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A case study focused on the Innovation of Compression Garments


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Graduate Design Management - History of Innovation Compression garment study

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A case study focused on the Innovation of Compression Garments

  1. 1. A Case Study on the Innovation of Compression Garments Aidenn Mullen [ dmgt 702 ] winter 2013
  2. 2. Contents What is Proper Innovation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Development & Antecedent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The drive towards diffusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Vast Compression Garment Markets . . . . . . . . 8 Technology fuels Compression Innovation . .9 Attributes of Innovation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Adopters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 User Visibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Theories for Recontextualization. . . . . . . . . . . .13 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Works Cited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 3
  3. 3. What is proper Innovation? To Innovate one must examine and accept a trigger that perpetuates change or recontextualize the change that triggers the innovation process. Innovations are often comprised of complex systems engineering and must be diffused throughout society effectively. Innovation, as it relates to the apparel industry, is a very popular 21st century term. Many inventions are introduced into the market daily in regards to apparel. Yet, a true innovation requires the formation of a complete system to introduce change. It is through the use of Everett Roger’s “Diffusion of Innovation”, C.M. Crawford’s “Invention versus Innovation”, John Law’s “Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering: The Case of the Portuguese Expansion”, Eric Von Hippel’s “Democratizing Innovation” and Clayton Christensen’s “Seeing What’s Next” that we can examine the invention of compression garments that created the innovation of performance apparel. 4
  4. 4. The Innovation development process of compression garments In 1942, William Hanford and Donald Holmes developed polyurethane which is the base for the elastomeric fabric that we contemporarily know as Spandex. The fiber is a remarkable development due to it’s flexibility and recovery. DuPont developed Spandex with polyurethane content in 1959, sparking many industries to use the synthetic fiber in their products. Holmes Hanford Swiss Manufacturer In 1959, a Sigvaris, a swiss manufacturer, partnered with Dr.Karl Sigg, a renowned phlebologist to develop the first ready to wear compression sock. The study and development of the compression sock is in direct response to a “Call to Action” requested by the US Surgeon General of the time, Steven K. Galson, M.D.,M.P.H to address the epidemic of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism of the era. Dr. Karl Sigg 5
  5. 5. The Antecedents of Compression Garments Rubber Foundation Garments Prior to the development of high-tenacity stretch fibers, the 1950’s foundation garments were made of rubber & latex. After the invention of spandex by DuPont, all were replaced with spandex material which allowed the wearer’s skin to breathe, the material was more pliable and the build up of dirt and bacteria was minimal in comparison to rubber reducers. Compression socks for Lymphedemga In the 1960’s compression socks developed to address patients suffering from deep-vein thrombosis. The socks enhanced circulation , reduced blood pooling & increased deep tissue oxygenation . The socks also reduced the risk of a blood clot forming during air flight. In the late 1980’s studies proved that the socks lowered blood lactate levels in athletes, a common problem after extensive exercise routines. The sports performance industry quickly took notice of the advantages of compression apparel and from that Lycra was developed. The innovation of compression performance apparel was just on the horizon. 6
  6. 6. What drove diffusion for compression garments? Political Force Technological Force Social Force Cultural Force Environmental Force Economic Force The US Surgeon General of the time, Steven K. Galson, M.D.,M.P.H to address the epidemic of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism of the era. The development of polyurethane spurred the development of Spandex and Lycra. Society’s need for compression garments was in relation to the epidemic of lymphedemga. Once introduced to the market, the sports industry & undergarment industry caught notice of the product and it’s advantages as well as it’s medical benefits. Society accepted compression apparel for a wide variety of uses: the ability to wick away moisture, increase the range of motion, quick drying, muscle recovery benefits, light gram weight in comparison to it’s antecedents, medically reducing blood pooling for DVT patients, lessens muscle vibrations during activity, undergarments improve posture and enhanced lactate removal for travel and performance. Compression apparel is widely adopted and accepted in our culture due to it’s multiple uses. Retailers understand the need for compression garments for a variety of customers uses. Medically, we accept this as a plan of treatment and the diffusion of such has had a global impact. Compression performance & undergarment apparel have brought garments that are user adaptable for all season, climates and conditions. Modern performance compression garments can cool and heat the body, wick away rain and dry faster than any athletic garment used before. The Performance compression apparel market is currently gaining rapid global growth and potential long term growth forecasts many years of opportunity in cases where the manufacturer continues to innovate product. 7
