Friday, June 13, 2008

Ivory Soap: Innovation by Accident

Tom Kelley in The Art of Innovation tells the story behind Procter and Gamble’s fabulously successful Ivory soap:

It began with a blunder; an ordinary worker who went to lunch and accidentally left a mixing machine running with a batch of soap inside. When he came back, the mix had been whipped to a froth, with soap so light it floated.

By chance, the new floating Ivory proved to be both convenient and popular, marketed by P & G as “99 and 44 one-hundredths percent pure.”

A factory worker stumbled onto a new way of mixing soap, but it was P & G’s marketing group that seized the opportunity to create one of the most successful packaged goods of the twentieth century.

Source: Tom Kelley, The Art of Innovation: Lessons and Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm (London: Profile Books, 2001), 150.

A review of this fine book can be seen at Reviewing Books and Movies.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: Ivory Soap: Born from an accident.

Tom Kelley on:
Get on your bike: Success Breeds Complacency
Snowboarding: Fear Doesn’t get you down the Mountain
Lou Holtz: The Best Leaders and Teammates
Innovation Begins with the Eye
Benjamin Zander: Getting the Best out of your Students
Tiger Woods and Team Effort

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