Berliner Glas (BG) is a family-owned company in the field of Photonics, an industry with high growth estimations, but also irregular setbacks. Photonics is an enabler for future growth areas as light systems, consumer products, human-machine interaction, health technology, mobility and communication. The organization is driven by Business Units (BUs) with a focus on the current product portfolio, which makes the company very responsive to short-term opportunities.
BG aims at systematically exploring market opportunities arising from industry growth. However, due to the BU-driven organization, BG lacked systematic longer-term orientation and did not have planning instruments to identify and respond to opportunities arising across and outside of the current BU scope appropriately. As a result, there is an increasing risk of missing out on large opportunities or higher-than-necessary investment requirements due to late market entry decisions in a highly competitive market.
Rohrbeck Heger partnered with BG to enable collaboration between BUs and central R&D functions to establish a deeply integrated, systematic approach for market- and technology-driven scouting. In a long-lasting engagement, Rohrbeck Heger steers the newly-formed “Market and Technology Team”, acts as an advisor to the management and regularly facilitates management and expert workshops.
At the core of the approach are three radars: a technology radar, a product radar, and a market radar. While all of them can be used individually, the key benefit lies in the deep integration of the three radars and thus the understanding of market-product-technology relations.
Jointly, BG and Rohrbeck Heger have developed the instrument to support top management investment decisions and to serve the individual organizational units as a guide for functional decisions and mid-to long-term planning activities. After a pilot-phase to iterate and improve the approach a web-based tool has been adopted to enable distributed work, ensure consistency of the data and provide a flexible visualization of the Radar.
Rohrbeck Heger emphasized on four key components of the Radar integration throughout the project: Visualization, Profiles, Evaluation, Process.
Visualization consisted of the definition of segments within the radar, the development of single radars for different perspectives and an integrated radar for a shared understanding of interdependencies. Part of this was an Online-Tool, that allows individual input on radar interfaces while having a shared overview of the integrated radar at the same time.
Profiles describe single elements within search fields, e.g. specific technologies, products or markets.
Evaluation included the assessment of profiles. Rohrbeck Heger developed a framework based on addressability and attractiveness.
Process addressed responsibilities, expected outcome, incentives and communication guidelines.
A deep integration and efficient participation of employees in the radar process and implementation was necessary. To ensure top-management backing by the board, the CTO became the overall radar owner, while management executives from different functions are responsible for the market-, product-and technology radar each. Dedicated search field owners are responsible for a comprehensive overview of a specific search area within the radar. They are technology owners, strategic product owners, or sales responsible in their respective field. Their role and success in the radar process has been tied to their career path in the company to ensure a deep organizational integration and participation in the radar process.
Rohrbeck Heger conducted several workshops to create regular engagement activities with a combination of online-tool usage and face-to-face workshops to match technology, product and market perspectives. Multiple perspectives and top-management participation ensured the validation of data. Altogether, these activities provide the basis for strategic discussions with consideration of interdependencies between the development of technology trends, new market needs, and new product development opportunities.
With the newly established Market & Technology Team and the implementation of the integrated radar approach, Rohrbeck Heger helped to tie together BUs and central functions with a platform, that prepares the initiation of high potential initiatives.
Through the guidance of Rohrbeck Heger, BG was able to apply Foresight practices systematically and develop sophisticated Foresight methods. These methods enable BG to successfully identify, assess and prioritize technology- and market-driven opportunities.
With the successful integration of the integrated radar approach the family-owned firm took the first steps towards the exploitation of short-, mid- and long-term opportunities inside BUs, across the organization and outside of current markets.