By Denise Harrison, Senior Consultant

Note: The original article was appeared in Compass Points January 2008

Strategic Planning Expert

Strategic Planning Expert

WD-40 Faces a Growth Challenge

WD-40 faced the growth dilemma — the chairman’s goal was to grow the business by $100 million from new products…introduced during the next three years (Gary Ridge, Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2006). This would be difficult for a product like WD-40, which has been in existence for over 50 years.  To meet the challenge the WD-40 Team Tomorrow looked for new and/or underserved customers. They knew WD-40 was present in many households, but primarily in the garage — where it is used to solve a variety of problems. WD-40 fulfills five basic functions:






What about applications inside the house? The Team Tomorrow set out to find the answer.  They found inside the house there were many potential uses. But why was the product not used inside? Research showed several issues:

  1. The WD-40 was in the garage — the can was not convenient to store in the house.
  2. WD-40 didn’t smell very good.
  3. The WD-40 can sprayed too much when a spot application was required.

The team set about making the product indoor-friendly. They developed the pen application. The idea was a pen-like product that could deliver WD-40 in a small dose at a specific point. It is pocket-sized, fitting everywhere from glove boxes and desk drawers to backpacks and purses. The WD-40 No-Mess Pen does this without messy overspray and with minimal odor!

The No-Mess Pen® is now a global product for WD-40 with many years of growth expected. What can you do to re-invigorate one of your old products or services? Look for potential applications in a different environment and see what needs to change to make your product work for that specific environment.

For more information on how to take your strategic planning to the next level please listen to our webinar: Why Isn’t My Strategic Planning Working?

Denise Harrison is a senior consultant for the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. She can be reached at

© Copyright 2015 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.

1 Comment

  1. mdbaldwin11

    Excellent article. Show good insight into innovation.


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