Innovation by Defining Failures under Environmental and Competitive Pressures: A Case Study of the Laundry Detergent Market in Japan

Masatoshi Fujiwara

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    This paper aims to describe how a commercially successful innovation occurs with the altering of the existing competitive structure in a market under environmental and competitive pressures. I study the history of the laundry detergent market in Japan and elucidate the manner in which Kao accomplished an innovation and increased their market share during the late 1980s. Kao introduced their new detergent Attack through a biotechnological innovation and dramatically changed the competitive structure to their advantage. The innovations introduced were of two kinds 1) fermentation engineering
    technologies to improve the cleaning performance of detergents by using alkaline cellulase, and 2) concentration of detergents to four times their earlier strength through changes in their powder processing technologies. This historical innovation that occurred in the laundry detergent market in Japan has a contemporary implication because combining firms’ activities and environmental sustainability has been one of the most crucial topics over recent years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherAsia Research Centre. Copenhagen Business School
    Number of pages33
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    SeriesCopenhagen Discussion Papers


    • Innovation
    • Laundry Detergent Market
    • Japan
    • Competitive Strategy
    • Environmental Pressures

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