In 2003, Procter & Gamble pursued new-growth innovations after realizing that about three-quarters or 75% of American homes were carpeted. By turning to its long time and trusted innovation partner IDEO, P&G was able to design and develop a new “Swiffer” product for use on carpets. This would allow P&G to open up a whole new market while conquering carpet.
Is the CarpetFlick an effective vacuum replacement?
How it Works:
Proctor & Gamble took the right approach in developing its new CarpetFlick product. In late 2003, P&G identified a profitable opportunity. The brand realized that its “Swiffer” mop generated a lucrative blue ocean in cleaning hardwood floors. However, the “Swiffer” was not able to clean or maintain carpeting. In order to develop a carpet-based “Swiffer”, P&G appointed the right people/team by turning to partner IDEO for help in designing the new product. Before spearheading the technical tasks of prototyping, IDEO visited homeowners, asking about existing sweepers and taking pictures (HBR’s Best Practices #2-spending time with prospective consumers). By visiting homeowners, IDEO was able to discover that consumers needed:
· An effective sweeper that did not make a lot of noise and could pick up just about anything.
This allowed IDEO to generate insights and identify important problems (HBR’s A Comprehensive Approach to Innovation) that homeowners faced in regards to cleaning equipment. P&G needed to eliminate noise and create a lightweight “Swiffer” vacuum. Then in November 2003, 15 designers began to experiment with random items that might effectively clean filthy carpeting. Shortly after, IDEO’s Bob Godfroid and Mike Strasser had developed the solution by building the squeegee blade prototype-“Shagilator”. By the end of a two-day period, IDEO had several prototypes that were tested by company designers in a “lickety-stick approach”. By September 29, 2004, the design phase was done, and the CarpetFlick was being tested in 350 homes around the world to see what consumers thought about the offering (concept test). The silent and effective CarpetFlick product was launched and commercialized in July 2005 as it was shipped to Europe.
Consumer benefits: By purchasing Procter & Gamble’s innovative CarpetFlick, consumers are able to obtain:
· A lightweight cleaning tool.
· An effective sweeper that does not make a lot of noise and could pick up just about anything, including hair and lint.
· A “Swiffer”-based vacuum that effectively cleans and maintains carpet (75% of U.S. homes are carpeted).
Procter & Gamble established a “Connect and Develop” crowdsourcing program. By obtaining ideas from its customers, P&G will be able to develop innovative and lucrative products that are yet to be offered in the market (strength/opportunity). Further, the program allows P&G to gain insights on how to improve existing products (strength) and will help P&G realize what needs to be eliminated, reduced, raised, and created. This will further assist P&G in differentiating its products from its competitors (threats).