Diageo has launched a new partnership lab, ‘Fusion by Diageo,’ to identify innovators to co-develop the next generation of digital products that will “elevate consumer experiences”.
Fusion is designed for growth-stage technology companies to work with Diageo to develop digital concepts that go ‘beyond the bottle’.
The programme will combine Diageo’s strategic innovation and brand-building expertise with technologies and ideas from external companies.
The 13-week programme will begin in January next year, with the drinks giant accepting applicants to identify 15 companies for the first cohort. Participants will gain access to Diageo’s industry expertise and consumer insights, as well as external speakers and coaching, to help develop consumer-focused digital concepts.
Split into two phases, the programme will begin involving broad concept ideation and refining of the concept, while the second phase will conclude with an in-person ‘Demo Day,’ where Diageo will select up to five concepts to progress to a post-programme pilot stage.
During the post-programme ‘build’ stage, select participants will be offered an opportunity to enter a commercial relationship with Diageo, where they will be provided support to co-develop, validate, refine and launch new products to market.
Mark Sandys, Diageo’s chief innovation officer, said: “Innovation is a crucial part of our growth ambition and Fusion enables us to partner with some of the world’s most pioneering companies to accelerate the future of celebration together. The theme for the first cohort is ‘Celebrate at Home’, with participants set to explore new frontiers in how people unwind, experiment and entertain in their own spaces.”
He continued: “Diageo is particularly excited about the potential to harness the latest technology to create highly individualised experiences for the home; whether using AI to hand-pick product recommendations or the latest VR and AR technology to transform a living room into a 20,000-person music arena, where everyone has a front row seat.”
Guy Middleton, global breakthrough innovation director, added: “Our portfolio consists of some of the most iconic brands in the world, and it is our job to ensure that our brands remain at the forefront of social celebration. The Fusion Partnership Lab allows us to build and explore the consumer experience of tomorrow in collaboration with some of the best entrepreneurs.”
Diageo says it plans to scale the programme and run future editions focused on different priority areas for the business. The deadline for applications is 24 November 2023.
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