B207A: Shaping Business Opportunities I

B207A: Shaping Business Opportunities I

B207A: Shaping Business Opportunities I

Commercialising ideas

Commercialisation means taking an idea and then getting a product into the hands of paying customers as quickly as possible. This involves many stages, including:

Prioritise ideas

Each year at 3M, thousands of ingenious ideas and technologyapplications emerge. It is vital to prioritise these ideas and focus on those with the greatest potential for growth and profitability.

Make a prototype

Typically there will be numerous prototypes, trials and modifications.

Manufacture the product

Consistent quality for customers has to be balanced with costs, profitability and environmental concerns. Organisations like 3M are committed to continuous improvement, using sophisticated tools and techniques to reduce variation and deliver consistent results to ensure value for customers.

Market the product

This involves creating the brand identity and positioning for the product.

Generate sales

By creating the most effective channel to market. This involves distributing products through those channels that most suit the final consumer, eg placing Post-it¨ Notes with local stationers, newsagents and supermarkets.

Maintaining the momentum

While short-term success can arise from a one-off product or service, it is often just the entry ticket to a new market. Companies have to be able to repeat that first success, as there are always other firms ready to copy, catch up and overtake.

Innovation is at the heart of how 3M operates. The company has an entrepreneurial culture that encourages people’s ingenuity managed by a structured development process. During its first 100 years, 3M has received many accolades for innovation. The company is now focused on maintaining this momentum in increasingly tough markets to match its success of the last century.

Answer the following questions:

1-Discuss the main factors that make 3M an innovative organization. Which business functions have contributed to these factors?

2-Discuss the importance of the commercialization process for innovative organizations such as 3M.

3-The case describes the multi-layer films as an innovative application at 3M. Pick another innovative application or product of a different organization and discuss the reasons for the product to be innovative.

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