Online Exclusives

Building a Link to Innovators

September 6, 2006

Reckitt Benckiser goes online to reach out for innovative ideas in household and personal care product development

Building a Link to Innovation

Reckitt Benckiser is using the worldwide web to build a link with innovators.

By Tom Branna

Editorial Director

Getting effective new products to market fast is the goal of every consumer product company. But while competitors are content to toil away alone in their laboratories, Reckitt Benckiser is casting a wider net—the internet—in search of innovation partners. With annual sales of $7.6 billion, the UK-based company bills itself as the largest marketer of household cleaning products in the world with a product mix that includes such well-known brands as AirWick, Woolite, Lysol, Dettol, Vanish, Calgon, Spray ‘n Wash, Clearasil, Strepsils and Veet, but now the company wants to expand on its leadership position.

Airwick and Lysol are just two of the best-selling brands from R-B.
Innovation will play a key role in the company’s drive and to strengthen its position, Reckitt Benckiser has launched the RB-Idealink program with the goal of developing innovative products from outside the company. At the website,, potential partners can interact with Reckitt Benckiser to find out more about the program and download literature and learn about the concepts behind the new program.

“We are successful because we innovate quickly. In fact, about 40% of our sales come from products that we launched in the previous three years,” explained Diane McGrath, global head of licensing, Reckitt Benckiser. “That’s a good track record, but we also realize that we don’t have all the answers and we can learn from people outside the company.”

According to Ms. McGrath, innovation at Reckitt Benckiser means more than technology and science. It must deliver consumer expectations of performance, convenience and value for money.

“Great launches like Cillit Bang, Vanish Oxi, Veet Rasera and Airwick Freshmatic have driven our top line growth significantly,” she observed. “These headliners have been complemented by many more innovations which year after year drive the growth of our power brands.”

A Streamlined Innovation Process

Prior to the launch of RB-Idealink, anyone with an innovative idea was welcome to submit it to the company, but Ms. McGrath admitted that a novel idea could get lost as it made its way through the corporation. Clearly, there was a better way and company executives realized that the internet could facilitate an effective exchange of ideas.

“RB-Idealink helps people find us and helps us process their ideas objectively,” observed Ms. McGrath.

The Search Is On

Although breakthrough products can impact just about any product category, Reckitt Benckiser is specifically looking for innovative ideas in several key categories, including:

•  Bleaching;
•  Dye/color;
•  Surfactant/detergent systems;
•  Progressive release systems;
•  Malodor counteraction;
•  Devices/dispensing systems;
•  Surface enhancements;
•  Fragrance;
•  Novel sensorial effects;
•  Antimicrobial;
•  Enzyme technologies;
•  Engineering and process;
•  Skin and hair care systems; and
•  Health care

Although RB-Idealink is still in its infancy, company executives have been satisfied with the response from innovators.

“From the submissions I’ve received so far, I’ve been pleased with the applicability of the ideas,” said Carl Clayton, technology sourcing manager. “It looks as though 70% of entries have potential application.”

Mr. Clayton noted that Reckitt Benckiser has utilized a third party innovation model for a number of years and insisted that RB-Idealink is a way to expand the network and broaden the company’s horizon.

“It’s advertising, not a cultural shift,” he emphasized. “We just want to expand our network.”

For now, company executives are busy pouring over the ideas that have come through the internet initiative. There are no targets in place regarding the number of ideas that RB-Idealink is expected to generate.

“The more we publicize it, the more innovators we reach and the better the response rate,” explained Mr. Clayton. “We’re committed to getting back to potential partners in three months, which means we work quickly. After all, our goal is to access new ideas as quickly as possible.”

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Testing for Sustainable Preservatives

    Adam P. Byrne, William Michael Hart-Cooper, Kaj Johnson, Larry H. Stanker, Dominic W. S. Wong, William J. Orts||January 4, 2016
    A rapid, inexpensive and qualitative protocol for determining microbial growth inhibition.

  • It’s All About Teamwork

    It’s All About Teamwork

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||January 4, 2016
    Collaboration was the theme of the Consumer Specialty Products Association 2015 annual meeting.

  • Making Sense of Smells

    Making Sense of Smells

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 1, 2016
    Household product perfumery is more complex than ever, with a variety of notes obtained from many different sources.

