The humble tissue has had its status significantly elevated over the past few months. But did you know that it was invented back in WW1 as a filter for gas masks?
Back in the day, Kimberly Clark were developing a crepe filter paper for gas masks, made from wood pulp that was five times more absorbent than cotton and cost half as much to produce. Given that cotton was in short supply the product was also sold as surgical wadding due to its highly absorbent qualities.
Nurses on the field also recognised its utility and started using it as a sanitary towel. As a result the first post war product using this material became the sanitary towel.
The team in Kimberly Clark worked to reduced the thickness of the product and made it softer. In 1924 they released the Kleenex as a product for women to remove makeup and cold cream, which was a huge success.
In 1929 the head researcher in Kimberly Clark was suffering from hayfever and started using the Kleenex product to help with his excessive sneezing, and a whole new market segment took off!
This story shows how innovation requirements in challenging times alongside responsive and observant teams can lead to multiple new market solutions that create lasting impact. Certainly the role of Kleenex in stemming the tide of viral spread cannot be disputed.
We focus on finding those key insights that drive innovation. They can often come from the smallest thing, but having the knowledge and experience to know when you are looking at these 'little gems' is why working with us can really drive success.