3M is today defined as one of the most successful organizations in the world and analysts describe it as the ‘smooth running innovation machine’. The company has also enjoyed the rankings of the most innovate and the respected company among all, in Fortune 500 year by year. There are many management gurus such as Tom Peters and Peter Drucker which consider the company as the best example of what an innovative company should be. This financial and business analysis report analyzes the operations and the past performance of the company and analyzes all those factors due to which 3M has achieved the enviable position which it possess today also. The analysis focuses on all those competencies due to which the company stands out against all of its competitors around the world.

            The business and the financial analysis of the company have been performed in detail in order to examine the heritage and enviable success of the company achieved so far.

Business Analysis   

Analysis of Growth and Innovation at 3M

            3M Corporation is one of the most successful companies which have been always rethinking innovation. Its operations are spread out today globally and it is one of the largest multi market and multi-product business. The company has more than $ 15 billion in sales and more than 70,000 employees. The company had initiated its operations with just over 100 years in this business and since its establishment; the company has attained a reputation of a major innovator around the world. The technical competence of the company has been achieved by spending heavily in the research and development of the most innovative products and processes for the company.

With this core technical competence the company had achieved the position among the top 10 US firms which had been granted with patents. There is a range of different breakthrough products which have been introduced by the company over the past several years and it has maintained a standard of earning more than 30% turnover, since last 4 years, from the sales of the new products launched. The main secret due to which the company is today considered to be highly innovative is the ability of the management and the thought process of the CEO’s of the company such as George Buckley and McNerny, who have created the culture in which innovation can take place.

Another key to the successful achievement of innovation at 3M include the lucky accidents along with the deliberate attempt and the philosophies of the owners for avoiding to put down more structure since, according to them it would hinder and constrain the innovation at 3M. The case provides us with one clear example of this avoidance when Buckely had removed Six Sigma from the labs of the company because most of the executives believed that Six Sigma choked all those working on innovation and it proved tough for them to schedule innovation. The innovation strategy of the company is stemmed from two core themes which are the strong capabilities for product development with extensive R&D and deep technological competence.

Looking at the pass success in innovation at 3M, it is clear that the company has created a set of policies and a standard structure to guide all the innovative activities which take place at the company. The formal stage gate system for all the extensions and the innovations has been developed through which all the new ideas that are generated in the incubator stage move ahead towards the development funds being available to business plans. The key factors possessed by the company for achieving the innovative position it has today could be summed up into reinforcement of the core values, rewards & recognition, cultural diversity, permission to play, speed, patience, encouragement of risk taking, acceptance of mistakes, policy of hiring the innovators and encouragement for bootlegging. ................

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