3M Case Study

3M CASE STUDY Q1) Conservative Approach: Three Product Concepts * Mandate from management * Should not risk new process; Dunlop may use “revolution” against new method * Need to validate method at least once before basing major strategic decisions on it. * Not enough data yet to make such a drastic recommendation * Three concepts appear very promising and are enough of a “success” already. Radical Approach: New Business Unit Strategy * Team was charged with finding breakthroughs; Medical-Surgical business needs growth * Team is empowered and should report all relevant information. Fits the defiant 3M culture * Fits 3M’s new strategic mission even though Dunlop does not buy into it. Q2) Incrementalism worked well because it… Has allowed for leveraging pre-existing product platforms such as Post-it notes and Scotch brand tape can reduce development costs while exploiting 3M’S pre-existing marketing channels and relationship. . . . Q3) Traditional 3M Development Process * Developers, in recent decades, lack direct contact with customers * Developers are not directly accountable for understanding customer’s needs. Marketing research is outsourced to third parties or “thrown over the wall” * Traditional methods are linear and tend to support primarily incremental innovations Lead User Research Process * Puts developers in direct contact with users * Focus on a few individuals (Lead Users and lead use experts) with extremely rich need and solution-specific information In lead user research, a considerable amount of time is spent in people networking in order to find the right ‘lead users’ to work with, as opposed to traditional market research methods which only collect information from users who are at the center of the target market Developers learn from users outside traditional business focus * -picked up from a market that is either loosely related or even unrelated to the target market as in the case with the makeup artist they use in the 3M lead user research group * Pushes developers toward leading edge with radical new concepts * Can be complement with traditional market research techniques (during validation) * Use traditional market research to check validity of research Lead users vs Leading-edge customers

As opposed to leading edge customers who provide need- related information, lead users provide need & solution information as they have innovated themselves. In traditional methods, marketers only seek to identify the problem, not necessarily the solution Companies may carry out focus groups and analyze customer complaints to find the issues. Later product developers analyze this research and use their own ideas to find possible solutions for a new product.

Conversely, lead user research methods collect data on both the problem and the available solutions from markets that have similar needs. The development team then uses the ideas that were found in these markets and comes up with a set of possible new product ideas that suit the company’s needs based on ideas from the lead users and expertise… meeting a real customer need Lead users can be found in target or analogous markets. Lead use experts in a target market are often useful in identifying … Q4)

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