Business Case Studies, Innovation and New Product Development Case Study, Project Platypus: Mattel's Unconventional,Toy Development Process

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Case Title:

Project Platypus: Mattel's Unconventional Toy Development Process

Publication Year : 2004

Authors: Christoph Zacharias

Industry: Toys

Region:USA

Case Code: IPD0002

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Abstract:
The US toy maker Mattel is world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Barbie, the most popular fashion doll from Mattel accounted for nearly a third of Mattel's revenues and 40% of its profits in 1999. However, the 1990s saw rapid changes in the tastes and preferences of children. The product life cycles of many a toy lasted only a couple of years. Mattel needed to move beyond regular products such as Barbie. Mindful of this, Mattel unveiled a new product development process dubbed 'Project Platypus.' It was an unconventional, cross-functional and re-occurring toy development process that laid stress on open idea sharing. The first Project Platypus session concluded in December 2001. Ello, a construction set for girls, resulted from this session.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss Project Platypus, Mattel's out-of-the-box, unconventional and creative product development process.>

Keywords : Project Platypus; Mattel; Ivy Ross; Ello; US toy industry; Fashion dolls; Robert A Eckert; Skunk Works; Creativity; Corporate story telling; Innovation Management Case Study; Out-of-the-box thinking; Collaboration; Innovation; Barbie; Product development

Contents:

  • The Toy Business
  • Mattel's Concerns
  • Creating a new business opportunity for Mattel
  • Project Platypus
  • Project Platypus-Mattel’s recurring toy development process

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