3m: the Innovating Machine

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1. 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.

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...
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