Corporate Culture of
a long heritage of
new technologies and
businesses. It presents an excellent example of harnessing the benefits
in-company ventures and the
business systems approach
to new product development and
project management. Managers of the company operate within a
shared context that encompasses anticipation of future events that might
have an impact on industry.
Research, development, and the
process are the lifeblood of Corning. It is an integral part of its
tradition. It is a highly competitive process ‒ not all projects get funded.
Corning is oriented around
innovation, built on
Imagination" is a corporate
slogan that embodies literal truth...
Corporate Vision and Core
Corning invented optical fiber,
has deep knowledge of materials, technology, and high-speed manufacturing,
and also has a systems perspective of how the various pieces of an
optical communication network fit together. All that knowledge and expertise
fostered Corning's clear vision of the large and fast-growing optical
To form the
technological strategy, a series of
day-long off-site meetings of company's ten top-line and technical managers
were held. These "deep dives" meetings were schedules every four to six
weeks. Besides shaping the Corning's technological strategy and finding ways
get close to customers, the meetings were also to build a sense of
informality, trust and shared understanding of the future among the ten
Disciplined Approach to
Having realized that a disciplined
and highly managed
process for new product development makes the critical difference between
success and failure, Corning identified the
to turning an idea into a successful new product. General managers oversee a
mix of mature and growth businesses, as well as early-stage ventures...
The Jazz of Innovation:
11 Guiding Principles
The innovation process is used at
Corning not just for product development; it is also applied to achieving
Developing and Managing
Project selection is a highly
competitive and tightly managed process – not all projects get funded.
For new high-risk and high-potential-return projects, project teams work
hard to find opportunities for lowering costs and reducing risks.
and the corporate
team formally review individual projects three times a year,
making decisions about the
Cross-functional teams are involved at every stage of the
innovation process and have access to every resource and technology that
is needed for project success. These teams address technology,
manufacturing, and marketing concerns with every new idea and experiment,
and they work to keep all these functions synchronized. They determine quite
early in the innovation process exactly how the technology fits with
customer and market needs, as well as manufacturing constraints. This
process is highly iterative.
Corning realized that having a
sound innovation process is not enough. What is important is how you
practice it. Thus, it's all comes down to
not control by top management, that makes the process work.
Project Leader Skills
To maintain the rigor of the
innovation process, Corning selects
project managers on the basis of their
leadership skills and their
cross-functional understanding of technology,
manufacturing. Corning gives project leaders an autonomy to decide when to
go fast, call for a formal review, or to blow through a
gate that combines prototype and product development steps in order to
accelerate time to market.
Business Synergies Approach
Two or three times a year, Corning
stages a companywide "Growth Day" at which it show-cases its emerging
products and businesses. The process is very informal. At the end of
presentation, top managers usually ask the project leader: 'What are you
worried about? What can we do to help you? We're not here to review you. The
only thing we require is that you make your milestones. What do you need?'
Banking on people's potential to
invention moving steadily along, Corning offers its
employees quality facilities, access to resources, long-term
commitment, and an attractive
compensation program that includes stock option. It rewards well its
best employees, including hourly workers, through performance bonus plans.
The size of the bonus may vary from 0 to 200% depending on the employee's
Involving Suppliers and Customers
Corning keeps it's customers, such
as Nortel Networks, end-users, such as AT&T, as well as OEM suppliers well
informed of its
technological strategy and product development plans. It uses road-mapping as a
co-innovation tool that allows suppliers and
customers to work together to build products.