innovations while pursuing incremental gains. A business does not have to escape its past, these cases show, to renew itself for the future.
To flourish over the long run, most companies need to maintain a variety of innovation efforts. They must constantly pursue incremental innovations, small improvements in their existing products and operations that let them operate more efficiently and deliver ever greater value to customers. An automaker, for example, may frequently tweak a basic engine design to increase horsepower, enhance fuel efficiency, or improve reliability. Companies also have to make architectural innovations ,applying technological or process advances to fundamentally change some component or element of their business. Capitalizing…show more content… Established in the early 1980s as a unit of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), the Atlanta-based Ciba Vision sells contact lenses and related eye-care products to optometrists and consumers. Although the company produced some innovative new products in its early years, such as the first FDA-approved bifocal contacts, by the mid-1980s it remained a distant second to market leader Johnson & Johnson. Making matters worse, in 1987 J&J brought out a new, disposable contact lens that threatened Ciba Vision’s sales of conventional contacts. By the early 1990s, it was clear to Glenn Bradley, Ciba Vision’s president, that J&J’s dominance provided economies of scale that would doom his company to ever-shrinking profits. Without radically new products, Ciba Vision would slowly decline and ultimately fail. To survive and grow, Bradley saw,his organization would have to continue making money in the mature conventional-contacts business while simultaneously producing a stream of…show more content… Inevitably, conflicts over the allocation of human and financial resources would slow down and disrupt the focus needed for breakthrough innovations. Further, the new manufacturing process required different technical skills, which would make communication across old and new units difficult. He therefore decided to create autonomous units for the new projects, each with its own R&D, finance, and marketing functions, and he chose the project leaders for their willingness to challenge the status quo and their ability to operate independently. Given the freedom to shape their own organizations, the new units created very different structures, processes, and cultures. The extended-wear team remained in Atlanta, though in a facility separate from the conventional-lens business, while the daily-disposables team was located in Germany. Each team hired its own staff, decided on its own reward system, and chose its own process for moving from development to manufacturing.
But even as Bradley understood the importance of protecting the new units from the processes and cultural norms of the old business, he realized they also had to share expertise and resources, both with the traditional business and with one another. He therefore took a number of steps to integrate management across the company. First and perhaps most important, he had the leaders of all the breakthrough