BREAKTHROUGHS! by John M. & P. Ranganath Nayak Ketteringham


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Short-take briefings on goods and services that qualify as commercial breakthroughs because they represent unique advances which went well beyond innovation to create new markets. Publication is to coincide with the centenary of Arthur D. Little. Inc., a global consultancy which employs Ketteringham and Nayak. With a good deal of help from ADL colleagues, the authors offer gushy rundowns on a dozen examples of products and processes that either accelerated or altered the state of the art. While the collection has commendable breadth, at least half their choices will strike even casual observers of the business scene as twice-told tales. There's little more that can be gainfully added, for instance, to such serendipitous success stories as 3M's Post-It Note Pads or Sony's Walkman. Less familiar and hence more absorbing are case studies of Raytheon's protracted effort to make a go of microwave ovens, the invention of CT (computerized tomographic) scanning (at show biz-oriented EMI), and the joint discovery of a high-yield polypropylene catalyst by a Montedison/Mitsui research team. Covered as well are the low-tech achievements of ChemLawn Corp. and the creation of Tagamet--an ulcer remedy compounded from man-made substances, which changed the way scientists research new drug possibilities. A potpourri that's less than the sum of its fitfully engrossing parts.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1986
Publisher: Rawson/Scribners