This is a collaborative innovation course delivered by Colgate-Palmolive and Mack Institute for Innovation Management of Wharton School. The team consists three students from Integrated Product Design Program and Wharton MBA Program.
An Innovation Portal is an Internet portal for external inventors to submit ideas to companies. Colgate launched its first innovation portal on its official website 10 years ago and hasn't upgraded it for years. The company is thinking about making some changes about the innovation portal as well as the personnel behind it. So they put forward the question: How to best utilize and/or improve the innovation portal of Colgate?
Company Innovation Site Trends
We started our research by studying the trends of innovation sites / innovation departments on company sites of companies in a variety of industries. Then we made a summary about the highlights of the trends.
Internal Stakeholder Interviews
We conducted our primary research by interviewing stakeholders inside Colgate, including the internal administrator for the portal, the external consultant, in-house IP attorney, internal users, and the director who first organized the portal 10 years ago, to learn more about the multiple roles of Colgate's innovation portal from different perspectives.
Open Innovation Provider Landscape
We also did research about open innovation service providers, and made a landscape to categorize and organize them to identify opportunities for partnerships.
We reported to Colgate's SITA (Strategic Innovation & Technology Alliances) team about our research and provided some recommendations. Besides the design and user experience of innovation site, we also thought about how the innovation site can serve more roles (eg. a PR tool) and provide more partnerships.
Shortly after our presentation, Colgate-Palmolive upgraded their official website including a new innovation portal. We were happy to see some of our research were proven to be valuable to the company and some recommendations were turned into reality.
The project was a good opportunity for me as a design student, to practice design research methodology in a real multinational corporation. It was also a helpful experience to work in a multidisciplinary team and communicate with professionals of different backgrounds and with different perspectives.