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Trade Routes: Value Innovation

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

Imagine you are traveling back in time to the year 1447. You visit the Royal Mint in the city of Strasbourg, France, to see how coins are made. Molten gold is poured into cylindrical molds. The gold cylinders are removed and cut into blanks. Then an artisan’s die imprints the design onto the soft surface of the gold, and, voilà—a coin is created.

Later that day, you happen to visit a vineyard on the outskirts of the town. Grapes are dumped into huge vats, and a flat, circular board is lowered slowly by a large wooden screw to squeeze all the juice from the fruit.

Both the coin-stamping and wine-making technologies have been around for 1,500 years. When the two were put together, it created one of the most valuable inventions of all time. What is that invention and who invented it?

If you guessed Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, you are right.

Innovation and Cosmetics

What does this have to do with the cosmetic industry? At this very moment, thousands of cosmetics with a myriad of applications are available. They are waiting for somebody with a mind like Gutenberg’s to put two or more of them together for the next greatest creation in the cosmetic industry.