Have you ever considered why you need water to mop a floor?
If so, you may have thought that the water doesn’t really help clean the floor – it just turns the dirt into mud. Mud that then must be cleaned from the mop.
That’s exactly what a small research design team realized when Proctor and Gamble directed them to explore how, when and why people mop their kitchen floors.
Not only did mopping floors with water mean more time was actually spent cleaning the mop than cleaning the floor – but better mops required even more mud cleaning from the implement.
That’s when the research team questioned P&G engineers: Isn’t there something better to clean up the dirt? Their answer: dry cleaning cloths that use electrostatic forces to pick up dust – no water necessary.
The Swiffer was born. The disposable pads and the tool to hold them have made the company billions of dollars.
“It was solving the right problem – a problem that P&G didn’t even know existed,” says Thomas Lockwood, who has a PhD in design management. The Swiffer development is one of the stories he explores with Edgar Pike in “Innovation By Design: How Any Organization Can Leverage Design Thinking to Produce Change, Drive New Ideas and Deliver Meaningful Solutions.”
Solving the right problem, Lockwood explains, is the first tenet to design thinking. So is a deep understanding of the user through observation (read more here)