3m Optical

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3M Optical Systems: Managing Corporate Entrepreneurship
MST550 – Capstone Professor Jack Raiton HBSP Case #395-017

Discussion Questions
1. What practices make 3M such an innovative company? 2. What is Any Wong’s role as the OS Unit’s general manager? How effective has he been? 3. What is Paul Guehler’s role as division vicepresident? How effective has he been? 4. What should Andy Wong do with the computer screen AFE? If he gets the AFE, should Guehler fund it?

Case Outline
• • • • • • • • • • • The Situation Background of 3M Corporation Internal Context at 3M Corporation Background of Optical Systems (OS) The Product is Born The Product is Reborn Wong’s Options Guehler’s Options Wong’s Role/Effectiveness Guehler’s Role/Effectiveness Desimone’s Role

The Situation
The 3M Corporation’s Optical Systems (OS) business unit needs to decide if they should proceed with the deployment of a new computer privacy screen despite two previous marketing failures.

Background of 3M Corporation
• 100 Years of Innovation Highly Diversified Global Company • “High-Tech”: Spends twice the U.S. Industry Average on R&D (6-7% of sales) • Strong emphasis on new products and technologies • Fosters individual’s innovation within the workforce (“15% rule”)

Internal Context at 3M Corporation
• Respect for the individual
– “Stimulate ordinary people to produce extraordinary performance”

• Supportive policies/practices
– 15% bootleg rule – “Make a little, sell a little”

• High standards, stretch objectives
– 10% sales growth, 20% PBT, 27% ROCE – 30% sales from new products

Internal Context at 3M Corporation…cont.
• Acceptance of “well-intentioned failure” • Share/leverage resources – “Technology belongs to company”

Background of Optical Systems (OS)
• OS Track Record (1979-1990)
– Formed in 1979 through consolidation of several 3M optical technologies – Experienced 11 year microlouver development effort with minimal products – Lost between 3 to 5...
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