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Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

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Case Study Research

A case study is a research method that involves an in-depth examination and analysis of a particular phenomenon or case, such as an individual, organization, community, event, or situation.

It is a qualitative research approach that aims to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the case being studied. Case studies typically involve multiple sources of data, including interviews, observations, documents, and artifacts, which are analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, and grounded theory. The findings of a case study are often used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Types of Case Study

Types and Methods of Case Study are as follows:

Single-Case Study

A single-case study is an in-depth analysis of a single case. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand a specific phenomenon in detail.

For Example , A researcher might conduct a single-case study on a particular individual to understand their experiences with a particular health condition or a specific organization to explore their management practices. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a single-case study are often used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Multiple-Case Study

A multiple-case study involves the analysis of several cases that are similar in nature. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to identify similarities and differences between the cases.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a multiple-case study on several companies to explore the factors that contribute to their success or failure. The researcher collects data from each case, compares and contrasts the findings, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as comparative analysis or pattern-matching. The findings of a multiple-case study can be used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Exploratory Case Study

An exploratory case study is used to explore a new or understudied phenomenon. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to generate hypotheses or theories about the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an exploratory case study on a new technology to understand its potential impact on society. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as grounded theory or content analysis. The findings of an exploratory case study can be used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Descriptive Case Study

A descriptive case study is used to describe a particular phenomenon in detail. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to provide a comprehensive account of the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a descriptive case study on a particular community to understand its social and economic characteristics. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a descriptive case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Instrumental Case Study

An instrumental case study is used to understand a particular phenomenon that is instrumental in achieving a particular goal. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand the role of the phenomenon in achieving the goal.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an instrumental case study on a particular policy to understand its impact on achieving a particular goal, such as reducing poverty. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of an instrumental case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Case Study Data Collection Methods

Here are some common data collection methods for case studies:

Interviews involve asking questions to individuals who have knowledge or experience relevant to the case study. Interviews can be structured (where the same questions are asked to all participants) or unstructured (where the interviewer follows up on the responses with further questions). Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing.


Observations involve watching and recording the behavior and activities of individuals or groups relevant to the case study. Observations can be participant (where the researcher actively participates in the activities) or non-participant (where the researcher observes from a distance). Observations can be recorded using notes, audio or video recordings, or photographs.

Documents can be used as a source of information for case studies. Documents can include reports, memos, emails, letters, and other written materials related to the case study. Documents can be collected from the case study participants or from public sources.

Surveys involve asking a set of questions to a sample of individuals relevant to the case study. Surveys can be administered in person, over the phone, through mail or email, or online. Surveys can be used to gather information on attitudes, opinions, or behaviors related to the case study.

Artifacts are physical objects relevant to the case study. Artifacts can include tools, equipment, products, or other objects that provide insights into the case study phenomenon.

How to conduct Case Study Research

Conducting a case study research involves several steps that need to be followed to ensure the quality and rigor of the study. Here are the steps to conduct case study research:

  • Define the research questions: The first step in conducting a case study research is to define the research questions. The research questions should be specific, measurable, and relevant to the case study phenomenon under investigation.
  • Select the case: The next step is to select the case or cases to be studied. The case should be relevant to the research questions and should provide rich and diverse data that can be used to answer the research questions.
  • Collect data: Data can be collected using various methods, such as interviews, observations, documents, surveys, and artifacts. The data collection method should be selected based on the research questions and the nature of the case study phenomenon.
  • Analyze the data: The data collected from the case study should be analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, or grounded theory. The analysis should be guided by the research questions and should aim to provide insights and conclusions relevant to the research questions.
  • Draw conclusions: The conclusions drawn from the case study should be based on the data analysis and should be relevant to the research questions. The conclusions should be supported by evidence and should be clearly stated.
  • Validate the findings: The findings of the case study should be validated by reviewing the data and the analysis with participants or other experts in the field. This helps to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Write the report: The final step is to write the report of the case study research. The report should provide a clear description of the case study phenomenon, the research questions, the data collection methods, the data analysis, the findings, and the conclusions. The report should be written in a clear and concise manner and should follow the guidelines for academic writing.

