The Innovating Machine

1 January 2017

There are many examples of successful companies. To what extent is 3M justifiably highlighted as the ‘innovating machine’? Answer: This case study has highlighted some of the key activities and principles that contribute to 3M’s performance. Many of these are not new and are indeed used by other companies. However, in 3M’s case they may be summarized as an effective company culture that nurtures innovation and a range of management techniques and strategies that together have delivered long-term success.

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There is evidence that 3M supports these fine words with actions. 3M hire good people and trust them; this will bring about innovation and excellent performance. 3M ensured that developing new products is much higher on the agenda in management meetings than at other companies. Moreover, the success of the approach is due to the continual reinforcement of its objectives. Indeed, the performance of individual business managers is partly judged on whether they are able to achieve the objective.

Personally yes they will achieve because they take the time out to learn from their client base. Research and developments are done base on surveys and real people every day needs. I think that’s what keeps 3M’s successful, the fact they meet consumer demands. 2 In the 3M case study, what is meant by the statement: ‘the message is more important than the figures’? The message is more important than the figures is based on the 15 per cent rule.

Some may say it makes no sense however others agree that some employees use more than 15 percent of their time on projects of their choice, on the other hand some employees use less than that and some none at all. The figure is not so important as the message, meaning that if an employee uses 15 percent or less, the time used does not matter, the most important thing is to get the job done and contributing positive ideas. 3. Discuss the merits and problems with the so-called ‘15 per cent rule’. Consider cost implications and a busy environment with deadlines to meet.

To what extent is this realistic or mere rhetoric? The benefit of the 15 percent rule is that the Scientists and engineers are given time to work on projects and ideas that they consider to be of potential interest to the company, during the 15 per cent of an individual’s work week time it allows employees to brainstorm, bringing about high productivity the 15 percent of their work time is dedicated to such activities. It is an effective method of providing room for creativity and another way of showing that the organization encourages innovative effort.

Allocating 15 percent of individual’s work week time is costly to the organization, especially when there strict deadline to meet, which means that company may need to employ more manpower in order to meet deadlines. 4. Encouraging product and brand managers to achieve 25 per cent of sales from recently introduced products would be welcomed by shareholders, but what happens if a successful business delivers profits without 25 per cent of sales from recently introduced products? The success of the approach is due to the continual reinforcement of the objective.

Indeed, the performance of individual business managers is partly judged on whether they are able to achieve the objective. What this means is that these business managers are not under pressure and to ensure that they develop new products but that these new products will eventually represent higher per cent of the business’s sales. 5. Some people may argue that 3M’s success is largely due to the significance given to science and technology and this is the main lesson for other firms.

Discuss the merits of such a view and the extent to which this is the case. This technological intensity provides the company with the competitive advantage to compete with its rivals; it does not involve a single-minded, technology-push approach to innovation. The role of the marketplace and users plays an important part in product development. 6. Explain how the innovation dilemma affected 3M. When 3M’s R&D personnel were asked to adopt Six Sigma processes, the results were less favorable.

While established operational processes like manufacturing require strict monitoring, measuring, and a regimented set of procedures, the innovation process requires a different approach. 3M felt stifled by the new structure and pressured to produce more new products faster. The result was a greater number of incremental product-line extensions than true new product innovations. Traditionally, 3M drew at least one-third of sales from products released; which is way less than what they were initially accustomed to doing.

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