Knowledge and Communication

Samsung's European Innovation Team

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The case details the work of Samsung's Product Innovation Team in Europe, the PIT EU, established in 2010 to fuel consumer-driven innovation (as opposed to technology-driven innovation). By 2013, projects created by the team had contributed an estimated half a billion dollars to Samsung's profits. The case covers the first three years of the team and shows how the founders set up their team to make success more likely. Among other topics, the case describes how the team works to find new and valuable insights by studying consumers, how they create useful metrics for innovation, and how they "sell" their ideas to the rest of the company (a frequent problem for innovation units). The case also describes three of their innovation projects in detail: a new function for video camcorders, an app for transferring data to Samsung phones, and a revolutionary new type of refrigerator. The Teaching Note includes a PowerPoint deck with details and visuals on Samsung, the team setup and the three projects mentioned in the case. The slides also include a link to video footage that can be shown in class.
Bibliographic citation: Wedell-Wedellsborg, Thomas; Miller, Paddy, "Samsung's European Innovation Team: Fueling consumer-driven growth", IESE, DPO-307-E, 03/2014
Date: 17/03/2014
Author(s): Wedell-Wedellsborg, Thomas; Miller, Paddy
Document type: Case
Department: Managing People in Organizations
Sector: Telecommunications (Telephone, TV, Cable...)
Languages: English
Year of the events: 2010 to 2014
Geographic area: South Korea; United Kingdom

Learning objective The case is well suited for discussion topics such as: idea development, ethnographic/anthropological methods for finding consumer insights, selling new ideas to internal stakeholders, corporate politics surrounding innovation, risk management, innovation metrics, interaction between the field and headquarters, and how to set up a successful innovation unit in a big company.