A Tale of Two Corporations — 3M and Kodak

— by Dan Wallace

At 3M, it is the best of times; at Kodak, the worst of times. This morning, stories by Kodak CMO Steven Overman and 3M Chief Design Officer Eric Quint set down bookends here at the IIR FUSE Brand Strategy & Design Conference in Chicago.

Mr. Quint’s challenge is to motivate cultural change within a successful $30 billion company that has 88,000 employees spread across the globe. Design at 3M has historically been viewed as an adjunct to technological innovation.  Mr. Quint is expanding the design role to emphasize B2B branding and business process optimization. CDO Quint showed evidence of progress this morning along with some carefully thought-out plans, which he fully admits could take years, even decades, to fully realize. Eric Quint is moving a human iceberg.

Mr. Overman is working on turning around Kodak, a company that was once the Apple Computer of its day. CMO Overman is less than a year into his role, and while he is short on case studies and concrete plans, he is filled with passion and ideas. Kodak is a poster child for technological disruption, a victim of iPhone's, Instagram and other free photographic options. Fighting fire with fire, Kodak is crowd-sourcing ideas to apply the company’s impressive yet little-known B2B technologies. In short, Steven Overman is working in a 127 year old starup.

Corporations can seem like enduring monoliths. It is easy to forget how fragile corporate success is, and how difficult it is to maintain. May the power of design win the day, for both 3M and Kodak

Dan Wallace develops products and is a marketing & brand consultant. He is co-authoring a book, “The Physics of Brand,” to be published by HOW in 2016. This blog post was written for the 15th annual FUSE Conference in Chicago, hosted by IIR. You can follow Dan on Twitter @ideafood.



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