headline press information

Date 30th August 2010 / www.procarton.com



For many people, innovation is magic. But most innovation-experts claim that innovation is just the combination of things that have not been combined before. One of these experts is Simon Dewulf from Creax, who has found systematic ways of tackling the problem. He held a highly attentive presentation at the well attended “Packaging Design Summit” on 18./19. May 2010 in Amsterdam.

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Innovation is the most important resource of the future. But it is not magic. In fact, it can be (and is, mostly) the result of a very systematic process. Simon Dewulf has explored several different ways to make this process accessible for everyone: “In the present day environment there is the need to be creative for innovative solutions to guarantee competitiveness. With plenty of technology and knowledge as a commodity, clients want new performances, permanent solutions at affordable prices.”

Making Things Comparable

The underlying principle is clear: Desires, properties, functions and resources are defined on an abstract level where they can be combined with already existing solutions in completely different fields. The “innovation game” is always dominated by four factors:


1. Customer value: what values do we want? For example: I want my product safer, faster, biodegradable... The value consists basically of four elements: performance, less harm, interface and costs.
2. Resources: What Resources do we have? For example internet, patents, chemicals, university research?
3. Inspiration: Where do we look for inspiration? For example nature, clients, patents or in the time of holidays?
4. Properties: What do we change, what do we gain? Lighter materials for transport? Protruded for cooling? Integrated with the system? More flexible to bend?

Different Sources of Creativity

The principle is the same, yet the ways are different. One of the sources that is often neglected is existing patents. Dewulf: “Today with the concept of sustainability we apply to energy and materials, but perhaps we should apply it to knowledge too. Perhaps we can make a difference by recycling knowledge more effectively. Patents are a means to distil property function relations.”


Another possibility for finding new ideas is focusing on the value. Four questions explore this context: (1) What can be better, what can be more? (2) What can be less damaging, less inconvenient? (3) What can be easier? What can be rectified? (4) What can be cheaper?


An efficient and simple technique is the concept of time and space. If there is a problem here and now, maybe the solution can be found through creativity regarding time, not now but before or after, and regarding space, not here but somewhere else. For instance, two vehicles that want to cross a crossroads can be solved in time; by traffic lights or priorities rule, and in space; by a bridge or a roundabout.


Finally, Creax has developed a concept called “Product DNA”, where existing core-features of a product are defined in order to search for fields where these features appear in a more desired way. Once you have put together the properties and functions of your product or product-concept, you can search for solutions in fields that you have not thought of before.


Simon Dewulf: ‘Nobody is as smart as everybody together.’ Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done. But there are ways of innovation that we use much more than we have up to now.


Innovative solutions also in the field of cartons are listed on www.moreinspiration.com




Richard Dalgleish +44 777 613 8510 dalgleish@procarton.com
Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.