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Brief Published: 19 Sep 2017

Unilever’s State of Innovation Report

Unilever Foundry

Unilever's tech incubator Foundry launched a report on global collaboration between brands and start-ups at marketing conference Dmexco this month. The State of Innovation predicts that corporates and start-ups will work side by side in the same physical space by 2025, with four out of five (80%) businesses saying that start-ups can have a positive impact on a large company's approach to innovation.

The report emphasises that "tech tourism" – where brands make a short-term investment in start-up-driven initiatives as a kind of box-ticking innovation exercise – is of little worth. "Collaboration can no longer be viewed as an optional extra – it's a strategic imperative," said Aline Santos, Unilever's European vice-president of global marketing. "Start-ups are now widely recognised as invaluable sources of innovation, fuelling growth and providing pioneering business solutions."

The Unilever Foundry has successfully helped scale up 48% of its pilots in the past three years. One of its latest projects is a direct-to-consumer ingredients app for Hellman's in collaboration with on-demand delivery app Quiqup. See Rapid Retail: Hellmann's Trials Impulse Groceries App for more.

Incorporating start-up strategies into your business is something we discuss in Marketing Like a Start-Up, and will be exploring in even more detail in our upcoming Macro Trend, The Work/Life Revolution.