Innovative Thinking – Mistakes Are Opportunities – Blog 033

King Gillette


In 1895 King Gillette (not royalty), went to shave and found his razor to dull.  As he went to the barber to have it sharpened.  He stood there looking at the very edge of his razor, the idea came to him.  What if I could create a “disposable blade”?  No one would ever have to run to the barber and pay them to sharpen their blades.


Six years of failure to manufacture the blades went by.  Even MIT told Gillette to drop the project until one professor agreed to help.  In 1901 the first 55, $5 razors were sold.  They were very expensive for their time.


During WWI, the government bought 3.5 million razors & 36 million blades.  The Gillette story has become a Harvard Business Case Study on how you can give the razor away for free or at cost, so you make huge profits on the blades.


Can you name any other similar business model?


“Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.”

–Harvey Firestone


Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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