Schneider Electric: Opening Up to External Innovation
Schneider Electric has put together a structure to fulfill its needs to address the changes in technologies and markets that promise to redefine its markets. Case protagonists have to evaluate whether these solutions are enough to satisfy these needs and how to make them as effective as possible. Schneider Electric competes in tough but stable markets around energy management, automation, and control of infrastructures ranging from homes to production plants. New technologies and new approaches to serving markets are challenging the status quo. To take advantage of these changes, the company has been experimenting with different organizational structures to take advantage of these radical innovations. The case describes the challenges facing the company as well as the latest iteration of structures and systems. In particular, the company has put together "Innovation at the Edge," which includes tools ranging from corporate venture capital to corporate accelerator. Managers at Schneider Electric have to evaluate whether these tools are enough to fulfill the needs of the company, how to fully take advantage of them, and how to further adapt them.