Christopher W. Miller
There is no problem that we face as a species that cannot be improved by the application of New Product Development Processes.
A senior fellow at Arthur D. Little & Company, Joe Stilwell, was frustrated. For more than 30 years he had designed food and medical packaging and felt that he had substantially contributed to improvements in material, function, and safety. By any standard, his was an innovation success story for the 20th century. His career focused on the creation of the “package” in “packaged goods” and was part of a broad-reaching concept that involved hundreds of companies and thousands of scientists, engineers, and marketing people. Joe was part of an effort that had improved and reduced the cost of containers, contributing to the feeding of hundreds of millions. By most estimates, improved food packaging had dropped food spoilage from 30 to 50 percent in 1900, down to 2 to 3 percent by 1980 (Stilwell, 1991). Then, in the early 1980s, his product had become the poster child for environmental degradation as medical waste floated up onto the beaches of the Jersey shore. In response to the accusations, he wrote the book, Packaging for the Environment: A Partnership for Progress, (AMACOM, 1991) in which he outlined the challenges surrounding medical waste, not the least of which was a regulatory nightmare of state laws and of city ordinances governing ...