The right organizational strategy to drive innovation: The Whirlpool Story

Understanding the idea of innovation in itself will allow one to objectively appreciate its benefit to an organization. Innovation is much broader than one would imagine; it should not be limited to creating enhanced service, disruptive technology or a new product as Loewe & Dominiquini explains.

We have decided to focus on a company called Whirlpool and how they successfully operated a strategy that made innovation thrive. Whirlpool started off in Michigan, USA and was led by an innovative vision of two brothers, Frederik and Louis Upton.

They have consistently made efforts to focus on customers’ everyday lifestyle; their activities and interests. The organization’s webpage, shows that the company hopes to minimize product damages by innovating and conserving resources.

Whirpool uses this as a strategy to anticipate and encourage product purchase and customer loyalty. They describe this approach as their “lead” strategy, which was derived from creating “useful, usable and desirable” products for customers.

Furthermore, the company drives its process by advocating widespread employee participation with the use of ethnographic and consumer research as a key practice to drive innovation. Also, for larger markets, the centralized Global Consumer Design (US Mexico, Europe, India & China) functions to control cost and exploit emerging trends everywhere they operate.

Whirlpool also engages US-based InstoreResearch, which helps in carrying out market research.  One of their most remarkable successes was a research that addressed the lack of sales of a specific type of drier which allowed them to make modifications that resulted in huge sales.

Also, on, they have made deliberate effort to identify and share with end users in the area of partnership through “Habitat for Humanity”. This lays emphasis on an integral part of the company’s business focus, which is consumer participation in areas of social habit and the environment where these products are being used.

A lot of the organizational driven effort at Whirlpool has been very effective, considering the fact that they make deliberate attempts to anticipate growth through innovation.

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