The Situation

Stuck in a Rut

The ~$2B telecom division of a specialty materials company had dominated their industry for years, but their share was slipping, and their pipeline had run dry. In some ways, they had been victims of their own success, gaining confidence in their market leading position and investing less and less in innovation over time. Their problem wasn’t lack of talent — they still had several brilliant technical minds on staff — or capital; it was their stagnant innovation culture and lack of customer understanding.

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The Approach

Clearing Out the Cobwebs

Working side-by-side with business leadership over the course of the year, Newry helped to design an innovation turnaround strategy, starting with an in-depth effort to gather market insight. Our client’s pipeline wasn’t empty because there was nothing to work on; it was empty because they had become increasingly internally focused over the years, and didn’t have an effective methodology for finding critical customer problems to solve. So that’s where we started — by going out into the world and doing deep primary research, competitive intelligence, cost analysis, and more to lay the groundwork for a richer view of the world for them. Preliminary customer interviews revealed that there were opportunities for our client to gain share by resolving issues with some of their existing products, and we set out to address that low-hanging fruit with an internal Delta Team initiative.

Delta is the Difference

Solving big, thorny technical or strategic problems doesn’t just take brains — it takes building relationships. The Delta Team process uses both formal and informal touchpoints to get scientists out of the lab and salespeople off the phone so that they can connect in a meaningful way and share information that so often gets lost in the chasm between functions.

The Outcome

Ongoing Engagement and Innovation Excellence

In addition to enabling major technical breakthroughs, the Delta Team process had a transformational impact on the culture of the organization. The client team continued to hold regular working sessions even after Newry’s involvement ended, and a culture of open communication flourished between historically siloed functions. They’ve continued the practices we established with them for gathering market insight, developing deep customer intimacy, and continually innovating their portfolio, and it has paid off – to the tune of hundreds of millions in sales over the years that followed our initial engagement. Newry continues to support the client’s efforts on an ongoing basis through conjoint surveys, global field interviewing efforts, Delta Teams, and more.

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