In Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, I liked some case studies that the author delved into. There were many interesting case studies about ideas and products that worked their way to success. In particular, there was one case study about Lionel Poilane, a French baker who came to be known as the ‘best baker in the world.’
Not content about being just another family baker, he set out doing extensive research, analysis and worked very hard to understand the baking techniques of the French. He found out a very simple method of baking bread with just flour, water, starter, sea salt and then had the bread baked in a wood fired oven. Though his work of simplicity was initially rejected, it became the ‘in’ thing to have. The result was that every restaurant worth its reputation in Paris serves Poilane bread. His company ships loaves all over the bread and according to Seth Godin, this amazing young baker-turned-innovator sold over $10 million worth of bread in 2001.
Another interesting example is of Curad, the innovator who decided to replace the Band-Aid with something else. Can we imagine any product replacing Band Aid? Well, Conrad came up with something better. He developed easy bandages that had comic characters on them. The rest became history. Every kid in school loved to sport Curad bandages at school and show off to friends. The rest, as you can guess, is history.
Often, in real life, we resist an opportunity to think and explore beyond boundaries. We think it’s risky. Like Seth Godin tells us, the real risk lies in being boring and in playing by the rules.