Examples of Case Study

Here are some examples of case study research:

  • The Hawthorne Studies : Conducted between 1924 and 1932, the Hawthorne Studies were a series of case studies conducted by Elton Mayo and his colleagues to examine the impact of work environment on employee productivity. The studies were conducted at the Hawthorne Works plant of the Western Electric Company in Chicago and included interviews, observations, and experiments.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment: Conducted in 1971, the Stanford Prison Experiment was a case study conducted by Philip Zimbardo to examine the psychological effects of power and authority. The study involved simulating a prison environment and assigning participants to the role of guards or prisoners. The study was controversial due to the ethical issues it raised.
  • The Challenger Disaster: The Challenger Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. The study included interviews, observations, and analysis of data to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.
  • The Enron Scandal: The Enron Scandal was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Enron Corporation’s bankruptcy in 2001. The study included interviews, analysis of financial data, and review of documents to identify the accounting practices, corporate culture, and ethical issues that led to the company’s downfall.
  • The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster : The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011. The study included interviews, analysis of data, and review of documents to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.

Application of Case Study

Case studies have a wide range of applications across various fields and industries. Here are some examples:

Business and Management

Case studies are widely used in business and management to examine real-life situations and develop problem-solving skills. Case studies can help students and professionals to develop a deep understanding of business concepts, theories, and best practices.

Case studies are used in healthcare to examine patient care, treatment options, and outcomes. Case studies can help healthcare professionals to develop critical thinking skills, diagnose complex medical conditions, and develop effective treatment plans.

Case studies are used in education to examine teaching and learning practices. Case studies can help educators to develop effective teaching strategies, evaluate student progress, and identify areas for improvement.

Social Sciences

Case studies are widely used in social sciences to examine human behavior, social phenomena, and cultural practices. Case studies can help researchers to develop theories, test hypotheses, and gain insights into complex social issues.

Law and Ethics

Case studies are used in law and ethics to examine legal and ethical dilemmas. Case studies can help lawyers, policymakers, and ethical professionals to develop critical thinking skills, analyze complex cases, and make informed decisions.

Purpose of Case Study

The purpose of a case study is to provide a detailed analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. A case study is a qualitative research method that involves the in-depth exploration and analysis of a particular case, which can be an individual, group, organization, event, or community.

The primary purpose of a case study is to generate a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the case, including its history, context, and dynamics. Case studies can help researchers to identify and examine the underlying factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and detailed understanding of the case, which can inform future research, practice, or policy.

Case studies can also serve other purposes, including:

  • Illustrating a theory or concept: Case studies can be used to illustrate and explain theoretical concepts and frameworks, providing concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Developing hypotheses: Case studies can help to generate hypotheses about the causal relationships between different factors and outcomes, which can be tested through further research.
  • Providing insight into complex issues: Case studies can provide insights into complex and multifaceted issues, which may be difficult to understand through other research methods.
  • Informing practice or policy: Case studies can be used to inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.

Advantages of Case Study Research

There are several advantages of case study research, including:

  • In-depth exploration: Case study research allows for a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. This can provide a comprehensive understanding of the case and its dynamics, which may not be possible through other research methods.
  • Rich data: Case study research can generate rich and detailed data, including qualitative data such as interviews, observations, and documents. This can provide a nuanced understanding of the case and its complexity.
  • Holistic perspective: Case study research allows for a holistic perspective of the case, taking into account the various factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the case.
  • Theory development: Case study research can help to develop and refine theories and concepts by providing empirical evidence and concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Practical application: Case study research can inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.
  • Contextualization: Case study research takes into account the specific context in which the case is situated, which can help to understand how the case is influenced by the social, cultural, and historical factors of its environment.

