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Readings in Innovation by David A. Hills, Stanley S. Gryskiewicz

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Structuring for Innovation … And the Bottom Line

Robert L. Swiggett

Ask anybody who manages a big business and you will hear that one of the things that drives us, and is something we have always worried about, is this: If capacity exceeds demand, profit vanishes. And so innovation has to be our game.

After a long period of trial and error, we have found two things were crucial in fostering a lively spirit of innovation at Kollmorgen: a culture of trust and the use of small work teams as opposed to large functional operations.

But first let me give a little background and talk about some of our mistakes along the way.

From its founding in 1912 until about 1960, Kollmorgen was dependent on government defense contracts. For example, we built the ...

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