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Published by:
Stanford Business School (2008)
10 June 2008
24 pages
Data source:
Field research


In November 2005, members of Corning Incorporated''s early-stage opportunity identification and development team were preparing to make a recommendation regarding whether or not the company should move forward with a project to develop mercury abatement technology to help power plants meet impending US legislation for the cleaner use of coal. This opportunity, which had been surfaced through Corning''s relatively new process for early-stage opportunity identification, was believed by some to have the potential to become a sizable new business. As the company evaluated whether or not to invest in the development of this new venture, it was equally important for Corning to consider the effectiveness of its early-stage opportunity identification process. With limited resources and a pressing need to increase the company''s rate of innovation, this process was designed to take as much guesswork as possible out of the ambiguous ''art'' of identifying new business prospects. This case describes the Corning process for identifying and evaluating early-stage opportunities and allows readers to construct a recommendation as to what Corning should do regarding its mercury abatement project. The purpose of this case is to help readers: (1) understand the challenges associated with early-stage opportunity identification; and (2) apply a structured approach to assessing early-stage opportunities and recognize the challenges and benefits associated with that process.


New business development; Innovation; Research and development (R&D); Resource allocation; Opportunity identification; Business growth

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