This week we announced the return of PepsiCo10, a program designed to bring new thinking around digital and social media into the organization. This year’s program will focus on digital start-ups across Europe. The teams there will seek to partner with 10 emerging technology companies that will run programs with their brands (Walker, Tropicana, and Pepsi) in 2012. Open submissions start this week and we will spend the summer reviewing applications and shortlisting potential partners along with our partners OMD UK, Highland Partners, Mashable and Wired. PepsiCo10 is great way to immerse our folks in new thinking and find partners we might not otherwise get exposed to.

What’s more, it helps us see around corners. As a company with 19 brands over $1 billion in revenue, it’s important that continue to understand what drives our consumers. Increasingly, their habits are grounded in digital and social media. As such, we need to understand these tools and technologies as our consumers do. Some of these companies may not pan out. But many will and we will develop long-lasting partnerships and insights as to what can deliver business value to PepsiCo.

We are building on the success of last year’s program in the United States. We worked with some great partners, including Evil Genuis Designs, a mobile gaming platform that we debuted at South by Southwest; Tongal, a crowd-sourced content platform which generates amazing material for Brisk; or Breakout Band which is doing great things with Pepsi Max. There are lots of great stories.

If you’re a digital start-up based in Europe, we would love to hear from you. Here’s how.

If you’re a consumer or a fan of our company, we look forward to keeping you posted on the progress of this year’s program.