Procter

Procter & Gamble’s success in managing that transition would position the company for decades of growth and expansion. But the transition did not come easily for a company that had, after all, been in the soap business for more than a hundred years, by 1946. Developing Tide meant pushing P;G in directions the company at times seemed collectively ambivalent about taking. Indeed, “Product X” (as the project was known before it was branded) very nearly died in the lab. And bringing it to market stretched the company as it had never been stretched before. From the outside, P;G appeared to ride Tide masterfully and smoothly to a commanding market position. But behind the scenes, piecing this technology together and readying it for market took courage and resourcefulness, a willingness to work against the rules and outside the confines of normal P;G processes. The experience drew deeply on the company’s vaunted expertise, but also demanded improvisation and risk taking. Tide’s original marketers would debut the product with declarations of a “Washday Revolution.” The full implications of that revolution would take a little while to dawn on the company that was driving it. Procter ; Gamble had invited a storm of creative destruction into its core business. Still, critically, the company recognized the opportunity it was creating and proved adept at modifying its resources and processes to exploit the opening.