Limitations of Case Study Research

There are several limitations of case study research, including:

  • Limited generalizability : Case studies are typically focused on a single case or a small number of cases, which limits the generalizability of the findings. The unique characteristics of the case may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, which may limit the external validity of the research.
  • Biased sampling: Case studies may rely on purposive or convenience sampling, which can introduce bias into the sample selection process. This may limit the representativeness of the sample and the generalizability of the findings.
  • Subjectivity: Case studies rely on the interpretation of the researcher, which can introduce subjectivity into the analysis. The researcher’s own biases, assumptions, and perspectives may influence the findings, which may limit the objectivity of the research.
  • Limited control: Case studies are typically conducted in naturalistic settings, which limits the control that the researcher has over the environment and the variables being studied. This may limit the ability to establish causal relationships between variables.
  • Time-consuming: Case studies can be time-consuming to conduct, as they typically involve a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific case. This may limit the feasibility of conducting multiple case studies or conducting case studies in a timely manner.
  • Resource-intensive: Case studies may require significant resources, including time, funding, and expertise. This may limit the ability of researchers to conduct case studies in resource-constrained settings.

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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How to write a case study — examples, templates, and tools

what is a case study in technology

It’s a marketer’s job to communicate the effectiveness of a product or service to potential and current customers to convince them to buy and keep business moving. One of the best methods for doing this is to share success stories that are relatable to prospects and customers based on their pain points, experiences, and overall needs.

That’s where case studies come in. Case studies are an essential part of a content marketing plan. These in-depth stories of customer experiences are some of the most effective at demonstrating the value of a product or service. Yet many marketers don’t use them, whether because of their regimented formats or the process of customer involvement and approval.

A case study is a powerful tool for showcasing your hard work and the success your customer achieved. But writing a great case study can be difficult if you’ve never done it before or if it’s been a while. This guide will show you how to write an effective case study and provide real-world examples and templates that will keep readers engaged and support your business.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is a case study?

How to write a case study, case study templates, case study examples, case study tools.

A case study is the detailed story of a customer’s experience with a product or service that demonstrates their success and often includes measurable outcomes. Case studies are used in a range of fields and for various reasons, from business to academic research. They’re especially impactful in marketing as brands work to convince and convert consumers with relatable, real-world stories of actual customer experiences.

The best case studies tell the story of a customer’s success, including the steps they took, the results they achieved, and the support they received from a brand along the way. To write a great case study, you need to:

  • Celebrate the customer and make them — not a product or service — the star of the story.
  • Craft the story with specific audiences or target segments in mind so that the story of one customer will be viewed as relatable and actionable for another customer.
  • Write copy that is easy to read and engaging so that readers will gain the insights and messages intended.
  • Follow a standardized format that includes all of the essentials a potential customer would find interesting and useful.
  • Support all of the claims for success made in the story with data in the forms of hard numbers and customer statements.

Case studies are a type of review but more in depth, aiming to show — rather than just tell — the positive experiences that customers have with a brand. Notably, 89% of consumers read reviews before deciding to buy, and 79% view case study content as part of their purchasing process. When it comes to B2B sales, 52% of buyers rank case studies as an important part of their evaluation process.

Telling a brand story through the experience of a tried-and-true customer matters. The story is relatable to potential new customers as they imagine themselves in the shoes of the company or individual featured in the case study. Showcasing previous customers can help new ones see themselves engaging with your brand in the ways that are most meaningful to them.

Besides sharing the perspective of another customer, case studies stand out from other content marketing forms because they are based on evidence. Whether pulling from client testimonials or data-driven results, case studies tend to have more impact on new business because the story contains information that is both objective (data) and subjective (customer experience) — and the brand doesn’t sound too self-promotional.

89% of consumers read reviews before buying, 79% view case studies, and 52% of B2B buyers prioritize case studies in the evaluation process.

Case studies are unique in that there’s a fairly standardized format for telling a customer’s story. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity. It’s all about making sure that teams are clear on the goals for the case study — along with strategies for supporting content and channels — and understanding how the story fits within the framework of the company’s overall marketing goals.

