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Open Innovation in the Lake Geneva Region - a capital challenge for the region’s economic developmen

At the initiative of Mr. Pierre-François Unger, Minister of Economy and Health of the Canton of Geneva, and of Mr. Giovanni Ciserani, president of Procter & Gamble for Western Europe, an event dedicated to Open Innovation brought together about a hundred economic players from the Lake Geneva Region on Thursday, January 15. The presentations and a panel discussion emphasized, among other things, the importance of the synergy that is to be developed between multinationals operating in the region and innovative SMEs and start-ups.
A platform of meetings to connect the regional innovation players

Under the auspices of Geneva’s Economic Development Office and its minister in charge, Mr. Pierre-François Unger, as well as of Procter & Gamble, a Geneva-based multinational that actively practises open innovation on a global scale, an exchange platform brought together public and private sectors in a unique dynamic. Multinationals, SMEs, start-ups and the academic world came together to foster and strengthen the capacity to assemble the skills present in Geneva and its region. Among the speakers, it is worth noting in particular the key presentations given by Ian Hudson, president of DuPont Europe, Middle East and Africa, Jesús Martin-Garcia, CEO of Eclosion, François Conquet, manager of preclinical partnerships and licences at Merck Serono, Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli, vice-president for innovation and technology transfer at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Laurent Miéville, CEO of Unitec.

Open Innovation, a knowledge exchange

The most competitive companies are increasingly making use of a so-called “open” approach to innovation. To supplement their own research & development centres, they are turning to the outside world and building genuine innovation networks to strengthen the performance of their organization. At Procter & Gamble, 42% of the new products incorporate at least one major element from outside. “We will be purchasing 50% of our innovations by 2010,” declared Jeffrey Weedman, vice-president External Business Development, P&G.

The role of the public authorities in exchanges between innovation players

According to a study published recently by the AmCham and highlighting Switzerland’s competitive advantage in innovation at the level of a global economy (cf. Creative Switzerland ? Joint Study of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and The Boston Consulting Group, ZH, December 2008) it appears that the most innovative sectors contribute one third of the country’s GDP. It is therefore essential that the public authorities develop the general conditions necessary to promote a highly innovative Switzerland. What is at stake is the attractiveness and durable presence of the multinationals, as well as the success of our most creative start-ups.

Geneva Economic Development Office

The mission of the Geneva Economic Development Office is to further the establishment of companies in the canton and to facilitate expansion by the companies already based there.Being tuned to the needs of the multinationals and SMEs engaged in innovation activities, the Office fosters and strengthens the capacity to assemble the skills present in Geneva and the Lake Geneva Region. It is particularly active in the area of innovation through the promotional platforms BioAlps, AlpicT and Micronarc. To learn more about the Geneva Economic Development Ofice, please visit the following website:

Procter & Gamble

P&G or innovation in the bloodInnovation is at the heart of the expansion strategy pursued by P&G, which is investing to an unparalleled extent in its sector ($ 2.2 billion in R&D in 2008). In order to optimally meet the needs of its consumers, P&G has switched to an open innovation model – “Connect + Develop”. The company is continuing to develop its in-house expertise and employs more than 9,000 researchers in about 27 research & development centres, but also relies on ideas and inventions from outside the company. Today 42% of P&G’s products incorporate a major element from third parties, the objective being to reach the 50% mark by the year 2010.P&G in  GenevaProcter & Gamble has been expanding in Geneva since 1956. It established its strategic headquarters there for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 1999. With more than 2,550 employees of 68 – mainly Swiss and European – nationalities, P&G is like Geneva itself, an outward-looking, international city. Through its leading brands, which include Pampers®, Ariel®, Dash®, Always®, Mr. Propre®, Pantene®, Head & Shoulders®, Mach3®, Pringles®, Iams®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Wella, Gillette® or Braun, P&G is present around the world. 138,000 employees work for the company in nearly 80 countries.

To learn more about the outcomes of the Open Innovation event, please go to the following link:
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