Curana: Managing Open Innovation for Growth in SMEs (A)
(12 pages of text)
Curana BVBA was a small family-owned company in Belgium. In the 1990s, it was producing mudguards and fenders as an original equipment manufacturer for the European bicycle industry. As Curana BVBA faced increasing competition in 2009, it needed to make a strategic turnaround. The company focused on the top segments of the market and introduced innovative and design-based bicycle accessories. The company didn't have the competency to develop these new products itself, so it built and relied on an open innovation strategy that included several partners who could develop and manufacture the original products. As the network matured, Curana derived new competencies from the partners, which ultimately allowed Curana to embark on a proactive innovation process, spawning entirely new product designs more rapidly than anyone else in the industry.
This case is relevant for graduate students, MBA students, and executive education students taking innovation, entrepreneurship, start-up development, and open innovation courses. It shows how small and medium enterprises in traditional industries can avoid increasing competition by using open innovation. Ideal for use in management and strategy classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, this case guides students through the entrepreneur’s initial vision to the commercial introduction of new bicycle parts. Using the case, students will learn about
- the importance of a founders vision;
- the challenges in setting up an innovative ecosystem;
- the need to make changes in the company's strategy one step at a time, over time; and
- the difficulties in coping with business model changes.
Belgium, Small, 2009
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