Here are the basic steps to writing a good case study.

1. Identify your goal

Start by defining exactly who your case study will be designed to help. Case studies are about specific instances where a company works with a customer to achieve a goal. Identify which customers are likely to have these goals, as well as other needs the story should cover to appeal to them.

The answer is often found in one of the buyer personas that have been constructed as part of your larger marketing strategy. This can include anything from new leads generated by the marketing team to long-term customers that are being pressed for cross-sell opportunities. In all of these cases, demonstrating value through a relatable customer success story can be part of the solution to conversion.

2. Choose your client or subject

Who you highlight matters. Case studies tie brands together that might otherwise not cross paths. A writer will want to ensure that the highlighted customer aligns with their own company’s brand identity and offerings. Look for a customer with positive name recognition who has had great success with a product or service and is willing to be an advocate.

The client should also match up with the identified target audience. Whichever company or individual is selected should be a reflection of other potential customers who can see themselves in similar circumstances, having the same problems and possible solutions.

Some of the most compelling case studies feature customers who:

  • Switch from one product or service to another while naming competitors that missed the mark.
  • Experience measurable results that are relatable to others in a specific industry.
  • Represent well-known brands and recognizable names that are likely to compel action.
  • Advocate for a product or service as a champion and are well-versed in its advantages.

Whoever or whatever customer is selected, marketers must ensure they have the permission of the company involved before getting started. Some brands have strict review and approval procedures for any official marketing or promotional materials that include their name. Acquiring those approvals in advance will prevent any miscommunication or wasted effort if there is an issue with their legal or compliance teams.

3. Conduct research and compile data

Substantiating the claims made in a case study — either by the marketing team or customers themselves — adds validity to the story. To do this, include data and feedback from the client that defines what success looks like. This can be anything from demonstrating return on investment (ROI) to a specific metric the customer was striving to improve. Case studies should prove how an outcome was achieved and show tangible results that indicate to the customer that your solution is the right one.

This step could also include customer interviews. Make sure that the people being interviewed are key stakeholders in the purchase decision or deployment and use of the product or service that is being highlighted. Content writers should work off a set list of questions prepared in advance. It can be helpful to share these with the interviewees beforehand so they have time to consider and craft their responses. One of the best interview tactics to keep in mind is to ask questions where yes and no are not natural answers. This way, your subject will provide more open-ended responses that produce more meaningful content.

4. Choose the right format

There are a number of different ways to format a case study. Depending on what you hope to achieve, one style will be better than another. However, there are some common elements to include, such as:

  • An engaging headline
  • A subject and customer introduction
  • The unique challenge or challenges the customer faced
  • The solution the customer used to solve the problem
  • The results achieved
  • Data and statistics to back up claims of success
  • A strong call to action (CTA) to engage with the vendor

It’s also important to note that while case studies are traditionally written as stories, they don’t have to be in a written format. Some companies choose to get more creative with their case studies and produce multimedia content, depending on their audience and objectives. Case study formats can include traditional print stories, interactive web or social content, data-heavy infographics, professionally shot videos, podcasts, and more.

5. Write your case study

We’ll go into more detail later about how exactly to write a case study, including templates and examples. Generally speaking, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your case study.

  • Be clear and concise. Readers want to get to the point of the story quickly and easily, and they’ll be looking to see themselves reflected in the story right from the start.
  • Provide a big picture. Always make sure to explain who the client is, their goals, and how they achieved success in a short introduction to engage the reader.
  • Construct a clear narrative. Stick to the story from the perspective of the customer and what they needed to solve instead of just listing product features or benefits.
  • Leverage graphics. Incorporating infographics, charts, and sidebars can be a more engaging and eye-catching way to share key statistics and data in readable ways.
  • Offer the right amount of detail. Most case studies are one or two pages with clear sections that a reader can skim to find the information most important to them.
  • Include data to support claims. Show real results — both facts and figures and customer quotes — to demonstrate credibility and prove the solution works.

