In any industry, companies must keep their mission, vision and values as the guiding aspects, as well as the determinants, of their market position. Kone, one of the global leaders in the elevator and escalator industry, was founded in 1910. Kone has always held the core belief that the elevator user experience should be more than a simple ride up or down. With its focus on design, Kone aims to give passengers an enjoyable experience that adds value to a building and its users. Using the latest technology, its elevators bring ride-comfort to a new level.
In 2014, Kone launched the UltraRope, an innovative product built with carbon fibre technology. The new technology also increases rope lifetime to twice that of conventional ropes, which has the potential to reduce replacement costs. In addition, Kone offers a real-time rope condition monitoring system, which again, provides improvements to maintenance and safety. As a disruptive innovation, the UltraRope has potential applications, not only in the elevator industry, but in other industries as well.
UltraRope is undoubtedly a significant milestone for Kone. How might this achievement change the elevator and related industries, and concurrently how could Kone maintain its distinctive position as an innovative company and best bring its new product to market? Is there a standout aspect of Kone’s business culture that enables it to take the elevator industry to new heights?
This case study is best suited for senior undergraduate, graduate, and executive level teaching. Through this case study, students will explore concepts related to innovation and will be able to identify what factors within an organisation are necessary for fostering innovation. Students will also discuss how disruptive innovations can force companies to adapt their business models.
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