Solving problems leads to great ideas – ground-breaking innovation in the baby and child sector

Sep 22 - admin

A new experience for some of the team last week, as they headed to Cologne to attend the Kind + Jugend (Baby and Toys) show. Obviously attending big shows all over the world is nothing new for our globe-trotting project teams, but this was our first sight of the leading trade fair for products relating to children’s early years, and it was an eye-opener. Read on to find out about some of the cutting-edge developments happening in this sector.

The show and The Gro Company

In terms of size, Kind + Jugend is a monster: over 1200 exhibitors across 110,000 square metres, hosting 22,500 visitors from 113 countries. We were there in partnership with our clients The Gro Company, well known in the UK and abroad for their innovative parenting products including Grobag Baby Sleep Bags, the Groclock, and their latest award winning innovation, Ollie the Owl Light and Sound Sleep Aid. Given their position as a leading player in this sector, The Gro Company took a 9.5 x 10.5m stand in one of the main halls, which was a joy for our team to design and put together. As with the majority of our stands, the design was a modular set-up designed to be efficient to put up and take down, and to be re-used easily and without waste.

Innovation for baby and child

From its birth in 2000, The Gro Company’s approach has always been to come up with products that make parenting easier. Their first product, the Grobag, was designed to help babies (and therefore parents) sleep better and has fundamentally changed the way parents put their babies to bed. Given the generally challenging nature of parenting, the sector is an incredibly fertile ground for this approach to product development, and this was reflected in the Kind + Jugend Innovation Awards, which attracted 170 applications in 8 categories.

We saw some fantastic ideas on display, with winners often coming from small companies, with founders that had put their all into developing products inspired by their own parenting experiences - or those of close family members. For example, the winner in the Kids’ Furniture category, the Evolu180, was invented by a grandmother who found feeding her grandchild difficult in a standard table-facing chair, and came up with the idea of a high chair that swivels through 180 degrees.

As our clients know, we’re big fans of modular systems such as our stand kit, and that meant we particularly liked another winner, the Stair Trainer from Dutch company Mippaa BV. The idea itself is simple - a handrail that you fix below your normal stair rail so small children can reach it - but the execution of the idea as a modular system means the rail can be fitted to any size, shape and length of staircase. The inventor of this system was inspired by their neighbour’s difficulties in helping their young children use the stairs safely.

You can see the whole list of winners on Nursery World’s website, but two others particularly struck us as having great potential impact. The Jule’s Bag is a changing bag with a difference: firstly it’s a miracle of space allocation, fitting into a small rucksack not only all the paraphernalia you need in a changing bag but also a laptop pocket, a water bottle pocket, and one for phones, keys and other bits and pieces. It also manages to incorporate a pull out changing mat which attaches niftily to a comfy cushioned section so you can change your baby wherever, whenever, and it’s styled in a neutral, professional grey. Our only quibble? The marketing seems targeted almost exclusively at men, whereas we’d say this is a must for working parents of all genders, frankly.

And finally, with our focus on sustainability we loved the Heetee Power-System, which stores the energy parents spend pushing the pram (which any parent will know is often considerable) and then uses it to keep your child warm in the pram, warm his or her bottle, or even charge your smartphone. Now that’s smart.

This is a sector alive with creativity and innovation, which makes us even more delighted with our partnership with The Gro Company. So we’ll give them the last word on the subject – at least for this article:

“Thank you to all the agencies at Blue Flint Group who helped make the show our most successful to date. Your innovative approach and excellent project management made the whole process effortless (like child’s play!)” Ben Hodson, Head of Creative and Marketing, The Gro Company.