6. Promote your story

Marketers have a number of options for distribution of a freshly minted case study. Many brands choose to publish case studies on their website and post them on social media. This can help support SEO and organic content strategies while also boosting company credibility and trust as visitors see that other businesses have used the product or service.

Marketers are always looking for quality content they can use for lead generation. Consider offering a case study as gated content behind a form on a landing page or as an offer in an email message. One great way to do this is to summarize the content and tease the full story available for download after the user takes an action.

Sales teams can also leverage case studies, so be sure they are aware that the assets exist once they’re published. Especially when it comes to larger B2B sales, companies often ask for examples of similar customer challenges that have been solved.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about case studies and what they should include, you may be wondering how to start creating great customer story content. Here are a couple of templates you can use to structure your case study.

Template 1 — Challenge-solution-result format

  • Start with an engaging title. This should be fewer than 70 characters long for SEO best practices. One of the best ways to approach the title is to include the customer’s name and a hint at the challenge they overcame in the end.
  • Create an introduction. Lead with an explanation as to who the customer is, the need they had, and the opportunity they found with a specific product or solution. Writers can also suggest the success the customer experienced with the solution they chose.
  • Present the challenge. This should be several paragraphs long and explain the problem the customer faced and the issues they were trying to solve. Details should tie into the company’s products and services naturally. This section needs to be the most relatable to the reader so they can picture themselves in a similar situation.
  • Share the solution. Explain which product or service offered was the ideal fit for the customer and why. Feel free to delve into their experience setting up, purchasing, and onboarding the solution.
  • Explain the results. Demonstrate the impact of the solution they chose by backing up their positive experience with data. Fill in with customer quotes and tangible, measurable results that show the effect of their choice.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that invites readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to nurture them further in the marketing pipeline. What you ask of the reader should tie directly into the goals that were established for the case study in the first place.

Template 2 — Data-driven format

  • Start with an engaging title. Be sure to include a statistic or data point in the first 70 characters. Again, it’s best to include the customer’s name as part of the title.
  • Create an overview. Share the customer’s background and a short version of the challenge they faced. Present the reason a particular product or service was chosen, and feel free to include quotes from the customer about their selection process.
  • Present data point 1. Isolate the first metric that the customer used to define success and explain how the product or solution helped to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 2. Isolate the second metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Present data point 3. Isolate the final metric that the customer used to define success and explain what the product or solution did to achieve this goal. Provide data points and quotes to substantiate the claim that success was achieved.
  • Summarize the results. Reiterate the fact that the customer was able to achieve success thanks to a specific product or service. Include quotes and statements that reflect customer satisfaction and suggest they plan to continue using the solution.
  • Ask for action. Include a CTA at the end of the case study that asks readers to reach out for more information, try a demo, or learn more — to further nurture them in the marketing pipeline. Again, remember that this is where marketers can look to convert their content into action with the customer.

While templates are helpful, seeing a case study in action can also be a great way to learn. Here are some examples of how Adobe customers have experienced success.

Juniper Networks

One example is the Adobe and Juniper Networks case study , which puts the reader in the customer’s shoes. The beginning of the story quickly orients the reader so that they know exactly who the article is about and what they were trying to achieve. Solutions are outlined in a way that shows Adobe Experience Manager is the best choice and a natural fit for the customer. Along the way, quotes from the client are incorporated to help add validity to the statements. The results in the case study are conveyed with clear evidence of scale and volume using tangible data.

A Lenovo case study showing statistics, a pull quote and featured headshot, the headline "The customer is king.," and Adobe product links.

The story of Lenovo’s journey with Adobe is one that spans years of planning, implementation, and rollout. The Lenovo case study does a great job of consolidating all of this into a relatable journey that other enterprise organizations can see themselves taking, despite the project size. This case study also features descriptive headers and compelling visual elements that engage the reader and strengthen the content.

