Re-Envisioning Laundry

Future of Laundry Innovation Playbook

Client:     Unilever


Chart the Future of Laundry for Global Brand Unilever

How can laundry positively affect the lives of 1 billion people in 5 years? Driven by this bold mission, Unilever approached RKS to help foresee opportunities in the segment and create sustainable new business ventures with impact. With intensive opportunity sessions held at the start of the project with global team members, 3 key challenges related to the laundry process emerged:

Reduction of water  usage or net zero water footprint

Reduce or eliminate the scrubbing and wringing involved in cleaning clothes

Promote wellness to the user during the washing process


Conducted Global Research to Uncover Macro Trends and Micro Niches

RKS’ research and strategy team conducted exploratory missions in India, Netherlands and the UK to study and compare the different laundry needs, behaviors, values, sustainability lifestyles and future scenarios between these different countries. In addition to these findings, the team explored Unilever’s key internal R&D assets and conducted comprehensive tech scouting in other categories in order to evaluate how different technologies could be leveraged to generate new and relevant solutions. Armed with these, in addition to insights into the time, effort and risks involved in water collection in India and globally, the team led multiday creative emergence sessions in London with three dozen stakeholders from marketing, human factors, research, innovation and scientists from a global pool.  Lead through Psycho-Aesthetics, journey maps and other tools to stimulate innovation, three rooms were built out to be visually immersive, each focusing on one of the three challenges. From hundreds of brilliant ideas, eight potential business ventures were ultimately selected by the teams.  Three opportunities were captured into comprehensive value propositions and business plans by RKS and were awarded next stage venture funding.


Delivered a Playbook Outlining Three Groundbreaking Ventures for the Future of Laundry

Three disruptive ventures were selected with the goal to redefine what the future of laundry could be: a product that drastically reduces the use of water as well as detergent for superior cleaning results based on Unilever owned technology, an integrated washing system that recycles water traditionally used in hand-washing, and a new generation of laundry products with the ability to sanitize hands and provide essential nourishment through skin on contact with clothes while repelling disease-infested insects from attacking the human body. Consequently, this would graduate laundry from providing cleanliness to being an essential health partner for humanity.