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Edison in the Boardroom Revisited: How Leading Companies Realize Value from Their Intellectual Property, Second Edition by Patrick H. Sullivan, Suzanne S. Harrison

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Chapter 9

The Procter & Gamble Journey

Innovation has been the lifeblood of the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) throughout its nearly 175-year history. For most of that time, innovation was almost entirely done inside the company—ideas and technologies developed by scientists and researchers working to meet consumer needs. On occasion, P&G would selectively bring in assets from the outside, or do some equally selective joint work with strategic partners. But, in large part, P&G’s innovation came from within.

And so it went, for generations. As is the case with many leading innovative companies, P&G developed more great ideas than it could use. With some, P&G learned the innovation wasn’t as attractive to the company or consumers as first thought, or it proved to not be a strategic fit with P&G’s business plans. As a result, P&G ended up with a sizable number of intellectual property (IP) assets that sat on the shelf. It was this realization that set P&G on a journey to reach out, to extend its IP to others, and to embrace open innovation as a key strategy to win.

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