Sunstar – Creating new business opportunities

About Sunstar

If you visit any convenience store in Japan you will see the Sunstar oral care brands – GUM and Ora2. The Sunstar name came from the idea of brushing your teeth in the morning as the Sun comes out and again at night under the Stars.

After seeing Americans use toothpaste delivered in tubes (Japan was still using powder at the time) they seized the opportunity to manufacture tube toothpaste for the Japanese market and are now a global company with multiple brands in oral care, skin care, food supplements as well as industrial products.

Why (Goal)

Sunstar’s brief was to identify user focused and innovative new business opportunities for their resources and chemical solutions, to educate their internal team in best design practice and to design unique products and services.


How (What we did)

We worked collaboratively with the senior management team (Chairman, VP’s and Directors) using frequent workshop sessions in Japan, Switzerland and London. And in parallel we completed the following activities :

Research outside – user interviews focused on health conditions for example; periodontal disease and diabetes, alongside in-depth market and competitor research

Research inside – evaluate internal data to understand consumer behaviour and company capabilities– Opportunity framework creation – synthesise data and identify opportunity spaces

Rapid physical and digital prototyping – to test and develop new product and service concepts with consumers

Educational Lectures – for team members, highlighting good innovation practice tools and tips

What (Outcomes)

As a result of this collaboration and the processes used, we identified new business opportunity spaces and unique product types in addition to introducing team members to user centred innovation practices.

We completed upwards of 10 projects exploring a broad range of categories and product types.

You can see Sunstar project examples here :

Equitance – Electronic hair care

Clients similar to Sunstar include :

Mira / Kohler – Bathrooms, technology and life

Plastic Logic – Flexible display e-book