Background: Question – How to Grow? The world’s demand for fuels for transportation is rising as the global population become richer. Vast reserves of natural gas can now be tapped and monetized to useful fuel and refinery products by the technology for this transformation is still young and not demonstrated at scale.
Assignment: The assignment for a confidential client was to develop manufacturing, technical and commercial strategy to allow the client to access this growth market. The target was to develop best-in-class process technology as a competitive differentiator.
Process: A series of workshops were held to gather the market, commercial, technical and manufacturing information and clarify goals. A process was developed, with the business leadership, to identify the core elements of the strategy and identify the broad investment case. A final investment plan was produced and presented to management.
Results: Having developed technical and commercial vision, a series of technology projects drove the implementation of the plan. A strategic alliance project with technology partners was identified as a key vehicle for implementation.
Outcomes: The analysis provided the client with an investment case for the next 10-years which translated into a series of development lab, pilot and pre-commercial scale assets. A new market was entered bringing a steady stream of new customers, technologies, assets and skills to compete.
Importantly, growing a new business area requires different ways of working separate from existing business. The pace of change, investment needs a culture of growth within the technical and business community. These principles are outlined in The Ambidextrous Organization by Tushman and O’Rielly.
 Charles A. O’Reilly and Michael L. Tushman, “Winning Through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Change and Renewal”, 2002, Harvard Business School Press