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Innovation At 3m Essay

3789 words - 16 pages

M EMORIAL U NIVERSITY OF N EWFOUNDLAND - M ARINE I NSTITUTE

C ASE S TUDY #4

Innovation at 3M Corporation (A)
Author: John Paul H ANDRIGAN Professor:

April 11, 2013

Executive Summary The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) has a long history of innovation. They are known for such products as the Post-it R , which revolutionized the way individuals communicate, masking tape, and waterproof sandpaper. Beyond these innovative products, 3M initially branched out into health care in 1961. This unit of 3M has grown substantially since that time, and in more recent years it has seen annual sales reach more than two billion dollars. The Health Care Unit is a core component ...view middle of the document...

Rita should not disregard the fourth recommendation, but she and her team should invest more time into developing, planning, and further studying the potentially new approach to the unit’s business model before introducing it to management.

Contents
List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 3 4 5 Problem Identification Data Collection Analysis of Facts Solution Development Findings and Managerial Recommendations iv iv 5 6 9 11 12 14 16

References A Figures & Tables

iii

List of Figures
A.1 Net Income (After Taxes): 1995 to 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 A.2 Percent Revenue by Class of Product/Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

List of Tables

iv

1 Problem Identification
The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) has a long and famous history of innovation. They are known for such products as the Post-it R , which revolutionized the way individuals communicate, masking tape, and waterproof sandpaper. The Health Care Unit was an important component of 3M’s business model, contributing a large percentage to the company’s revenue streams (see Figure A.2). Although, the unit was recording significant sales, it had failed to introduce a successful product in almost a decade. Given that the company had set one of its working objectives to produce thirty percent of sales from products that did not exist four years earlier, this team had its work cut out for them (Thomke & Nimgade, 1998, p. 3). Traditional market research methods were marred with shortcomings, and have proved to be ineffective in helping the Health Care Unit understand customer and market needs (Thomke & Nimgade, 1998, p. 5). Rita Shor, a senior product specialist, with a creative mind and many years of experience at 3M was tasked with developing an innovative product or process that would see the unit break free of its long streak of unsuccessful products (Thomke & Nimgade, 1998, p. 5). Armed with her experience, and a hand-picked group of subject matter experts, Rita and her team embarked on a new approach to market research called “Lead User Research." After a prolonged market research procedure, the product development team had developed three recommendations for new product lines, and a fourth recommendation that might potentially result in having the whole business unit’s strategy statement rewritten. Given a recent change at the division manager level and a waning appreciation for the “lead user research" method, Shor and her team were now faced with having to balance between the current incremental approach that 3M was familiar with, and a more radical and potentially breakthrough change to its core business strategy. Shor’s ultimate goal is to deliver successful product ideas and help position the company and unit for a healthy and competitive future.

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