There are many roads to innovation, whether reliance on business partners or seeing a broad need in the market and developing an answer.

And then, there are the times you buy some clothing for your nephew and finally get to Denmark to give it only to find the kid has already outgrown the garment.

That was the inspiration for Ryan Mario Yasin, an aeronautical engineer turned art school graduate. He combined his sense of design with an understanding of deployable materials that are expanded from a compressed state to a usable form in space.

The result was a type of clothing origami made of waterproof fabric that could grow with a child. Here's a video showing how the intricate folds allow the expansion.

The work was so impressive that Yasin was the U.K. national winner of the 2017 James Dyson Award for design.

Yasin's company, Petit Pli, is collecting names for its mailing list to let consumers know when products based on the technology are finally available.

If you've ever had kids and have gone through one set of clothing after another, even if purchased at yard sales and thrift stores, you get tired of shopping and spending more money. You'd think it would be a natural.

There is a significant business hitch. The way the clothing industry makes money these days is fast turnover, cheap products, and many purchases, with old garments becoming a disposable commodity.

But maybe it's time for some innovation on the part of industry practices. Instead of selling multiple sets of clothing cheaply, charge more for the expandable materials. You could still price them less than the multiple number of outfits would cost and see better margins because you reduce the total expense of manufacturing and logistics.

Sometimes innovation needs more on the parts of businesses. You can't be satisfied with a better mouse trap. You also have to understand the needs of the intermediaries that sell it and find ways to satisfy everyone while retaining a viable industry.

Published on: Sep 8, 2017