Tokyo Electron Ltd.
Posted: 24 Jun 2009
Date Written: May 26, 2009
Tokyo Electron Ltd. operates in a constrained innovation environment, defined by modular boundaries that are long standing in the industry that it serves, the global semiconductor manufacturing industry. While the original motivation for these boundaries was division of labor and partitioning of a complex problem into manageable pieces, the company is now faced with a new innovation that crosses these boundaries and offers the opportunity to significantly improve the yield and performance of the manufacturing process. While the technical solution is straightforward, it is not clear that the company's customers are prepared to accept such a change because it would cross organizational lines that manufacturers have established for control purposes. The case frames the technical question and poses the organizational question.
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