Our Approach to Innovation

Forward-thinking by design

For more than 175 years, innovation has been in our DNA. It's how we drive growth, prevent the commoditization of categories, reduce costs and deliver value.

We believe innovation starts with the consumer. We gain insights into their everyday lives so we can combine “what’s needed” with “what’s possible.” Our goal is to offer them product options at all pricing tiers to drive preference for our brands and provide meaningful value.

Throughout our Company’s history, we’ve delivered product innovations such as Tide, Crest, Pantene, Downy, Pampers, Swiffer, Febreze, Olay and Gillette. We’ve also driven social innovations with programs such as Children’s Safe Drinking Water. And as far as business innovations go, we were the first company to sell direct to retailers and the creator of brand management.

Research and Development

At the heart of our innovation pipeline are the nearly 8,000 employees in R&D. These people are spread across innovation centers on five continents and span a variety of disciplines.

With a culture rooted in learning and productivity, our researchers become technical masters who apply their skills across multiple categories. They use their expertise in digitization, modeling, simulation and prototyping to bring world-class innovation to our consumers.

Exceptional innovators at P&G are recognized with induction into The Victor Mills Society, which was established in 1990 to recognize the top career technologists from our worldwide Research and Development organization.

Lab technician looks down at a sample

A history of innovation

With products such as Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology, the Tide Plus collection, and Olay Luminous, it’s clear P&G is committed to driving innovative brands. But this extends beyond just products. We’ve also been a leader in business and social innovation from the beginning.

In 1887, 50 years into our storied history, P&G was on the forefront of social innovation with the creation of our profit-sharing program. Established by William Cooper Procter, we recognized the interests of the company and employees should be inseparable. It’s now one of the oldest continuous profit sharing plans in the United States.

We’ve also invested resources into changing how businesses operate. In 1920, P&G announced a plan to sell directly to retailers on the same terms we gave wholesalers. This enabled us to counter seasonal sales fluctuations with wholesalers and avoid employee layoffs. The move also stabilized production and changed the way the grocery trade operates.

The 1930s saw P&G introducing an innovative new way to market brands and reach consumers through “Ma Perkins,” one of the world’s first radio soap operas. While other companies were sponsoring time on the shows, we created a production company to own the entire process.

In 1941, P&G became one of the first companies to formally respond to consumer correspondence with the creation of Consumer Relations.

Business innovation continues today through a number of initiatives. For example: the Clay Street Project is a P&G resource created to spur innovative thinking, and Signal P&G is an event dedicated to renewing excitement about digital brand building. We also launched Consumer Pulse—a program allowing brands to review conversation and opinions about our products. Recently, our campaigns for the 2014 Olympic Games received critical acclaim and we also opened our new Singapore Innovation Center.

For more on our innovation history, please view our Innovation timeline. To find out more about our latest product innovations, visit our Recent Innovations page.

Archival black and white photograph of employees