The backbone of a company is not in its products and services, but in its expertise. The basis of our identity and innovation is not in what we do, but in our know-how.

Companies identify with their products and services, not realizing that what defines and differentiates them is their expertise. Without a well-founded know-how, we cannot create solid products and services. This know-how is also what will allow us to evolve and innovate without losing our identity.

FEB31st and Lékué are two examples of companies that managed to reinvent themselves through design-driven innovation thanks to a long experience and know-how.

Intel Andrew Grove

FEB31st: from home accessories to wooden glasses

Stefano and Silvano Minelli are the fourth generation of a family based in Bergamo (Italy) with a long experience in turnery and woodwork of high level. The family business, Lodofin, specializes in the manufacture of wooden handlings and home accessories.

Lodofin

Lodofin

United by the desire to broaden their horizons, Stefano and Silvano decided to invest in a new project and create their own brand. By chance, the son of one of their clients, Stefano Sarti Cipriani, had just graduated with a thesis on the use of wood in the glasses, which would became the basis for the new project, FEB31st: high quality optical frames made from wood.

The team was completed by Valerio Cometti, engineer and designer, from whose talent arose the idea of gathering wood and color, and the skill and sensitivity of Mario Moriggi, master cabinetmaker.

FEB31st

FEB31st

Beyond the novelty of using wood to make eyeglass frames, the innovation of FEB31st lies in the construction of a new product meaning with which people can identify: a product combining the ethical use of wood with innovative design. Aesthetics aimed at a young market for whom wood is also an ethic choice. The wood used to build the frames is of the highest quality and certified by the FSC, the international body that guarantees the traceability of materials from certified forests.

WeTransfer Laszlito Kovacs

Lékué: from rubber accessories to healthy eating

Lékué (Spain) was founded by Josep M. Llorente, an entrepreneur and inventor with a long experience in rubber processing. Over the years, he developed different rubber products, such as shower caps, ice-cube trays or brushes, which were sold to big distribution companies. However, soon other companies adopted the idea and produced similar products at lower prices.

Seeking to create new products, he partnered  with a manufacturer of silicone to develop a formulation to make silicone molds for cooking food. The idea was a success, but after a few years, again other companies were selling similar and cheaper products.

Finally, Llorente sold the company to Xavier Costa, an entrepreneur who was looking for a project linked to healthy eating. Costa wanted to build an innovative brand focused on cooking and to this end, he reoriented the company towards the consumer and smaller and more exclusive points of sale.

Lékué

Lékué

Costa saw that people were faced with a contradiction: on the one hand, there was a growing interest in healthy food but on the other hand, home cooking was a long and complex process. Based on their know-how in rubber and silicone processing, Lékué collaborated with designers, such as Luki Huber, to create innovative kitchenware to help the consumers to recover the pleasure of cooking at home, combined with a healthy, appetizing, quick and easy way of cooking. This is the case of one of its star products, the steam case.

innovation through Know-how

IBM Doug Powell

Analyzing both cases, we can see that the stories of FEB31st and Lékué share certain elements:

  • A long and solid experience in a particular field. Processing wood at FEB31st and rubber at Lékué.
  • Incorporation of new ideas. In FEB31st, Stefano Sarti Cipriani provides the project of combining glasses and wood. In Lékué, Xavier Costa brings the concept of healthy eating.
  • Collaboration with external designers. Both FEB31st and Lékué use external designers to create new products, in which aesthetics play an essential role.
  • Creation of a meaning. Both companies connect the product with new trends in society and culture, offering a new meaning with which people can identify. Aesthetics and ecology in the case of FEB31st, and ease of use, aesthetics and healthy food in the case of Lékué.
Now, ask yourself: What do I do and what’s my know-how?

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