Page 5: Examples of innovative product development
Research undertaken by Dr David Francis within Procter & Gamble focusing upon releasing calcium ions laid the groundwork for many other product opportunities, including improvements to a toothpaste called Crest. It was his vision in making the leap from one area of chemistry to another which led to the discovery of a new class of compounds - bisphosphonates!
The first medical product to result from this innovation was Procter & Gamble’s Osteoscan which was used as a bone scanning agent. But it was research that P&G scientists were doing within the laundry products area which prompted the original research. They were looking for ways to prevent calcium from re-depositing on clothes during washing. This work, combined with Dr Francis’ knowledge of the chemistry of teeth led to the discovery of a drug, called Didronel, which provides treatment for people suffering from bone disease (resulting from hip replacement or spinal cord injury).
The British Allergy Foundation recently awarded its seal of approval to the cleaning system called Swiffer, launched by Procter & Gamble. Innovation is about listening to consumers. Sometimes when a business develops products there are unexpected benefits as there were for users of Swiffer. Allergies occur when a person’s immune system becomes supersensitive causing it to over-react to otherwise harmless substances called allergens.
Whereas traditional dusting methods can simply spread dust around, the Swiffer system was designed to capture dust, which includes the common indoor allergens, such as dust mite, cat and dog allergens. Swiffer has been proved, in independent testing, to remove indoor allergens more effectively than traditional household cleaning methods. In tests, Swiffer picked up over 93% of cat and dog allergens, compared with less than 16% for a standard broom, and less than 28% for a standard mop.
Flash antibacterial wipes
Another recent transfer of technology within P&G has been certified by the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene. Investment in research and development created the concept of baby wipes. The concept was so successful that it was realised that the products could be used elsewhere and this led to the launch of Flash antibacterial wipes which kill germs for up to 12 hours. Consumers are increasingly discerning and require wipes to clean and provide protection both outside and inside the home. Available in both a tub and refill value pack, the disposable wipes can be used around the home or in other areas such as the car. The concept and technology behind the product was originally used in baby wipes.