Two bags of milk – a thought about business innovation strategy

When I was growing up in Tel-Aviv Israel, I remember my mom asking me to go to the store and get “2 bags of milk”. I can imagine your face right now. Yes. We were buying milk in a blob like plastic bags. In order to pour this, you place the milk bag into a plastic jug, cut the top corner of the bag and pour.

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Funny ha? well, yes. 20 years ago that was the way it was done. In Australia I believe there were milk bottles. Maybe even a milkman. OK, the point is that it took us 20 years to go from a milk bag/glass bottles to the carton we buy today. TWENTY YEARS to make that simple, logic move.

Here’s another example: We buy juice in cartons too. And we started with the small screw top. Do you remember what it was like pouring from this thing? I had to stop every three seconds because it was splashing everywhere. Finally, a few months ago I saw the new bigger screw top which is so much easier to use. It was a no fuss quiet innovation.  I haven’t seen a “campaign” around it. It’s a shame cause I think it’s worth one. A campaign celebrating the fact it took us around FOUR YEARS TO MAKE THE HOLE BIGGER.Picture 1537

We’re so used to think about ourselves (humans) as technology advanced and so smart we forget that we’re only a hundred years away from the start of the industrial revolution and now embarking on a different revolution. Laws, education and governance made to support an industrial revolution will soon be out of date. We need to rethink our processes. In every field.

Can you improve on the way you do things? how can we quicken the process? If you have a few minutes please watch this amazing talk on TED: William McDonough on cradle to cradle design. It is about what we need to change and how to do it:

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