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Global Fortune 500 chemicals company addresses issues in fine fragrances

A global Fortune 500 chemicals company, which engineers and manufactures a wide variety of commodity and specialty chemicals and polymers, employed Inovo to help create innovative, high potential applications for one of its high margin, specialty polymer products. One of six opportunities to emerge from this initial Discovery project was an innovative consumer product concept for the use of fine fragrances. This opportunity was selected for a subsequent Opportunity Pursuit project.

The overall global retail market for fine fragrances is ~$30 billion and is growing at a healthy pace.  The problem with the vast majority of fine fragrances is that they do not last long on the skin and their efficacy declines dramatically after the first 1 to 2 hours. Secondly, it is well known that fragrance smells differently on the skin than in the bottle, making it very difficult for consumers to shop for fragrance. Finally, the prevalence of fragrance skin allergies is significant and appears to be growing.  Fragrance companies have been trying to solve all of these problems for a long, long time but always within the current usage paradigm.


For this project, Inovo deployed the Opportunity Pursuit methods and tools from our ADOPTS™ framework for strategic innovation. Inovo created a purpose-built community of subject matter experts from within the fragrance business ecosystem and conducted one-on-one engagements with 30 of them, including consumers, fragrance retailers, fragrance brands, fragrance suppliers, media, industry consultants, technology researchers, and others. We confirmed unmet consumer needs and desires and also confirmed that our value proposition was viable.  This included identifying issues with the current fragrance application methods and an assessment as to whether or not consumers and brands would be open to alternative methods for the use of fine fragrance.

We also developed an overview of the industry value chain, product segmentation, value proposition for each segment, current and emerging products and technologies and the intellectual property landscape. A motivation-based consumer segmentation model was developed. In addition, we profiled the technical effects that alternative solution concepts would need to have. Finally, we developed an analysis of alternative business models and paths to market, including both product development and commercialization partnerships.

We also conducted an ideation program to generate various application design concepts. Five winning design concepts were ultimately prioritized.


The final recommendation was to take an aggressive approach to partnerships in product development, product design and commercialization.  Our client held the lock in a ‘lock and key’ design and this secured its access to the ultimate business potential.  This afforded them the ability to bring in other technical and commercial business partners to help with aspects of getting a consumer product into a retail market. We also introduced our client into a partnership conversation with one of the major global fragrance houses.

“A well-defined innovation strategy frames and guides your innovation initiatives towards tangible results. An explicit Innovation Strategy prepares you to deal with the uncertain future to your advantage rather than to your surprise.”

 – Larry Schmitt , Managing PartnerThe Inovo Group