The LAB: Innovating Cosmetics with S.I.T. (April 2011)

by | Apr 25, 2011 | Consultants, Creativity Tools, Design Thinking, Innovation Clusters, Jacob Goldenberg, Technology | 0 comments

 The cosmetic industry thrives on innovation and fashion design especially in the areas of product development and retail merchandising.  It generates nearly US$200 billion worldwide and is growing. For this month’s LAB, we will use the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to create new innovations for lipstick, a product that dates back to the ancient Egyptians.

S.I.T. works by taking one of the five patterns (subtraction, task unification, division, multiplication, and attribute dependency) and applying it to an existing product or service.  This morphs it into a “virtual product,” which is an abstract, ambiguous notion with no clear purpose.  We then work backwards (Function Follows Form) to find new and useful benefits or markets for the virtual product.

Here are five innovations created by *students at the University of Cincinnati as part of the innovation tools course.

1.  TASK UNIFICATION:  The lipstick package has the additional task of carrying lip finishers in addition to the main stick.  The color-filled lipstick sits in the center with the three finishes surrounding it in different slots. Benefits: many potential color and finish combinations; multiple uses- lipstick, blush and eye color; combined in a single unit for convenience; refillable

Twisterless2 2.  SUBTRACTION:  The lipstick cap is removed.  Instead, it has a slide the mechanism that moves up or down to move the lipstick in place.   Benefits: allows for convenient one-handed operation which saves time; one-handed operation allows for more convenient application; capless design prevents cap and stick accidents.

Shade Perfection 3.  MULTIPLICATION:  The tube contains many different smaller sticks of different colors.  One lipstick provides a range of colors to suit any occasion. Benefits: eliminates the need for multiple lipsticks; saves space in your purse or cabinet; many potential color and finish combinations; easy to use; refillable.

  4. ATTRIBUTE DEPENDENCY:  The color changes over time.  One application provides a sleek, neutral color, perfect for all-day wear. But, with one or two smacks, lips become sexy and vibrant. This lipstick is ready for any occasion and can go anywhere. Benefits: eliminates the need for multiple lipsticks; saves space in your purse or cabinet; many potential color and finish combinations; easy to use.

5. DIVISION:  The stick is divided into many smaller versions (preserving the characteristics of the whole).  These become small, one to two-time use sachets rather than the traditional tube.  Color is applied by finger.  Benefits: small sachets allow for one time usage without having to purchase an entire lipstick; price is set at a level to become more affordable to a broader target audience.

*Students:  Elizabeth John, Julie Maines, Ronald Meyers, Ina-Maija Tillmanns, and Maria Zumdick