Shama Skinner is an executive, entrepreneur, advisory Board Member and Edmund Hillary Fellow (LinkedIn). She was an early team member of Thinx Inc, the company with sustainable solutions to menstruation and incontinence. Shama had spells as Chief Product Officer, Chief Operating Officer and interim CEO.
Our conversation covers:
-Being a start-up with new innovations in a category (menstruation and incontinence) that had seen no new products for decades.
-Growing a new product which was part of the circular economy.
-Shifting who was involved in the innovation process, especially female engineers and faster connection with customers.
-Innovating how a category was marketed.
-Shifting a market, from stuck with predominantly single-use products to one where reusable products are so fast-growing that competitors have to respond.
-The tension between ‘Improve the current’ vs ‘Explore the next’ (that framing taken from a book I mention called The Modern Firm by John Roberts).
-For a start-up, competitive advantage comes from innovating faster than incumbents.
-Addressing ‘Period Poverty’ and the need for Universal Basic Services.
This is part of a series of interviews about innovation for sustainability conducted for the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, as a contribution to a module in this Masters. You can find out more about these interviews, and the module, here.
Listen to the episode:
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