a start, a recognition that there are new ideas and new ways of doing business — and they don’t have to be invented within company walls to be worthwhile.

I see it as another crack in the monolithic corporate culture of closemindedness —  a little bit of openness, a willingness to listen to customers.

“Open for business” could have a whole new meaning soon.

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