Ref: IMD-7-2029

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2029

Order this case study

Mclaren Applied Technologies: Building a disruptive business

By Professor Michael R. WadeMichael R. Wade, Siddhartha Kunti and Christopher Bjerkan Wade

In 2016, Geoff McGrath, Managing Director of McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) accepted that the company he was hired to build was at an inflection point.

MAT was the smallest of three divisions within McLaren Technology Group (MTG), the others being McLaren Racing, operator of the McLaren Formula One racing team, and McLaren Automotive, builder of high performance road cars.

MAT had been formed in 2004 as a spinoff organization to apply McLaren’s competences in automobile racing to other fields. Twelve years of operations had led to modest success, but the company had yet to build a sustainable business model. McGrath had been given full freedom to explore different options, with two conditions: first, MAT needed to fund its growth through operations, and second, it could not damage the McLaren brand.

Learning Objective

There are three main learning objectives of the case:

The first is to understand the resources and capabilities that McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) has access to, that it could use to enter into and disrupt a new industry. When any company is considering becoming a disruptor, it must understand the unique and valuable resources and capabilities it has at its disposal, that it can employ to disrupt another sector. In the case of MAT, these resources and capabilities were not immediately obvious.

The second objective is to define which industries MAT could enter with these resources and capabilities and determine why it could compete and win in those sectors. In the case of MAT, it was successful in some sectors, like manufacturing optimization, advanced simulation of air traffic, and professional sports, and less successful in others, like management consulting and pharmaceuticals. It turned out that its main strengths lied in collecting, modelling, and simulating large quantities of complex data in real time.

The third objective is to better understand the capabilities that underpin organizational agility. MAT embodies the three agility sub-capabilities of hyperawareness, informed decision-making, and fast execution.

McLaren Applied Technologies
TypePublished Sources
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-2029

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre Babson College

Babson Park Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way Boston, MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Case Center Japan

2nd Floor, Toranomon Jitsugyokaikan,
1-1-20 Toranomon, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0001 Japan
Tel +81 3 3503 6621
Fax +81 3 3501 0550
Email [email protected]

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information, please contact IMD's Information Center Copyrights Services.

Contact our Knowledge Center for additional information on IMD publications

Contact our Media Relations team to republish

Keep reading

Back to top