Poggipolini S.p.A.: how can SMEs leverage innovation to grow their business?

December 10, 2021


This case focuses on the strategic decisions that Poggipolini SpA —a family-owned SME specializing in engineering and manufacturing high-precision mechanical components and special fasteners made with titanium and other exotic materials—had to face after the explosion of the financial crisis and a subsequent regulatory change that dramatically affected its core business1. Thanks to its unique expertise in the production and finishing of titanium products, Poggipolini was an official supplier for the Formula One and MotoGP markets, working with clients such as Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Brembo, Ducati and Aprilia. However, in 2010, a major regulatory change in Formula One led to a drastic reduction of over 60% of the company’s turnover, threatening its very survival. The case starts in this difficult year for the company and traces the complex strategic and organizational choices it needed to implement in order to recover from the crisis and find new growth opportunities. The core of the case is the need to define a strategic vision for the company to guide the renewal process. The challenge was finding new growth opportunities for the company and identifying an innovation strategy to guide the company’s actions in the short-, mid-, and long-term. This issue facilitates a diverse discussion about technologies and market domains. The case can be used as an opportunity to discuss and design a roadmapping process based on innovation to guide a company’s strategic evolution. Finally, the case enables a discussion about the company’s current competencies gaps and the pathways for implementing a new development program in terms of competency development and acquisition, mainly by leveraging Open Innovation approaches.

Target for Teaching

  • Technology and Innovation Management
  • Innovation Strategy

Target audience and Issues

The instructor can use the Poggipolini SpA case in Executive and MBA courses. This case was developed with an Executive MBA class in mind (or an Executive Program in Technology and Innovation Management), for a course focused on “Innovation Management”

Teaching objectives

The case can support different teaching objectives, depending on the course and the instructor’s teaching strategy. The main objectives that the case can support are:

  • Understand how a company’s strategic renewal can be driven by innovation choices;
  • Understand the main contents of a company’s Innovation Strategy and its role in guiding strategic changes, and how this should be relevant for not only large corporations, but also family-controlled SMEs;
  • Debate how company leaders should balance attention to and investments in both preserving current performance levels and nurturing new opportunities for growth.
This abstract is based on
Poggipolini SpA: How Can SMEs Leverage Innovation to Grow Their Business? | Case Study: Reference no. 321-0363-1| Teaching Note: Reference no. 321-0363-8