  7. 7. The invention of compression apparel is a radical innovation due to the direct relationship with then invention of elasticized fibers. In the 1960’s spandex could stretch 100% it’s size. Today, high tenacity stretch fabric can stretch and recover up to 600% it’s original size. Radically speaking, the compression apparel market is vast. Here are the currently impacted industries: Diabetic Apparel Surgery Healing Support Shapewear Apparel Vet Therapy Performance Athletes Military Motorcycle/Auto Racing Hunting Surfing Cycling Geriatrics Maternity Equestrian 8
  8. 8. Compression Apparel’s entrance into the Athletics and Shapewear Industry through Technology is currently groundbreaking in the Apparel Industry. Athletic Examples Under Armour - a leader in disruptive innovative apparel for athletes, by athletes. Entrant U.A .targeted undershot mass market performance customers in professional settings. Both Football and Baseball have benefited from U.A.’s original invention ARMOUR39, which today is on it’s 40th iteration. Apple - Smart Garment Patent approval, through partnership with Nike the patent relates to a “smart” running shoe & “smart garments”. The patented sensors in the apparel have the ability to track customer usage, and to become a virtual trainer for the athlete. Compression athletic wear is a growing category within Nike and in theory the patent could be directly related to this rapid growth category. For Apple, smart apparel is an entirely new business practice. Apple’s new apparel patents Original Spanx patent Shapewear Examples Spanx - Entrepreneur Sara Blakely founded Spanx by personally re-inventing her hosiery. She then targeted the undershot customers of the Hosiery Industry. The Spanx product is defined as a disruptive innovation because in introduced new benefits to an existing market. Spanx has also gained critical mass by attaining non-user customers of hosiery that recognize their need for body reducing compression clothing. 9
  9. 9. What attributes of innovation have propelled the social diffusion of compression garments? Relative Advantage : Compression garment product development, despite the particular industry, take the shape of past adopted apparel. Their design, construction and silhouette is very similar to prior products used for similar intentions which increased their rate of adoption. Compression garments such as the Under Armour performance tee were adopted by Lead users more easily due to it’s visual properties resembling the typical tee used for exercise. Compatibility : Compression garments better served the needs of potential adopters that were either undershot customers or non-consumers of the specific industry it was introduced. The new products empathetically addressed need within their value proposition, as well as similar price ,packaging , retail strategy and marketing. Triability : Compression apparel is diffused by it’s availability to lead users. Many developer’s have first introduced these products to users such as professional athletes, medical patients or actresses. Complexity : Innovative compression garments have a very low degree of complexity for their user. The products generally visually resemble antecedents of the innovation and they also rely on the technology of the fabric to imply the compression which keeps the look streamlined. Observability : Compression apparel in some cases has a very high degree of visibility. Products such as performance tees and tights are worn within the context of their use, therefore other potential adopters can gain knowledge of the innovation. 10
  10. 10. Compression Garments’ Categories and Characteristics of Adopters Many of today’s modern compression garment manufacturer’s have gained adopters in similar fashions. Innovators: adoption as a result of product distributed to lead users that were typically part of the same social settings as it’s driven innovator. Early Adopters : these adopters have been in some cases, professionals (ex: athletes,doctors) or role models using the innovation and then communicating it’s effectiveness within their immediate society. Early MajorityAdopters : Performance apparel’s early majority adopters can be detected in reference to Under Armour and their initial product diffusion within the MLB or the NHL. Other developers like Spanx relied on leading females to communicate the product. Blakely, the entrepreneur also targeted lead roles like Oprah Winfrey (with whom she sent baskets of product to ) to market the product without financial contribution. Lower priced product lines ( a revised business model ) also propelled Spanx into mass market retailers and helped the company reach critical mass. Late Majority : The late majority of adopters to compression apparel is visible within geographic constraints to purchase product. Mostly, given the accessibility of ecommerce and mass market retailers the products may now be at a price point to motivate adoption. A great example of late majority adopters in reference to Under Armour is in the recent youth sports adoption of the products. Laggard Adoption : A great example of laggard adoption can be visible in the medical brace market. Antecedent braces have a steel structure to them and many velcro straps that are difficult for the user. Yet, the structured braces have been previously adopted and new compression fabric braces have been slow to adopt outside the athletic community due to negligent marketing & perhaps reverse medical industry diffusion. 11
