A Swifter Path To Market

When Procter & Gamble Co.'s former Chief Executive Durk I. Jager left the company in June, did his Web initiatives depart too? Nope. With profits short, P&G knows it needs more innovation. But poor communication makes turf wars rampant. "You can't cause innovation, but you can block it," says Craig Wynett, head of Corporate New Ventures.

Last year, Procter set up an internal site called My Idea that has drawn 9,000 lightbulb moments--stock options reward those with the best ideas. P&G's next step was its Innovation Net, linking 18,000 engineers, market researchers, and other pros. New dust mop Swiffer hit the market in 18 months, thanks to the Web collaboration of experts who rarely teamed up before. P&G has a long road back. But 10 major new products last year whipped 1995's zero--thanks partly to the Web.