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EFMD prize for IMD case on the breakthrough of a bricklaying robot

Winning case study showcases role of new technology in revolutionizing “conservative” markets such as construction.
April 2021

IMD’s Professor Dominique Turpin has won the Bringing Technology to Market category in the 2020 EFMD Case Writing Competition for his case “SAM 100: Will Construction Robotics Disrupt the US Bricklaying Industry?”, as announced on Monday by the organizers.

Professor Turpin co-authored the case with Douglas Quackenbos of the University of South Carolina and Martin S. Roth of the University of Charleston.

“My co-authors and I are delighted to have been recognized for our collective work on the SAM100. Our winning case illustrates how new technology can revolutionize markets even in so-called ‘conservative’ industries such as construction, and reinforces the idea that no industry is immune from disruption,” Turpin said.

The case explores the marketing challenges that a robotics and automation technology start-up faces in the construction industry, using the example of the first commercially available bricklaying robot for onsite masonry construction – SAM100. This semi-automated mason has the capacity to lay six times as many bricks daily as a single human mason.

Readers are encouraged to use Rogers’ diffusion of innovations theory as a framework for analysis to ascertain what might be impeding sales of the SAM100 and then identify which market segments, targets and positioning strategies will help accelerate its adoption and develop a robust product lifecycle.

The case highlights valuable areas for future analysis beyond robotics to the fear of job loss, the diffusion of innovations, branding and naming, business-to-business customer value and benefits and commercialization.

The category Bringing Technology to Market is sponsored by the Bringing Technology to Market (BTM) Center at ESMT Berlin, Germany’s leading business school. The monetary prize for the award will be split between the three authors.

There were winners across multiple categories in the annual EFMD case competition, spanning responsible business, women in business and regionally relevant cases.

EFMD is a global, non-profit, membership-driven organization dedicated to management development. It is recognized globally as an accreditation body for business schools, business school programs, and corporate universities.