The case tells the story of a strategic change and cultural shift at Innolume a start-up focused on unique laser production. George Gogolev, who represents the company’s investors, is attempting to move the company away from customized productions for niche applications to mass production for the datacom market. Innolume won the Prism award – the “Oscar” of the photonics industry – for a laser dedicated to data transmission. However, the company lacked clear market vision, financing, production methods, quality controls and product readiness level. Although George convinced the investors to support the turnaround, it became apparent that the company’s main challenge were cultural in nature. The Germany-based Innolume team consisted mainly of Russian scientists who were highly focused on R&D and technological excellence. At the same time, they lacked business development and were not customer-centric. The team was not supportive of the investors’ initiative and sabotaged the changes, triggering open conflict between the staff and the new management. It took a comprehensive change management process to bring the new strategy and the company culture into alignment, and get the team on board. Finally, the company got on the right track for mass production. However, there were still some challenges related to product readiness. The issue of time becomes critical, and Innolume needs to speed up to benefit from the window of opportunity for entering the datacom market.
- Describe how Innolume positions itself in the value constellations of laser production and application
- Identify the needs of B2B customers by linking attributes to benefits and values
- Assess two strategic options, the current portfolio approach and a radically different mass-production strategy
- Describe and relate the different elements of McKinsey’s 7S framework (strategy, structure, systems, shared values, skills, style, staff) for a success strategy implementation
- Synthesize the discussion by formulating elements of the desired culture.
Innolume, Materials, Semiconductors
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