Kimberly-Clark: When innovation is the goal





Creation of an innovation ecosystem to speed up product development and transformative solutions

Founded almost 150 years ago, Kimberly-Clark has a strong legacy as a pioneer of innovation. The company developed the first disposable absorbent pads and is proud to say it is responsible for the creation of more than half of the eight main categories of consumer products currently in operation.

However, despite its traditional cutting-edge profile, the company noticed that the last years have been less innovative than desired. This self-criticism allowed for a project to take shape, with the active participation of CBA B+G.

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Structure and process for innovation

The desire was crystal clear: to accelerate the pace of change and look beyond simple products, initiating a thorough structural transformation. The new innovation proposal should account for a more agile, customer-centric organization, able to come up with better, greater and mainly, more daring solutions. A project able to change the company’s mindset in all Latin America.

In order to understand the scenario, our strategic team held several interviews with the company managers, prepared an internal survey conducted with more than 70 employees, and analyzed the innovation best practices of more than 30 companies. Three co-creation labs (SquadLabs) were also organized whose main objective was to come up with a new concept to accelerate the innovation capacity of the company. Through an exploratory approach and analytical thinking, we developed a solution called Innovation Ecosystem. A comprehensive model which has structure (internal axis, guidelines and actions) and process (innovation methodology), to enable the Kimberly-Clark team to resume its innovation tradition and put it into practice. An ecosystem capable of mobilizing a solid structured company turning it more agile and using the power of technology to reach a transforming potential, promoting unique value to society.

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New Horizons

Once the ecosystem was defined, CBA helped build Kimberly’s innovation pipeline running two sprints. The 3-day-long innovation sprints – New Horizon 2018 and New Horizon 2019 – held to put the new ecosystem into practice, took place in our hub. The great differential of this project was the multidisciplinary working group, with representatives from all over Latin America. Following our human-centric approach, we invited consumers and different experts in anthroposophy, technology, biomimicry etc. This enabled us to look at the category of products from different points of view and come up with almost 500 solutions.

The ideas produced were prioritized, selected and tested with consumers to perceive, on a daily basis, what they think, say, feel and do in reaction to the solutions presented.

Key actions to carry the company beyond its traditional products were defined, including promise, channel and execution, with daring, quick and transforming propositions.

The new ecosystem was devised and put into practice with a consumer centered approach and has already been used to build a corporate innovation pipeline for the next three years.

Bottom line: true innovation is to create and capture value through successful solutions.

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