What are the main challenges impeding innovation in the cleaning products market?

In the lead up to the Cleaning Products Europe 2015 conference, Smithers Apex has conducted interviews with the thought-leading experts that are on the speaker panel for the March conference taking place in sunny Barcelona.

Meet the expert: Frank Hatzack, Head of Innovation Development at Novozymes

Innovation development at Novozymes is about enabling the organization to make good ideas work together with partners and customers. Frank and his team are responsible for nursing Novozymes’ innovation culture and to facilitate innovation processes internally and externally. The team has special competencies in the areas of customer-centric innovation, digital innovation communities and innovation partner dialogues. Furthermore, the team actively explores collaborations with open source communities (makerspaces) as a new way to accelerate prototyping. Frank has many years of experience with early opportunity assessment and new business creation. He holds a PhD in biochemistry from Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin and began his career in Novozymes as a scientist with the Animal Health and Nutrition division.  

Frank will be delivering his presentation during conference day 1 (25 March 2015) on: Accelerating innovation by involving crowds and customers

Frank's presentations will showcase a number of examples on how internal and external crowdsourcing is being used at Novozymes in order to get much faster to prototypes and solutions which matter. Digital tools and processes are only one part of the equation, the other being culture and a unified skill-set to work systematically with idea maturation. 

During this exclusive interview with Frank, not only does he share his thoughts on the challenges impeding innovation in the cleaning products/household care industry currently, he also shares his insight on the importance of collaborations among key players in the market and where the industry will be in the next 10 years. 



Smithers Apex:

Please detail your current role as Head of Innovation Development at Novozymes

Frank Hatzack:

Together with my team we nurture Novozymes innovation culture – for us it is important to foster passion and engagement across the organisation and across geographies. Without that passion we would not be able to conduct our digital crowdsourcing and face to face ideations. Innovation in Novozymes is about inspiring people to make an impact. Inspiration and passion are contagious both internally and externally where we innovate together with our customers, partners and even do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Our role is this to inspire and to provide the necessary tools and processes for successful innovation.  


Smithers Apex:

What do you think are the main challenges impeding innovation in the cleaning products/household care industry currently?

Frank Hatzack:

I do see innovations in the household care industry, for example, the various mono dose formats of detergents. However, compared to some of other industries, I still think we could do faster innovations and I believe one of the challenges is that the industry is lack of a good ecosystem or platform to encourage more open innovations or collaborations among raw material suppliers, detergent manufacturers and wash machine manufacturers, or even companies outside the cleaning industry. The Nespresso capsule is a good example where it helped create a new coffee machine category and also licenced the machine technology to other manufacturers so they could quickly pre-empt the market.

I look forward to seeing more collaboration among the players inside and outside the industry, to come out with most innovative products and concepts that truly put consumers in the center.


Smithers Apex:

How important is collaboration for innovation within the cleaning products industry?

Frank Hatzack:

There are some small scale collaborations but most of the time, we are probably sitting in silos to do own in-house research based on our own insight. Therefore, if we look at the product launches for the past 10 years, we have not seen major changes on the format and benefit of the products; at the same time, the business model and value chain have been also fairly stable. However, if we look at other industries in the same time span, there has been a very rapid development. One example would be smart home, with technologies such as NFC, Bluetooth and WiFi. These technologies could potentially be put into use in the cleaning product industry, but that definitely requires intense collaboration. In other words - it is definitely not wrong to do incremental innovations to upgrade products, but if we want to think big and truly want to make an impact, we need to partner together. 


Smithers Apex:

Your team focuses on customer-centric innovation, digital innovation communities and innovation partner dialogues, could you explain these concepts and what the individual and combined benefits of these are?

Frank Hatzack:

As Novozymes we have strong a track-record as technology innovators through our R&D muscle. While we certainly want to upkeep our technology push we also strive at becoming even better at customer-centric innovation. That means that the innovation journey starts not only in our labs but at the customer. In order to be successful here you need a skilful innovation dialogue with your customers to uncover their needs. Then these needs must be shared and directed in the organisation so that they can be turned into matching solutions, fast – preferably through co-creation with the customer. Digital communities play a key role in this because they allow sharing insights across the silos and across regions. In this way we enhance the probability of finding the right solutions together much faster. Doing this we respect our customers’ interests and share on a ‘need to know’ basis.

The combined effect is that we leverage the collective brain-power and technology skills of hundreds of colleagues Novozymes in a way that allows us to accelerate innovation for the benefit of our customers.    


Smithers Apex:

Taking in to account on-going innovation, collaboration and sustainability initiatives today, where do you see the cleaning products/household care/detergents industry in 10 years’ time? 

Frank Hatzack:

I think that the household care industry to a large extend will be influenced by the world’s mega trends, including a strong focus on sustainability. I am sure over the next 10 years we will see production and supply chain processes being optimised and automated to enable customised products. In addition, smart homes will become more standard. In the not too distant future you could imagine, the wash machines will place orders for customised detergents based on the previous wash pattern, the weather and clothing of the owner, and the detergents will be automatically delivered. So in short, I think the future industry innovation and collaboration theme will be around how to synchronise with the trends, utilise the new technologies and provide step change benefit to the consumers in a more sustainable way.


Smithers Apex:

What are you most looking forward to about Cleaning Products Europe 2015? 

Frank Hatzack:

I look forward to meeting and networking with as many key players in the value chain as possible. Successful innovation depends on strong networks to share insights, discuss trends and to discover unexpected opportunities for value creation together.