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The product development paradigm

Read the 3M: Profile of an Innovating Company case and prepare a 750 word memo that discusses your recommendations for returning 3M to 20% return on equity and improved ROCE (Return on Capital Employed). In doing so, make sure to include the following:
a. A brief description of the situation
b. Your recommended approach
c. A discussion of alternate approaches and why your recommendation is better

Attached is the 3M case.


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a. A brief description of the situation
The company 3M has been built on the foundation of technological research, it had a lab way back in 1916 and since then has taken pride in its research endeavors and discoveries. The technological base of expansion was fortified with the establishment of a Central Research Laboratory. Still, the company positioned itself not as a "high tech" company but a creative company. It emphasized exchange of ideas between the manufacturing staff and sales personnel and even encouraged employees to spend time on pursuing projects of interest to them. This led to the discovery and commercialization of scores of new products.

The product development paradigm drove the organization, where a new product would spawn a new department, grow into a new division and even reach the proportion of a group. International expansion was based on cashing in on the first mover advantage and the sales of new small products were expected to be small but profitable. However, this unplanned expansion based on product success led to a fragmented effort. There was a need felt for systematic planning and new investment in technology. Perceived as a leader in innovation, the company was feeling a strong need to maintain discipline. There was a pressure to increase productivity and competitiveness, reduce labor content and increase cycle time. Commitment to R&D was maintained but discipline was imposed and the company made efforts to turn market oriented. Currently, the ...

Solution Summary

The product development paradigm is evaluated.