By Peter W Shipp

President, InnGage Solutions, LLC

Originally presented at Tissue World – New Orleans

March 16, 2013  

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  • Tissue innovation today is incremental and focused
  • Tissue innovation tomorrow needs to expand out of its current self constrained box of health and hygiene
  • Customer understanding is key to success

Tissue Product Innovation Today

Tissue and towel materials are just that – materials.They have found a great market in health and hygiene applications in the washroom and kitchen. As recently as 10 years ago, paper tissue and towels were replacing cloth towels and handkerchiefs. Today, consumers and choosers (business buyers) are expecting even more.Where will these materials and products be in the next 10 years?

Today, consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly products made from ecologically friendly resources. They are requiring easier and cleaner disposal of the products while having lower impact on the environment. There are many new commercial fibers sources, new shapes and sizes that all are aimed at a more sustainable product.

Users and choosers also want added value. Just as the original Kleenex® Brand facial tissue was developed as a cosmetic remover, today’s products bring even more to the table. Cooling, soothing, moisturizing and superior cleaning features are here now. Tomorrow’s products will go even further with added functionality, new chemistries and new physical properties.

Tissue Product Innovation Tomorrow

Innovation teams today are highly focused on the bathroom and kitchen with health and hygiene applications. These teams have spent years studying their consumer in the context of these applications. Their product road maps for the future are very focused with incremental product introductions. These teams are the true experts in the bath and kitchen area, but are they the ones who can come together with revolutionary new uses for tissue in other applications?

Where else can tissue material be used? Other new washroom applications like urinal wipes and door handle wipes are nice niche applications, but the challenge to product developers and marketers is this. Where can you go outside of these health and hygiene applications, outside the washroom and kitchen?

New product development teams should look at adjacent and/or similar industries such as cosmetics and soaps to see where they have innovated. As these industries innovate, the tissue companies that can match, supplement and even compliment these new products will win.

Needs in areas such as laboratories, maintenance facilities should also be reviewed. Even more radical would be how tissue could be used inside products that have yet to be invented. One needs to be thinking outside of the box to grow and innovate. How can you get that mindset?

Customer Understanding

Equipment and Product manufacturers in the Tissue industry must understand what the users and choosers of the future want. Many times consumers don’t know themselves. So how do you get ahead?Thinking
To really identify new uses and applications, you must get out of the traditional setting and into the lives of the customer. You must live in the customer’s shoes for a day or a week. What are their pain points and unmet needs? This is where you will find true insights and understanding. To really gain momentum in areas away from health and hygiene, place potential new consumers on your teams and hire experts in innovation and strategy to develop the product roadmap to the future. Finally, as if you were a magician, ask these consumers, “if I could give you anything, what would it be?” Who knows, you may be able to deliver on this query with true revolutionary innovation and customer delight and loyalty!

Copyright © 2016 InnGage Solutions, LLC

Used with permission