Insights

Even the most mature product can be innovated

While sitting on the beach on my summer holiday I was slapped in the face. Not by a wave but by a striking example of how even the most mundane product can be improved.

We all are very familiar with the humble beach parasol. It’s made up of two parts: a pole with a sharpish end you dig into the sand and then the sun umbrella itself which you slide into the pole and clamp in place. This product has probably been the same since the 1950s. I certainly remember beach holidays in the 1960s, spending what felt like hours, digging the pole into the ground, heaping stones rounded it, piling sand on top of that, trying to keep the pole straight and stable. 

And now, someone has come up with a new twist on this. It’s a very simple plastic auger or hollow screw type fitting about 18 inches long which you use to screw into the sand and it provides a solid basis for clamping your sun umbrella in place. Something that used to be a pain now takes a few seconds. The technology to make this injection moulded auger has probably been around since the 1950s, but it has been some 60 years for someone to have the idea and get the auger to the market. 

It’s so extraordinary how even the simplest of things can still be improved?