Recognized as a Top 100 Global Innovator since 2010, Nitto Denko Corporation demonstrates how a relentless focus on customer innovation can sustain a company's growth, and transform its business model. This three-part case series examines how this Japan-based manufacturing group successfully rode the wave of emerging industries, found applications in new areas, while remaining true to its core technologies and capabilities. Case A recounts Nitto’s humble beginnings as a domestic electrical insulation manufacturer and how it turned into a global company poised to make inroads into the medical industry. Underlying its evolution is the company's particular philosophy of technology innovation and application (also known as Sanshin). Case B examines how Nitto sustains its innovation trajectory by investing in areas that enable rapid experimentation at large scale in the B2B setting. Case C discusses Nitto’s future roadmap. As Nitto aims to accelerate its global footprint and move into new markets, the company faces a “tipping point.” Nitto must find new ways to scale, diffuse and innovate at an accelerated pace. We examine the efforts of the regional European hub as an example of globalization, and how senior management charts its way into the medical and life sciences industry.
This case invites students to reflect on the following topics surrounding innovation and corporate evolution:
Understand the different processes behind disruptive innovation and sustaining innovation.
Examine how to maximize the longevity of technological innovations.
Address importance of core competencies and capabilities for leveraging existing technologies across new areas.
Examine how product innovation and commercial innovation should go hand in hand.
Reflect on how to embed corporate philosophies and values across a global organization.
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