Ballard Power Systems: Disrupting the Disruptor
(8 pages of text)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. (Ballard), a Canadian disruptor in the clean energy sector, developed and produced hydrogen-powered fuel cells. The company had been revolutionary, but after many years in business the company was still research-oriented and doing more demonstration projects than selling fuel cells to customers. Revenues and stocks were sagging and employees, many of whom had been with the company for years, were disaffected. The energy company with a proud history of being a disruptor was, itself, at risk of being disrupted. The job of the new chief executive officer (CEO) was to motivate the staff and create in them a disruptive mindset that would carry the company forward into a new customer-focused future. There was an entrenched belief that Ballard was skilled at developing good ideas and that new technology needed to give way to the new ethos of being a customer-centred, disruptive, problem-solving organization. How could the CEO embed the changes and ensure the new values drove Ballard’s growth?
This case is suitable for use in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on leadership, leading change, or disruption. After the completion of the case, students will be able to
- better understand the leadership skills required to be successful in a fast-paced, disruptive environment;
- appreciate the importance of a powerful, compelling value proposition to become a successful organization;
- understand the myriad ways to engage and inspire employees; and
- develop an appreciation for how leaders can influence change to ensure that values become widely shared and deeply held among employees across the organization.
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Canada, Medium, 2018
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