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Marketing Strategy

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In November 2013 3M asked MBA students at Kent Business School to participate in a product development exercise designed to explore how its multi-touch technology systems could be sold into emerging lateral markets. We were given four days in order to explore the opportunities that existed for selling this product into the transport and automotive industry.

This model of "discontinuous innovation", encouraging venture groups to tackle an unknown business problem, is an increasingly common way of a company to exploring something new with little risk and without gatekeepers and the structure of the organisation stifling creativity.

On the 15th November we presented the idea that multi-touch technology could be used in the next generation of air traffic control. This report moves beyond our initial presentation to explain a well-defined concept for further internal discussion within the company.

We will explore the key primary features and customer benefits as defined by the end user; how the implementation of a "lead user strategy" could help develop market driving innovation and justify market trends which will enable the business to exploit the concept presented.

Appendix 1 explores our channelled ideation process to date.


3M's MTT is currently a business to business proposition, and yet, purchase "requires the development of a derived demand further down the supply chain"(B2B16); a clear understanding of the problems faced by our end user (the air traffic controller).

Air traffic control is a hugely stressful and demanding job. At any one time an air traffic controller is simultaneously monitoring traffic, resolving potential aircraft conflict, managing air traffic stacks, routing flights, assessing changing weather conditions and managing positions based on knowledge of the operating capacity and fuel levels of each unit (Ackerman and Kanfer 1993). Controllers oversee an average of 13 planes on a radar screen at any one time (Cruciol and Weigang 2013) and this number expected to double over the next ten years (Air Passenger Market Analysis 2013).

Last year 4,394 planes suffered a near miss in the US alone, more than double the previous record(Jansen 2013). ATC's have high exposure to stress related diseases (Cobb and Rose 1973) and unless properly debriefed can see their productivity drop by as much as 10% on a ten hour shift( Human Performance in Air Traffic Management Safety A White Paper 2010) .

UK ATC's are forced to take a 30 minute break every two hours(Costa 1996) but alertness remains a problem. In the first six months of 2011 five ATC's were reported to have fallen asleep across the US (Pilkington 2011).

Laboratory studies of ATC have shown that skill degradation



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