Innovations at Harley Davidson|Business Strategy|Case Study|Case Studies

Innovations at Harley Davidson

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR093
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 1903 - 2003
Organization : Harley Davidson Inc.
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Automobile

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Innovation in the Business Context

The creation of something new, that is innovation, has been the key growth driver behind the evolution of civilization across the globe. Being the basis for survival and development, innovation has been used in every walk of life by people everywhere.

In the business context, innovation can be defined as the 'process of introducing a new idea, or inventing/creating something which has not yet been discovered or developed in the market or development arena.'5

Companies can innovate on one or more of these fronts - product, process and service. Within each category, innovation can be of three types: Radical innovation (a breakthrough product, process or service), distinctive innovation (considerable improvements in the existing product, process or service) and incremental innovation (small improvements in the existing product, process or service).

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The process of radical innovation involves a major change in the approach adopted to address a need, or could involve taking an entirely new approach.

Distinctive and incremental innovation involves making small improvements and extensions to the existing products, processes and services. The aim of such innovations is to increase efficiency through higher quality, reduced time and lowered costs.

The above theories of innovation can be summed up thus: Innovation of any type is said to occur when a change in the product, process or service results in a better or improved solution for an existing need.

Traditionally, companies believed innovation to be an expensive activity, with a long payback period. Hence, companies failed to retain their interest in it for the required period of time and often abandoned innovation projects midway. In organizations that did retain interest, most innovations were restricted to new products. These were mainly contributed by the company's research and development (R&D) department or by academic researchers and individuals.

The process of innovation was mostly unpredictable and unmanageable. Reportedly, no formalized innovation process was in existence during the early 1900s...

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