G-Win Digital discovers, pilots and shares emerging digital marketing technologies with General Mills' portfolio of brands. Through it, the firm seeks to connect with partners that have digital marketing technologies focusing on video, social, mobile and gaming.
"From the Betty Crocker radio programmes in the 1920s, to sponsoring the first televised commercial sports broadcast in 1939, to the Betty Crocker iPad app today, General Mills has a rich history of using emerging technology to build relationships with consumers," said Mark Addicks, General Mills senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
"Today, digital marketing innovation is essential for us to connect and engage with consumers when and where they seek inspiration."
Addicks added: "Open innovation has proved to be a successful business strategy for General Mills. We believe that projects discovered through G-WIN Digital will help us find effective and efficient ways to connect General Mills brands with consumers."
General Mills officially launched its G-WIN open innovation programme in 2007 to enhance and accelerate its innovation efforts.
G-WIN has historically focused on food technology, products, packaging, ingredients and processing, and has connected with thousands of innovators around the globe since its launch. More than 40 new General Mills products have incorporated a significant portion of open innovation.
Most recently, open innovation helped General Mills to identify the baking expertise it needed to create the company's new ready-to-eat 90-calorie Fiber One Brownies. It joined up in partnership with Hearthside Food Solutions for this purpose.
At a food innovation day organised by Leatherhead Food Research last September, Dr Kevin McFarthing, md of Innovation Fixer, called on more firms to embrace open innovation as a means of getting better value out of their new product development.
McFarthing reported that 98% of innovation within firms such as Kraft and Procter & Gamble was now outsourced, while Nestlé had boosted sales by $200M through its Sharing is Winning programme.
At the same event, Andy Shilton, project support manager for drinks giant Diageo, commented: "Our agenda is very much around open innovation."
Shilton said: "We do have a healthy balanced pipeline for innovation We use technology to balance the knowledge we have of trends and consumers to give us a competitive advantage."