  11. 11. Football uniforms Current User Visibility Compression socks Olympic Snowboarding Surgery recovery garments Race Horse Compression Suit Medical compression sleeves Youth Apparel Ladies swimwear Military Compression Gear Compression Sports Brace Hunting Compression Apparel
  12. 12. Theories for Compression Garment recontextualization: In the future, it is possible that performance compression garments will help to accelerate and soothe the wearer. Further studies are developing focusing on controlling the vibration characteristics of muscles, on exploring their proprioceptive sensation ( the feeling of body and movement, relationship to gravity from sensation ), determine neuromuscular control (to reduce injury) and overall increase in performance. The shapewear compression industry is experiencing incremental advances through possible ideas like anti-cellulite shapewear introduced by Playtex. Shapewear has also faced criticisms within the medical community. Wearing compression garments can lead to infections, nerve damage and blood clots. Yet, it has been proven that compression garments can help to improve posture and therefore the product may recontextualize into the chiropractic community. In addition to these recent developments in regard to compression apparel, it is also speculated that the growing Geriatric Industry will benefit from the increased blood flow created by compression garments. Also, compression garments can help burn victims in third world countries. There are many charities with this very initiative today. 13
  13. 13. Conclusion The emphatic need and successful diffusion in various markets defines Compression Apparel as a radical innovation. Innovations themselves take time to evolve and diffuse. In this case study we have examined the developmental history and scientific discovery that foundationally support modern day compression wear. Compression apparel came with a “Call to Action” from it’s political forces to solve lymphedemga. The marriage of medical need and the invention of spandex helped to solve societies epidemic. The cultural acceptance of compression apparel is related to it’s resemblance to clothing it innovated which is also it’s relative advantage. Today’s climate also engages environmental needs of the consumer to regulate temperature through clothing, hot or cold. In certain markets compression apparel targeted undershot or non existent consumers. Entrant targeting of a market asymmetrically lead to Incumbent co-opting and defensive barrier strategies in regards to Performance & Shapewear compression apparel. In the future it is very possible that adopters will experience incremental product improvement for performance and shapewear compression. It is also possible that may new markets will benefit from the evolution of compression science. Compression apparel’s total consumer needs have not yet been achieved and with the development of technology these products will continue to re-invent and thrive as innovative products. 14
  14. 14. Works Cited: Fu Yu Liu and Ying Fang, Research Advancements in Humanoid Compression garments in Sports, (http:// International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems - Intech 19 Jul 2012. Clare O’Conner, How Spanx became a billion dollar business without Advertising, sites/clareoconnor/2012/03/12/how-spanx-became-a-billion-dollar-business-without-advertising/2/, 3/12/12 Clare O’Conner, Top Five Startup Tips from Spanx Billionaire Sara Blakely, clareoconnor/2012/04/02/top-five-startup-tips-from-spanx-billionaire-sara-blakely/, 04/02/12 Mary Monroe, Sweat Couture : A User’s guide to Performance Apparel, sweat-couture-a-user-s-guide-to-performance-apparel, Idea Fitness Journal,Volume 5, Number 10, Oct 2008 Jack Purcher, Apple Wins Smart Garment and iphone circuit board patents, patently-apple/2012/01/apple-wins-smart-garment-iphone-circuit-board-patents.html, 01/17/12 Meghann Flynn, Sigvaris, Tawanee Prazak, Under Pressure:Does Compression Apparel Work? 2011/08/gear-tech/under-pressure-does-compression-apparel-work_32884 , 08/28/11 Rogers, Everett M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovation Von Hippel, Eric (2006) Democratizing Innovation Gloor, Peter (2006) Swarm Creativity: Competitive Advantage through Collaborative Innovation Networks, Clayton Christensen’s “Seeing What’s Next”, Harvard Business School Press John Law ,Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering: The Case of Portuguese Expansion, MIT press, 1987 C.M. Crawford’s “Invention versus Innovation”,1983 Aidenn Mullen [ dmgt 702 ] winter 2013 15