Although the decentralised structure led to product

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Although the decentralised structure led to product line extensions, the company only produced 750 patents between 1976 and 2002 versus IBM and Xerox each filing more than 2000 for nano technologies. The individual R&D units were causing scientists to become so focussed on their local markets that they were no longer pioneering new concepts. Beyond the organisational structure Wendling realised that staffing had also become a problem for the company. Since the company had not facilitated the flow of information between R&D units, 3M continued to hire polymer chemists and material specialist. Both groups were useful in maintaining the company’s position in already established markets such as adhesives but had little use in moving into biotechnology and nano technology industries. First on Wendling’s agenda was to free up scientists working in R&D to think outside of 3M’s existing product line. To do this Wendling moved most scientists out of R&D centres into business units in the company. The scientists at central R&D were asked to research new concepts in markets that were projected to grow at more than 10% annually. In order to keep the technological developments moving toward commercialisation, He then brought in eight full time marketers to focus the researchers on the overarching goal of developing new products. The new structure allowed the central R&D researchers to find partners within the business units that best understood the market for the new product. Wendling found that once scientists have been able to get their products from the lab to the market they got hooked on the process.
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