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At the heart of the business

We like to think of R&D as the heartbeat of the business. Kao was founded on a technical innovation over 130 years ago, so unsurprisingly innovation remains at the heart of what we do. Our many success stories start with our commitment to embrace the new, to be curious, to always ask "Why" and to collaborate with teams within the business and with associated universities, experts and business partners around the world.

Our researchers in 15 research centers around the world create innovative products by integrating two kinds of research: product development research, which is dedicated to designing and commercialising products that meet consumer needs; and fundamental technology research, which is dedicated to deepening our understanding of the materials, mechanisms, and phenomena we encounter. This integration enables us to create innovative products that make a difference in people´s lives and respect our planet – thus creating a Kirei life for all.

All our R&D activities are based on two main principles that are taken from our corporate philosophy, the Kao Way. Our first step in designing a product is to thoroughly understand people´s lives and needs of our consumers. We call this Genba which means the actual spot or on-site. At Kao, we believe that the deepest knowledge, best ideas and smartest decisions can be found in the Genba, both externally and internally. This is why talking to both internal and external experts but first and foremost 

to our consumers and customers, is key to innovation. We discover what consumers and customers need and how they are using our products by going to the Genba to sense, experience, and understand first-hand.

The second principle is Yoki-Monozukuri. In Japanese, "yoki" means good or excellent, and "monozukuri" means making or craftsmanship. For us, Yoki-Monozukuri means an excellent creation process that is good for everyone involved and enriches the lives of customers. We develop products, brands, technologies, and solutions that uniquely answer the needs of individuals, society, and the planet, today and tomorrow.
Innovation is a way of thinking. Our openness to new ideas has advanced our business since the days of our founder. Whether it is steady improvements, breakthrough technologies, or new ways of doing business and communicating the uniqueness of what we offer, we are committed to growth and change - to innovate for today and tomorrow.

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