Jeffrey Rovell & Associates, Inc.
Little Green Bowl

Jeff says: This simple product demonstrates an important principle: knowing your audience allows you to make the product perfect the first time.

How It Started

Starting in about 1973, I began observing orthopedic surgeries as part of my job at Howmedica. I would see surgeons mix their bone cement with a mortar and pestle, fresh out of the middle ages. Afterward, when they would try to clean the mortar, it was always a mini-disaster: the cement would adhere to the surface and be a big pain for everyone.

After seeing enough of these surgeries I thought, "Why not think of another solution?" and went to Huck and Studer. That very week we designed a bowl and spatula built especially for mixing bone cement. The spatula was specially shaped so that cement could be mixed effectively. We mixed cement hundreds of times until we got it right. I contacted Borden, a company which makes Tupperware-like bowls and lids. They were able to tell me about the high-density polyethylene plastic that was necessary to resist reaction with the cement.


The right materials and the right design came together to make the right product. When we went out to show it, nurses loved it. It fit perfectly in the hand, the spatula was the right shape, the plastic was tough. Our little green bowl (PMS-340, or Howmedica green) has sold 50,000 units a year for nearly 30 years. It remains one of my favorite products.