In the previous posts in this series, I highlighted examples of poorly integrated acquired innovation and some key success factors. Here are a few examples of "doing it right"
Examples of companies that have successfully integrated innovations
Great Harvest Bread:
In an NPR story, part of the station's "Making Ends Meet" series, that aired on October 23 (click here to listen online), I heard the great story of Great Harvest Bakery, a franchise that encourages its franchisees throughout the U.S. to "do their own thing." In other words, Franchise Central offers guidelines but truly allows franchisees to run their businesses as they see fit.
Often, franchises are very conservative and strict when it comes to the leeway (or lack thereof) they give their franchisees in making business management, marketing and other decisions. The three sole requirements of this "freedom franchise":
1) display the corporate logo
2) bake the signature honey whole wheat bread and
3) grind fresh flour each day
Focusing on a Seattle-based Great Harvest franchise, the story discusses the pastry innovation (e.g., "cini-minis") and the general love the owner has for what he does and what he offers.
While not a typical example of "integration" they have found a great balance between standardizing processes, while allowing individuality to continue to thrive.
I have previously discussed in this blog the interesting example of P&G acquiring MDVIP (blog post). It's a very non-traditional example of aquiring new capabilities and brands. What's also interesting now is to look back and discover that P&G, that behemoth of a company, the one that wrote the book on corporate "processes" has actually done an outstanding job (through its FutureWorks team) of leaving a good thing alone. While P&G has direct involvement in the business (including some co-located P&G people), they've continued to allow MDVIP to operate somewhat independently, and have used the venture as a learning vehicle for expanding P&G's ability to launch and grow service-based businesses, especially in health care.