Innovation at Estee Lauder?

I have been busy working long hours this week on my company’s participation in the upcoming Front End Of Innovation (FEI) conference, so, I’ve had little time to blog. That said, I’ve been knee deep in making choices and been surrounded by the topics of innovation – so while I haven’t been writing about it – I was immersed in what this blog is about. Anyway, today its finally nice and sunny in Oregon (Welcome Hillary and Barack, btw!), I took a rare hour lunchbreak and headed over to the local mall. Why? I’ve been diligently studying the companies attending FEI and was incredibly interested in Estee Lauder’s presence. I would’nt say its a company that rolls off the tongue when talking about the most innovative companies but I am sold on the fact they’re innovating, after my experience and when I spoke with the assistants at the store. I even purchased DayWear Plus product which amazed me – it had an impact on the marketplace when it was introduced, consumer benefits are very clear (if you use make-up) and it was different to other products on the market (that was when it was first introduced, not there are imitations but Estee Lauder invented the DayWear Sheer Tint formula. What is so special about the product? Women no longer have to worry about matching their foundation and skin color or worry about changes in skin colors which happen with the seasons. It is a type of light foundation-type product, with SPF 15 and anti-oxident moisturizer which automatically matches your skin when you put it on). All round an educational and fun visit to Macy’s. I can’t wait to meet the company’s delegates at FEI!

When I got back to the office to rave about my visit and purchase, my collegue brought an interesting piece about from NPR to my attention. Its a fairly short piece which indirectly speaks to the innovation boundaries in the cosmetics industry. The industry sounds like the pharmaceutical industry, there is a very limited number of chemicals which can be used in make-up, that are approved by the FDA. Since getting more chemicals approved is costly and spending a billion dollar per product on R&D, is not viable. ($1b is the number a researcher from Merck cited last week when talking about the cost of drug development), there have been few true product innovations – cosmetic companies have had to rely more on brand innovation.  




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