The Pearlfinder initiative has been connecting external cooperation partners with Beiersdorf researchers for four years, and Katrin Thiel, who manages the Nivea producer’s platform together with Manja Stroech, says it has been completely overhauled in the last few months.
“Our community includes suppliers from diverse industries as well as institutes, universities and scientists. With Pearlfinder we enable a collaborative and confidential exchange in a secure environment,” she explains.
Stroech adds that having run the project for a number of years it has made collaboration a lot more convenient, as uploading and managing suggestions is a lot easier; and the new design is a further improvement.
“With better usability and an attractive new design we also hope to expand our circle of cooperation partners for Beiersdorf. Currently there are 270 external partners registered,” says Stroech.
“Our users have already contributed many valuable innovation ideas and solutions about half of which are followed up on annually. Some of the submitted ideas have already led to promising cooperative research – some with new partners – that without Pearlfinder we probably would have never stumbled upon.”
One of the key advantages to Pearlfinder, and one which will continue in the platform’s new design is the guarantee of confidentiality, which both managers say has influenced the high quality of ideas.
On Pearlfinder each registered community member can submit ideas without having to fear they will be misused, and are given this guarantee from Beiersdorf by a confidentiality agreement made during registration.
“We have received feedback from members who see this security aspect of Pearlfinder as a prerequisite for trusting and open collaboration, which is absent from other open innovation platforms. With it we have created an important advantage over our competitors’ similar initiatives,” says Thiel.
Thanks to the initiative as a whole, it has helped companies, particularly smaller ones; better understand the needs of Beiersdorf and gain insight into the latest findings in the fields of skin research, skin care and consumer desires.
“We also hope that Pearlfinder will encourage the exchange of ideas across industries,” adds Stroech.
“Because many of the ingredients used in cosmetics originally come from other industries. Q10 for example stems originally from the food industry. There are also interesting overlaps between our research areas and the paint industry or for example biotechnology. That’s why we hope to get potential cooperation partners excited about Pearlfinder.”