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Corning Incorporated: Accelerating 160 Years of Innovation
Laseter, Timothy M. Case OM-1510 / Published February 2, 2014 / 14 pages.
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Product Overview

Less than six months into his new role as innovation officer for Corning Incorporated (Corning), Marty Curran was worried. Corning had just announced an across-the-board restructuring in anticipation of revenue and margin pressures in multiple segments. Corning’s R&D budget clearly contained languishing projects that needed to be disbanded, but its portfolio undoubtedly also contained some blockbuster businesses that would allow the Fortune 500 company, founded in 1851, to flourish for another 160 years. From a stack of reports on his desk, Curran pulled an update from Yi Jiang, global business director for Corning’s nascent advanced-flow reactor (AFR) business based in Shanghai and France. AFRs were chemical reactors that replaced traditional batch processes with continuous flow. Curran sensed a real opportunity, and he was supported by encouraging input about the technology from colleagues, but he knew he had some questions to answer. What was the right business model for AFR? How should the team increase sales, and what growth rate should he expect? Were the regional focus and customer segmentation correct? How should Corning promote the technology and protect its intellectual property? What might blindside the business? More generally, how much should Corning invest in R&D? What was the best way to encourage technical people to care about the commercial side? And how could he turn the AFR business into Corning’s next blockbuster?




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  • Overview

    Less than six months into his new role as innovation officer for Corning Incorporated (Corning), Marty Curran was worried. Corning had just announced an across-the-board restructuring in anticipation of revenue and margin pressures in multiple segments. Corning’s R&D budget clearly contained languishing projects that needed to be disbanded, but its portfolio undoubtedly also contained some blockbuster businesses that would allow the Fortune 500 company, founded in 1851, to flourish for another 160 years. From a stack of reports on his desk, Curran pulled an update from Yi Jiang, global business director for Corning’s nascent advanced-flow reactor (AFR) business based in Shanghai and France. AFRs were chemical reactors that replaced traditional batch processes with continuous flow. Curran sensed a real opportunity, and he was supported by encouraging input about the technology from colleagues, but he knew he had some questions to answer. What was the right business model for AFR? How should the team increase sales, and what growth rate should he expect? Were the regional focus and customer segmentation correct? How should Corning promote the technology and protect its intellectual property? What might blindside the business? More generally, how much should Corning invest in R&D? What was the best way to encourage technical people to care about the commercial side? And how could he turn the AFR business into Corning’s next blockbuster?

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