The value of a problem
Many of our best innovations originate in problems. Actual challenges that people have faced in their own lives that they have started thinking about and innovate around. One such great example is the work of Sam Farber. He saw his wife, Betsey, who suffered from arthritis, struggling with the vegetable peeler. The peeler’s grip wasn’t wide enough for her to achieve a steady grip. So in 1989, at the age of 61, he launched a new company, OXO International, to create ergonomically correct household gadgets for people of all ages. The couple started innovating around the regular kitchen appliances and launched 15 products in 1990. The sales of the products experienced a growth of over 35% per year from 1991 to 2002. The line now has over 500 products and has received over 100 awards.
Now, at the age of 83, Sam Farber still is a driving force in the world of design “I try hard to get away, but I’m still involved,” Farber says with a laugh. “The world is full of bad design, so there is a lot to do.”