  • Buy the Sea, Buy the Sea, Buy the Beautiful Sea

    Buy the Sea, Buy the Sea, Buy the Beautiful Sea

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||February 8, 2016
    Nova Scotia Fisherman manufactures a boatload of products that incorporate sea kelp and a raft of other natural ingredients.

  • From Research to Retail

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||February 1, 2016
    What began as research on skin disorders led a dermatologist and his father to create their own skin care formulas.

  • A Frosch Start in the US

    A Frosch Start in the US

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||January 18, 2016
    A trusted eco-savvy German household cleaning brand is now available in America.

  • 5 Things I Learned

    5 Things I Learned

    January 15, 2016
    The Avon & Women’s Dermatologic Society Mentorship Program. Dr. Sabrina Fabi (left) and Dr. Kimberly Jerdan.

  • Perfect Timing

    Perfect Timing

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 11, 2016
    New ways of collecting data can help cosmetics companies understand what women really want—and when they want it.

  • When a Cosmetic Becomes a Drug

    When a Cosmetic Becomes a Drug

    Jacqueline Sheridan, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP||January 11, 2016
    The unintentional conversion of personal care products through marketing.

  • Africa, Rising

    Africa, Rising

    December 14, 2015
    Savvy marketers should expand their operations on the continent, according to speakers at a WFFC seminar.

  • Color, Your World

    Color, Your World

    December 7, 2015
    A kaleidoscope of concepts was the conversation at a recent NYSCC symposium.

  • Hitting a Wall(mart)

    Hitting a Wall(mart)

    November 9, 2015
    Walmart imposes slotting fees and that hurts a lot of Tier 2 and 3 FMCG companies.

  • That’s Quite an Achievement!

    That’s Quite an Achievement!

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||November 2, 2015
    The CEW honors seven beauty industry leaders.

  • A Suite Deal

    A Suite Deal

    October 12, 2015
    Image Studios provides an innovative venue for beauty professionals seeking a new way to do business.

  • What’s All the ‘Fuzz’ About?

    What’s All the ‘Fuzz’ About?

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Assistant Editor||September 28, 2015
    Lawyer presents the power and versatility of essential oils by adding them to her own handmade dryer balls.

  • A New Kind of Hero

    A New Kind of Hero

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 14, 2015
    An upstart household product company puts a new spin on the idea of home cleaning.

  • A Panoramic View

    A Panoramic View

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Assistant Editor||September 7, 2015
    ZSS takes a 360° approach to skin health.

  • It

    It's All in the Delivery

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Associate Editor||August 31, 2015
    AlureVé relies on pharmaceutical technology for its anti-aging skin care line.

  • A Brand of Its Own

    A Brand of Its Own

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 24, 2015
    Amyris creates its own skin care solution for consumers.

  • Eye on Korea

    Eye on Korea

    August 17, 2015
    At the Personal Care Conference in Shanghai there was distinct emphasis on beauty ideas from Korea.

  • No Coasting Here

    No Coasting Here

    August 12, 2015
    A Q&A with Coast Southwest CEO Joseph Cimo.

  • An Emotional Mess

    An Emotional Mess

    June 15, 2015
    Clorox teams with Pixar to explore the Gestalt of spills, germs and other household messes.

  • Teen’s Non-Toxic Dream Gets Real

    Teen’s Non-Toxic Dream Gets Real

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 8, 2015
    Rhode Island teen Ava Anderson serves as CEO of a fast-growing direct sales company that’s playing in multiple household and personal care categories.

  • A Reason to Smile?

    A Reason to Smile?

    Jeremy Kerstetter, Assistant Editor||June 1, 2015
    IRI study uncovers consumer optimism...even among Millennials.

  • The Right Choice

    The Right Choice

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||May 28, 2015
    The CEW Insiders's Choice Beauty Awards

  • More than Moisture

    More than Moisture

    May 25, 2015
    With diabetes so prevalent in the US, a new Eucerin line is meeting the unique needs of diabetic skin.

  • Johnson’s Making a Splash

    Johnson’s Making a Splash

    May 18, 2015
    J&J’s So Much More campaign aims to raise awareness regarding the importance of bath time.

  • Thousands Flock to NYSCC Suppliers

    Thousands Flock to NYSCC Suppliers' Day

    May 18, 2015
    Once again, the cosmetic world meets in Edison, NJ.