Many companies, including HP, are facing the challenge of increasing market irrelevance among younger generations. According to Voxburner, global youth insights consultancy, HP doesn't even land in the top-100 brand for American Millennials and younger. Across all audience cohorts, people keep saying: “HP feels similar to Volvo. Not very exciting, but gets the job done.” Younger people believe that HP is a reliable, trustworthy brand, but increasingly irrelevant.
What if HP can reclaim relevance, build emotional connections, and strengthen its business performance by helping to solve the global challenge of the next generation?
The world is getting smaller, hotter and more polluted, after all. There is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, larger than Texas, floating in the ocean. And it won’t get better any time soon. Every piece of plastic which has ever been produced on the planet is still here. Recycling can't help much either - only 6.5% of all plastic is actually recycled.
Increasingly, people see the problem of the environment and climate change. According to World Economic Forum, half of all millennials worldwide see environmental challenges as the most urgent global issue, which is very good news for the planet. Millennials are currently the most influential generation. According to New England Consulting Group, “they’re 80 million people but they’re influencing the next 80 million, both younger and older”. This younger generation will be the hope, and agent, of the environmental revolution.
Environmentally focused projects are not simply for burnishing images, but are commercially successful in themselves. The recent Adidas launch of UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley sneakers, made out of recycled plastic waste, was a powerful tool to boost the stock performance of the company. It also helped Adidas to progress in the Annual Sustainability Report, and changed the conversation about the environment on social media.
In 2015 HP launched HP Multi Jet Fusion technology which, unlike many other 3D printers, is designed to use multiple types of ink to form small blocks (voxels). So what if voxels could then be printed using materials that are both safe and environmentally friendly? What if we could sculpt food packaging not in plastic, but in the biodegradable protein the food is made of? The same way as how nature designed the orange, “packed" in the orange peel, this could revolutionize the global packaging industry.
Packaging is annually a 900-billion dollar industry, with the food industry as a predominant customer. Starting with food as the first step in this environmental revolution makes sense, because food is not only an unavoidable daily feature of our lives, but something with which everyone feels emotional connection.
Reducing plastic consumption by using biodegradable, 3D-printed packaging would benefit not only HP, but hundreds of food companies that share the same vision: to assure food safety, and to preserve the climate, both by eliminating the need for plastic in our food supply chains. Doing so would also build a stronger emotional connection with younger audiences.
HP’s vision is: “We create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere.” By acting an agent of the sustainable revolution, HP would live up to this mission and resolve its business challenges.