Nowadays, it is critical for the companies of many industries to pay a lot of attention and efforts on the management of technology and innovation. Indeed, the development of new technologies is a potential source of competitive advantage and the ability of the companies to innovate and/or to respond to competitors’ innovation determine their survival in a long-term basis. This ability is more or less developed in companies, regarding their maturity and their structure. Most of the start-ups, which usually function as adhocracies, have a good ability to innovate but struggle to bring these innovations to the market. fortu Powercell GmbH represents a typical example of a start-up with a promising technology offering a lot of possibilities, a new type of battery, but which does not know what strategic direction to take in order to achieve long-term profitability. Studying its situation would the occasion for us to present several concepts that managers in fields where technology and innovation matter need to embrace if they want to take relevant strategic decisions. We are going to start our analysis with a quick reminder of the case, what are the critical points to keep in mind before to present some considerations relative to the work of several experts, researchers in the management of technology and innovation. Finally, we will conclude with some suggestions for the executive team of fortu Powercell.
I. Context of fortu Powercell GmbH
In this part, we just want to summarize what we think are the relevant data of this case: -Competing technologies in the battery industry
Technology| Lead-acid| NiCd| NiMH| Li-ion| Li-pol| Fortu Powercell| Voltage per cell| Medium| Low| Low| High| High| High| Energy density(volume/weight)| Bad| Bad| Correct| Good| Very good| Very good| Price per Wh| Very low| Medium| Medium| High| High| ?| Main Inconvenient(s)| Heavy and large| Pollution (cadium)| Costs + low reliability| Explosion if overcharge| Explosion if overcharge| No concrete application| Main Advantage(s)| Low cost| High current| High current| Light| Very light| Very good balance (characteristics)|
-Markets of the battery industry:
Market’s name| Leaders|
Automotive SLI Rechargeable| Lead-acid|
Industrial rechargeable| Lead-acid|
Portable rechargeable| Lithium based and NiCd|
Emerging applications| None|
-Strategic Options considered by fortu Powercell GmbH
Option 1: Plant in Lepzig. Batteries used for power tools.
Option 2: Abandonment of the power tools battery market segment. License of the technology to an entrepreneur. II. Considerations
In this part, we are going to mention the works and research which are going to help us to formulate coherent suggestions for the executive team of fortu Powercell GmbH. First of all, we would like to speak about the management criteria for innovation, which is a way to discriminate between profitable and unprofitable new technologies. Basically, every entrepreneur or manager of innovation should ask him/herself the following four sets of questions about the technology is focused on. Balancing old and new constraints: What fundamental technical constraints limiting the prior technologies are lifted ? What new technical constraint are inherent in the new technology ? How favorable is the relief of the former weighted against the stringencies of the latter ? Putting innovations in context: Is the end product enhanced by additional technology and components required to make use of the innovation ? Is the inventive concept itself diluted or enhanced by the embodiment required ? Does the additional embodiment offer opportunity for further inventive enhancement ? A balance sheet on financing business operations: What previously emplaced business operations are displaced or weakened by the new innovation ? What new business operations are needed or wisely provided...