When I say “beverage bottle,” you no doubt have an image that comes to mind. Maybe it’s clear. Maybe it’s colored. Maybe it is plastic, or maybe it’s glass. Maybe it holds 12 oz. or 24 oz. But chances are you see the same basic shape and form as everyone else.
Everyone except for Stephan Linfoss, that is.
Linfoss is an entrepreneur in Finland who is having us rethink what a bottle is all about. And by rethinking the bottle, we’re forced to rethink everything associated with it—from what goes in it to how it is disposed to what its role is in our lives.
Linfoss describes his bottle as being “bagel shaped.” It is round, made of clear environmentally-friendly plastic and is reusable. Plus, it functions in ways ordinary bottles cannot. It can be stacked in the refrigerator, saving space. It can be attached to a belt or purse. But the most compelling feature of the Linfoss bottle is how it connects with people.
People are drawn to it. People want to touch it, inspect it, and see how it works. It puts a smile on people’s faces. And they can’t wait to show it to others.
If I were Coca Cola, I’d buy Linfoss’s design in a New York minute, no matter what the cost. Because as soon as consumers see that cool bottle at the point of sale or in the cold box, it’s game over. This bottle could do more to affect the sales of Coke (or whatever new product the beverage maker chose to put in it) than a $20 million ad campaign.
This design is a wonderful lesson in approaching a situation with a “beginner’s mind.” Linfoss points out that specialization and insider knowledge can be the enemies of breakthrough thinking. “You don’t want to have too much knowledge of the industry as a designer,” he says. “(Knowledge) prevents you from flying high enough.”
The bottle as we know it has existed pretty much in its current form for more than 150 years. If it didn’t exist in its current form today, we very well would approach the problems of “creating a commercial beverage container” quite differently. Given the technologies and materials available today, if you were asked to design a container from the ground up, you could easily arrive at the conclusion a bagel-bottle would be far more functional than a standard shaped bottle.
If something as simple and ubiquitous as a bottle can be “evolutionized,” then you have to accept the possibility that almost anything can be. And that—the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there is another, better, more engaging way of providing the most mundane piece of our offerings—is the whiff of possibility that gives us permission to dream about what would happen if we “set our conventions and knowledge aside” and truly created.
Posted by Mickey