Explain What Happened to the Gore-Tex. Brand After the Patent Expired. What Activity Can Firms Use

1259 Words Feb 22nd, 2014 6 Pages
Case study notes
This case study explores a very unique organisation: W.L. Gore Associates. It explores the role of organisational management and culture within a very innovative firm, which is responsible for some very well-known products such as the famous Gore-Tex fabric, and yet few people know much about this remarkable organisation. It is operated in a way similar to that of a cooperative such as The John Lewis Partnership in the UK, where the employees are also owners. In addition, the organisation seeks to minimise management with the emphasis on action and creativity.
Case study questions
1. Explain what happened to the Gore-Tex brand after the patent expired. What activity can firms use to try to maintain any advantage developed
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It is a well-trodden path of a technology-push strategy. The strategy is now being challenged by competitors who are entering the markets and offering competing products often inferior but competitively priced. Gore will need to decide whether to try to compete on the price or to develop a brand for which consumers are willing to pay a premium.
6. Using CIM (Figure 1.9) illustrate the innovation process within W.L. Gore.
CIM has four processes around the outside and the entrepreneur in the middle.
We can try to use this to identify key activities within the innovation process:
Natural sciences cycle
Many innovations are applications of existing technology; in such cases, this part of the framework may not be used. In the Gore-Tex case, the new science is the creation of PTFE, but this was back in the 1960s.
Integrated engineering cycle
As with so many innovations, this is where most of the technical effort takes place. Gore has spent the past 50 years applying PTFE to many different applications and they keep finding new uses for the technology. The stretching of PTFE to create lots of tiny holes in it led to the breathable membrane – maybe other firms would have seen this as a fault and thrown the technology away. It is the curiosity in the R&D scientists which often leads to new product ideas.
Differentiated services cycle
During this phase, the technology is adapted to meet specific needs of