What's Stifling the Creativity at CoolBurst? (HBR Case Study and Commentary)
This fictitious case study explores the challenges facing CoolBurst, a Miami-based fruit-juice company. For over a decade, CoolBurst had ruled the market in the Southeast. Why, then, are its annual revenues stuck at $30 million, and why have profits been stagnant for four years straight? CoolBurst's new CEO, Luisa Reboredo, knows that the company's survival--and her own--depend on the answers. Reboredo has succeeded former utilitarian CEO Garth LeRoue. While LeRoue had undeniably made CoolBurst into the well-oiled machine it was, he'd also been stubborn in enforcing a culture of tradition, self-discipline, and respect for authority--a culture so staid and polite, it left little room for employees to be creative. LeRoue, for instance, had almost fired two of CoolBurst's most creative employees for inventing four new drinks without his permission. Sam Jenkins, one of those employees, had been so angered by the incident that he left the company to work for CoolBurst's largest competitor. How can Reboredo encourage her employees to start thinking creatively. And how can she nurture any creative individuals who may join the company in the future? In 97511 and 97511Z, commentators Paul Barker, Teresa M. Amabile, Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Gareth Jones, and Elspeth McFadzean offer advice on this fictional case study. THIS CASE STUDY INCLUDES BOTH THE CASE AND THE COMMENTARY. FOR TEACHING PURPOSES, THE REPRINT IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN TWO OTHER VERSIONS: CASE STUDY ONLY, REPRINT 97511X, AND COMMENTARY ONLY, REPRINT 97511Z.