Innovation at Whirlpool - Creating a New Competency
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Need for a Change in Corporate Culture
By the late 1999, the top management at Whirlpool found itself unable to drive growth in its businesses. The company's revenues, profits, and market share were stagnant. And this, despite the fact that Whirlpool had adopted various operational initiatives to cut costs and achieve economies of scale in its operations. In December 2000, Whirlpool announced that it would cut 10% of its international workforce and initiate restructuring of its global operations...
Innovation as a Core Competency
Laying the Foundation
In late 1999, Whitwam started the innovation initiative by inviting ideas from all the employees. He felt that a direct call to employees was needed to ensure that no brilliant ideas got lost in the corporate hierarchy. In order to bring out creative ideas, 25 employees from the company's European arm were released from their routine job and sent to Whirlpool's European headquarters at Comerio, Italy, for one year. Their sole assignment was to brainstorm and come out with ideas regarding new products or services that would truly differentiate Whirlpool's offerings from those of its rivals...
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