HBS Working Knowledge: Business History: How Tide Cleaned up the Competition This excerpt from the new book "Rising Tide" by the HBS Press, details the process by which P&G famously changed its industry and then itself through a single innovation - namely Tide, the first commercial synthetic detergent.
In a story that will be all too familiar to many corporate innovators, Tide (or "Product X") as it was then called, nearly died in the labs. When asked how long it would take to take the product to market, the initial estimates were upwards of 2 years. However, in a shock move, P&G execs decided to break the traditional rules, bypassing the usual consumer and manufacturing tests to try and get a 2 year head start on their potential competitors. This gamble, which exposed P&G to some major risks for a company coming fresh out of a depression and only making $500 million in annual revenues, paid off - and it launched a company not previous geared for speed into a commanding first-mover advantage position.
The story is a classic innovation story - and is pretty well written - will be interesting to read the whole book!