By Subho Moulik, Global Head of Innovation – Whirlpool Corporation
Creativity and innovation go hand in hand – quantum twins that exist together or not at all. Conventional wisdom is that both creativity and innovation require boundless horizons, unfettered resources and no restrictions, leading to “blue ocean” innovation. And while this conventional wisdom holds true in some cases, in others it does not. A clear focus, limited resources and an awareness of practical limits often lead to more pugnacious creativity and more powerful innovation than anything else. In Hindi, this combination of tough as nails creativity leading to innovation is referred to as “jugaad”. At Whirlpool Corporation, we see creativity and innovation come together in both scenarios: blue ocean and jugaad.
Let’s start with the supreme problem that my 7-year-old, Amay, has with vegetables. Like most other 7-year-olds he does not like vegetables. Ham, eggs, chocolates, mangoes, pasta – are all embraced with gusto but green things (as he calls them) languish on his plate. Our KitchenAid small appliances team combined creativity, smart thinking, a practical approach to execution and a keen understanding of trends to deliver the innovation that solved Amay’s vegetable problem.
Let’s take the trinity of the emerging food trends of vegetable art, paleo diets and gluten free families and bring these to bear upon the iconic KitchenAid® stand mixer and its attachments. Whirlpool Corporation’s product development talent saw the simplicity and magic of adding an attachment to the stand mixer that would be able to corkscrew vegetables into my son’s mealtimes. Enter the KitchenAid® Spiralizer, born of creativity, on-trend, and intuitive – a great example of jugaad for a global brand. If you have not used it – here is where you go to see it in action. Amay now loves zucchini spiralizer pasta.
The Spiralizer is new, smart and a huge success. It is part of the KitchenAid stand mixer ecosystem. Millions of proud cooking enthusiasts swear by the stand mixer and what it brings to their kitchen experience. How do you innovate with this holy grail of kitchen small appliances? We do that at Whirlpool Corporation by thinking bigger – by imagining how we can bring the legendary benefits of the stand mixer to millions more people – including millennials, smaller urban families, countries around the world where new families will fall in love with that distinctive appliance that we all love and know already. And in this case, thinking bigger about the blue ocean of opportunity out there for the stand mixer means going smaller. Yes – no pun intended.
Consumers today want appliances that fit their spaces better. They want appliances that anticipate their changing habits and needs. And most importantly, they want innovation that delights them. Enter the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini stand mixer – an innovation that meets all of these expectations and more. It’s thinking bigger for the KitchenAid stand mixer – by understanding that for some consumers smaller and lighter is better. By saying that irrespective of one’s kitchen size or weekly baking batch size – we have an innovative solution that delights. And like the Spiralizer, the Artisan® Mini has a personal impact on my family. It makes my elder son Aarav’s baking efforts so much more effective – giving him a sense of control and supervised independence even when he is only 10 – and that makes me proud – never mind the mess in the kitchen!!!
Carl-Martin Lindahl, VP, KitchenAid® Small Appliances believes that passion, creativity and innovation underpin the success of the new products like the Spiralizer and the Artisan® Mini stand mixer that the KitchenAid small appliances business has launched globally.
“Innovation is front and center of everything we do in KitchenAid. In the last year we have expanded our innovation approach to also include new ways of selling, and new go to market models in addition to new products such as the Cold Brew coffee maker and the Sheet Cutter attachment for the KitchenAid stand mixer.”
We have countless other such examples of creativity leading to innovation at Whirlpool Corporation. From industry leading color innovation (Black Stainless and Sunset Bronze leading appliances away from a sea of white and metal) across North America and Asia, to leading the charge on getting you that cool beer you need, right when you need it in Brazil. From smart innovation for entry level refrigerators in India to re-imagining the home of the future with WLabs.
Please stay tuned for more stories on the women and men of Whirlpool Corporation and their creativity and innovation. It is what we wake up to do – to earn your trust and create the demand for products that make your lives better.