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2020 has been undoubtedly the most unpredictable year of the 21st century so far, but as with every crisis there are low moments as well as high moments which present positive insights and opportunities. 

On the positive side, in 2020, we saw more attention given to, and evidence of, the position and role of women in society, the workforce and leadership. Countries with female leaders like Taiwan, New Zealand and Germany prevailed in controlling COVID-19. Instead of going back to “normal,” we started to think about how to redefine the term “normal.” Top female economists such as Mariana Mazzucato and Carlota Perez signalled that important topics like social justice and sustainability must be considered when redefining how we ought to run the world. Meanwhile, parents – especially mothers – juggled between work, homeschooling and household tasks day after day. 

We started 2021 with the hope that this will be the year that we can conquer COVID-19 and plant the seeds for a “better normal.”

One thing is for sure, since 2020, we expect governments to be more ambitious and take a proactive role in supporting a balanced and healthy society. And to support and invest more than ever in science and technology. In the past couple of days, the Biden-Harris duo have already started out with a focus on sustainability and social justice. While at the same time in the Netherlands, with the naming of Lilianna Ploumen as the new Dutch Labor Party leader, about 38% of major, mainly progressive, political parties now have a female leader here.

There is plenty of research and debate about why female leaders are better leaders and why we should have more of them, which I am not going to discuss here. What I really want to touch upon is how so-called feminine or womanly practices can put you in a lifelong trajectory of learning traits to become a good leader … And that has everything to do with perfectly blow-dried hair.

If you are like me and have thick curly hair, then you know that perfectly blow-dried hair, aka a good hair day, might be the best tool that gives you the confidence you need to make that awesome presentation. Or lighten up your day when you’re working all hours on certain projects. 

Beautiful, lush hair, straight or curly, is not an accident but rather a science. It is a complex multidisciplinary project involving lots of parameters and details. As with a phase-gate product or a service development process, it starts from ideation funnel (hairstyle for an occasion) to concept development to the actual launch, and you must take quality into account. It is a real skill to be able to reach a yield of 100%, just as it is for a CVD machine.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance

A good hairstyle starts with proper preparation, selection and sourcing of the right materials. Such as shampoo, conditioner and hair care products that match your hair type, hardware (blow dryer and brushes) and the right set-up and facilities (light, mirror, electricity). Then the target solution/service and the process (blow drying with a brush, using a curling iron) is decided. Above all, don’t forget to consider external parameters such as humidity levels. 

The outcome is spectacular with the help of the inner engineer, managing air temperature and air flow, as well as controlling fine and gross motor skills in order to optimize brush movements.

Hair care market: a customer centric industry with a drive for innovation

The global hair care market is an age-old market as old as ancient Egypt and Persia and it’s estimated that it will be worth over US$100 billion by 2025. The industry is continuously reinventing itself, transforming from an old fashioned industry to one that inspires, empowers and offers a medium for self-expression and social engagement.
It is not just a matter of shampoo or hair dryers, but entails investing in research and development in order to formulate new, more effective and safer products with its consumers and clients at its core. It is about quality and customer satisfaction and gaining higher returns on investment.

The estimated size of the global hair care market from 2012 to 2025.

About this column:

In a weekly column, alternately written by Buster Franken, Eveline van Zeeland, Jan Wouters, Katleen Gabriels, Mary Fiers, Helen Kardan and Hans Helsloot, Innovation Origins tries to find out what the future will look like. These columnists, occasionally supplemented with guest bloggers, are all working in their own way on solutions for the problems of our time. So tomorrow will be good. Here are all the previous articles.

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About the author

Author profile picture Helen Kardan is senior account manager Japan at chip-machine manufacturer ASML. Kardan is a true globetrotter. After growing up and studying in Iran, she hopped via Japan and the US to Eindhoven, the Next Silicon Valley. The opinions expressed in her columns are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer.