Zomeworks corporation: design driven innovation

Yorgos Marinakis, Rainer Harms, Steven Thomas Walsh

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Zomeworks, a small-sized designer-manufacturer of passive solar energy products, is considering launching a new freeze-tolerant passive thermosiphon solar water heater. The firm’s target market analysis is based only on consumer economics. How can the firm design the product and select a target market in ways that implement a corporate strategy and a branding strategy? Should the product be targeted only at consumers living off the natural gas line in the United States, or should it also target green/“ethical” consumers, industrial users and emerging markets? Is Zomeworks the best firm to commercialize the product, or should it license out or spin off the product? The firm also has a successful battery enclosure product. Should it spin it off in order to mass produce it?Learning Objective: This case illustrates some of the difficulties encountered by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the renewable energy industry as it seeks to commercialize a new technology, such as product design, target markets and “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” It also illustrates the tendency of many SMEs to compete on quality rather than on brand. The case can be used in entrepreneurship courses focusing on technology; in marketing courses focusing on branding; and in public policy courses covering tax credits and subsidies in the cleantech or green industry. The case is most effective after reading the “Technology Epiphanies” chapter in Verganti’s book Design Driven Innovation (2009), as well as the Bower & Christensen (1995) and Holt (2003) articles listed in the teaching note. The “Technology Epiphanies” chapter covers the technology epiphany, a form of design-driven innovation that entails both radically new technology and radically new meaning (i.e., a new consumer value proposition). The Bower & Christensen article was the precursor to Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma. The Holt article covers the idea of a “brand icon” and the role of mythmaking in brands.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2014
EventResearch paper -
Duration: 3 Apr 2014 → …


ConferenceResearch paper
Period3/04/14 → …


  • IR-96352
  • METIS-308975


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