Innovation at 3M Case Solution


            The 3M Corporation or Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corporation is well known for its innovative products. They have transformed magnificently the way individuals communicate, masking tape and waterproof sandpaper. 3M was subdivided into the health care unit in 1961. This unit of the company has been developing significantly since that time, and in recent years its annual sales have reached more than two billion dollars. The core component of the company’s business model is its health. The unit is producing significant and increasing sales, but it is unable to introduce a successful product in almost a decade. Since the company is well known for the innovation, therefore, the company has to work on it.

            Rita Shor is the product specialist of the company. She and a group of subject matter experts gathered to tackle the problem using a new and innovative market research method that she learned when she was studying at MIT called “Lead User Research.” The reason of this activity is to gather information regarding customers’ needs and introduce products in the market accordingly. This method has been chosen because the traditional market research methods implemented by the company are not working. The company used to get the market related information from other market research companies in the past. But this time, Rita and her group members have decided to conduct their research. They have obtained the support from the upper management too.

            Rita and her team spend considerable time on discussing the best path forward and try to determine the final recommendations that they could make to the senior management. All the members, including Rita have divided this process into four different stages; project planning, identification of needs and trends, concept generation, final concept generation, and learning from lead users. Rita and her team after several months of discussion finally give four recommendations to the company in order to bring innovation back. The three recommendations are regarding the new product lines with a strong focus on cost, whereas, the fourth recommendation emphasizes on rewriting the health care unit’s business strategy. Some of the team members do not agree with the fourth recommendation, so they propose Rita to focus on the first three recommendations (Sayer, 2010).

Innovation at 3M Case Solution & Answer

Company Background

            The 3M Corporation or Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corporation, is an American based firm, headquartered in the St. Paul, Minnesota.

            The Company deals in more than 55,000 products that include, laminates, passive fire protection, dental and orthodontic products, electronic materials, medical products, car-care products, and electronic circuits. The products of the company are easily available for purchase through distributors and retailers around the globe. The company is working in more than 60countries, including Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom with more than 88000 employees out of which 36000 are from the US. Most of the facilities of the company are located in the US. The annual sales of the company are more than $30 billion (Robinson, 2012).

Problem Statement

            3M has a long history of innovation. The business unit of 3M has given one successful and innovative product in a decade. The senior management has given the mandate to the product specialist of the company, Rita Shor, to develop a breakthrough product within the same business strategy as she is creative and consensus builder. What strategies and steps she can take with her team to develop an innovative product.


            Rita and her team have recognized some of the failures to the company due to the current approach to market research and new product development. The traditional methods carried out by 3M are not efficient with a number of disadvantages. For instance, information acquired from the traditional methods is not essentially proprietary. In order to successfully capitalize on potential market research, a new strategy is required. The external market researchers are also unable to build a relationship between market researchers, the product development team and customers………………….

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Innovation at 3M Case Solution
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