Curana BVBA: Managing open innovation for the growth in SMEs

Servaas Willem Bosch, Wim Vanhaverbeke

Research output: Case study

Abstract

Curana is a small family owned company in Belgium. In the nineties is was still producing mudguards and fenders as an OEM for European bicycle manufacturers. Fast globalization of the industry and massive import of cheaper plastic mudguards by new bike accessory producers forced Curana to make a strategic turnaround. The management focused on the top segments of the market and introduced innovative and design based bike accessories. The company didn't have the competencies to develop those new products but it relied on an open innovation strategy including several strategic partners to develop and manufacture unique products. The case describes the development of the B-Lite, the first mudguard that was developed and launched by Curana using an open innovation approach, and how the company has been changing its business model during the last decade. Curana started as an OEM implementing decisions of others and accepting the conditions that clients determine. The metamorphosis of the last decade propelled Curana into the role of a value chain orchestrator, not only determining its own business success but also the prospects of the European bicycle industry. Curana developed new competencies based on a network of strategic partners. It has a unique proactive innovation process which allows it to spawn entirely new product(s designs) more rapidly than anyone else in the industry. The case is a textbook example how open innovation is also a valuable approach for SMEs in a low tech environment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

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