Fabio Castiglia, Polti's Technical Director, tells how Polti Moppy was born, an idea that becomes an innovation.
How an idea for a product becomes an innovation.
Often the word "innovation" is identified with the budget that a company spends on research, with the aim of developing new technologies and optimizing processes. The risk is that companies seem increasingly similar to each other, effectively reducing the competitive advantage otherwise guaranteed by diversity.
Today it’s very easy to quickly copy industry best practices, which leads companies to pursue the same customers with increasingly similar solutions and products.
In this race we risk neglecting the ultimate goal of innovation, that is to create value for consumers. They are the ones who, by choosing whether buy or not to buy the products and services offered, confirm the quality of the innovation proposed by the company. And the only way to guarantee this advantage to the customer, is to understand their needs in order to satisfy them, or reduce the perceived costs of buying and using the products.
It’s always with this goal in mind that an idea, stemming from the intuition of an individual or from the brain storming of a team, can find fertile ground, be nourished and supported, grow and become a product that brings with it a concept that will make the idea successful and universally recognized as innovative.
It’s a tortuous process littered with difficulties, which has to be faced with dynamism, logical capacity and a good dose of instinct, sometimes daring to try without fear of failure, always relying on skills but promoting intuition.
Often this path leads to nothing, other times to a product "seen before", but sometimes tenacity and ingenuity are rewarded, generating a product that brings with it a real and quantifiable advantage that the consumer will be able to appreciate.
Polti Moppy is innovation because...
This is how Polti Moppy was born, interpreting the needs of consumers, even those not expressed. It is from these that Francesca Polti's request arose: a cordless steam mop! It seemed an impossible idea to realize, a game lost at the start. "The technology doesn’t exist" ... "We've already tried it" ... But the challenge was stimulating and we had the skills on our side.
So then laboratory tests, months of working with enthusiasm on prototypes created and then destroyed after disappointing results.
It seemed to all intents and purposes a blind alley, but the team sensed that the solution was near, that it was necessary to break away from the convictions of a lifetime of research and let the ideas flow freely.
Hard work for development, design, tests, tests with consumers, driven by the enthusiasm of knowing that we were one step away from our goal.
And it was through open-mindedness that the idea was finally revealed in all its disarming simplicity: today we generate steam on a cloth to clean the floors, but why carry the steam generator around? We carry only what the consumer really needs to clean - the cloth!
That's where Polti Moppy blossomed, in the not so narrow space between the power of the steam and the practicality of the mop.
The certified effectiveness, the brillant simplicity and the shocking immediacy make this product a real innovation.
Based on the experience of Polti Moppy, what would you not do again or what different approach would you develop?
The experience of the Polti Moppy project has taught me many things, but it’s hard to say what I wouldn’t do again.
Probably I would try to free people from early prejudice and I would try to prevent some empty periods that risked compromising the project.
But the result was excellent and the errors also probably helped to achieve it.
From the case of Polti Moppy, what teaching do you draw for future projects?
Credo che il vero insegnamento di Polti Moppy sia che oggi, nonostante l’impressionante ed inarrestabile sviluppo della tecnologia, ci sono ancora molte esigenze che restano in attesa di una soluzione.
Un’innovazione non nasce in una notte, è frutto di anni di esperienza e di test. È un collage di competenze, conoscenze e lavoro di team.
I believe the real teaching of Polti Moppy is that today, despite the impressive and unstoppable development of technology, there are still many needs that are awaiting a solution. An innovation isn’t born in one night, it’s the result of years of experience and tests. It’s a collage of skills, knowledge and teamwork.
Therefore it’s from this that we start every new project, trying to improve ourselves in the management and dialogue between departments, to support the exchange of ideas and work together on a common goal: to respond to consumer needs.
We did it for Polti La Vaporella, after Polti Moppy and for which we tried, in the same way, to give free rein to ideas. In this case also with excellent results.