For years, DSM’s Dyneema (the strongest fiber in the world) had enjoyed success in extreme applications like bullet-proof vests, industrial rope, marine line, etc. But… their strategy wasn’t bullet proof.
The corporation was using a traditional approach to explore the future — starting with the current portfolio of products and markets, mapping trends onto them, and establishing progressive timeframes (e.g., years or horizons). This approach was driving opportunities that ONLY existed within the siloes of their current market.
And now, current markets were completely tapped out. The material was so expensive that they questioned their ability to gain traction in new areas. They had no idea where to go next. DSM needed a new approach to mapping the future onto their core businesses in order to identify long-range opportunities, and drive focused, long-term investments.
\ Our Approach
We needed to move beyond the constraints of the current portfolio. Rather than going directly to the markets, we stepped back and focused on the conditions — identifying opportunities where a demand for “MORE” existed… more extreme environments, more scarcity of materials, more sustainable practices, etc.
In a one-week session, we collaborated with Dyneema (business and technical team members) and our ecosystem (experts from eight different sectors from outdoor furniture to defense) to better understand the feasibility of each opportunity and prioritize where the material could generate real traction.
We discovered that “extreme” markets would accept an expensive material if it replaced many less expensive materials. One material that could do MORE — delivering extreme strength, while simplifying manufacturing and light weighting the end-product.
A series of new, long-range opportunities that the organization could align against were identified — from high-end protective clothing, to vehicle armor and synthetic link chains (for boat towing, etc.).
Significant growth followed. In fact, the company has stated that 75% of their growth in the last 10 years has come from opportunities identified through this project.
The corporate innovation function adopted the methodology as their long-range planning approach.
“NEWEDGE HAS HELPED US IMPROVE IN DEALING WITH THE FAMOUS ‘FUZZY FRONT END’. MATCHING OUR OWN INTERNAL TECHNICAL EXPERTS WITH NEWEDGE’S NETWORK OF INDUSTRY SPECIALISTS GAVE A VERY CREATIVE MIX THAT ALLOWED US NOT ONLY TO STRETCH OUR THINKING BUT ALSO TO QUICKLY MAKE DECISIONS.”
- Business Manager, Yarn, DSM Dyneema