Tata Consulting

When it comes to using data to show customer results, this case study does an excellent job of conveying details and numbers in an easy-to-digest manner. Bullet points at the start break up the content while also helping the reader understand exactly what the case study will be about. Tata Consulting used Adobe to deliver elevated, engaging content experiences for a large telecommunications client of its own — an objective that’s relatable for a lot of companies.

Case studies are a vital tool for any marketing team as they enable you to demonstrate the value of your company’s products and services to others. They help marketers do their job and add credibility to a brand trying to promote its solutions by using the experiences and stories of real customers.

When you’re ready to get started with a case study:

  • Think about a few goals you’d like to accomplish with your content.
  • Make a list of successful clients that would be strong candidates for a case study.
  • Reach out to the client to get their approval and conduct an interview.
  • Gather the data to present an engaging and effective customer story.

Adobe can help

There are several Adobe products that can help you craft compelling case studies. Adobe Experience Platform helps you collect data and deliver great customer experiences across every channel. Once you’ve created your case studies, Experience Platform will help you deliver the right information to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.

To learn more, watch the Adobe Experience Platform story .

Keep in mind that the best case studies are backed by data. That’s where Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Analytics come into play. With Real-Time CDP, you can gather the data you need to build a great case study and target specific customers to deliver the content to the right audience at the perfect moment.

Watch the Real-Time CDP overview video to learn more.

Finally, Adobe Analytics turns real-time data into real-time insights. It helps your business collect and synthesize data from multiple platforms to make more informed decisions and create the best case study possible.

Request a demo to learn more about Adobe Analytics.




Business growth

Marketing tips

16 case study examples (+ 3 templates to make your own)

Hero image with an icon representing a case study

I like to think of case studies as a business's version of a resume. It highlights what the business can do, lends credibility to its offer, and contains only the positive bullet points that paint it in the best light possible.

Imagine if the guy running your favorite taco truck followed you home so that he could "really dig into how that burrito changed your life." I see the value in the practice. People naturally prefer a tried-and-true burrito just as they prefer tried-and-true products or services.

To help you showcase your success and flesh out your burrito questionnaire, I've put together some case study examples and key takeaways.

What is a case study?

A case study is an in-depth analysis of how your business, product, or service has helped past clients. It can be a document, a webpage, or a slide deck that showcases measurable, real-life results.

For example, if you're a SaaS company, you can analyze your customers' results after a few months of using your product to measure its effectiveness. You can then turn this analysis into a case study that further proves to potential customers what your product can do and how it can help them overcome their challenges.

It changes the narrative from "I promise that we can do X and Y for you" to "Here's what we've done for businesses like yours, and we can do it for you, too."

16 case study examples 

While most case studies follow the same structure, quite a few try to break the mold and create something unique. Some businesses lean heavily on design and presentation, while others pursue a detailed, stat-oriented approach. Some businesses try to mix both.

There's no set formula to follow, but I've found that the best case studies utilize impactful design to engage readers and leverage statistics and case details to drive the point home. A case study typically highlights the companies, the challenges, the solution, and the results. The examples below will help inspire you to do it, too.

1. .css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class]{all:unset;box-sizing:border-box;-webkit-text-fill-color:currentColor;cursor:pointer;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class]{all:unset;box-sizing:border-box;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;cursor:pointer;-webkit-transition:all 300ms ease-in-out;transition:all 300ms ease-in-out;outline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-fill-color:currentColor;outline:1px solid transparent;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='ocean']{color:#3d4592;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='ocean']:hover{color:#2b2358;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='ocean']:focus{color:#3d4592;outline-color:#3d4592;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='white']{color:#fffdf9;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='white']:hover{color:#a8a5a0;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='white']:focus{color:#fffdf9;outline-color:#fffdf9;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='primary']{color:#3d4592;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='primary']:hover{color:#2b2358;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='primary']:focus{color:#3d4592;outline-color:#3d4592;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='secondary']{color:#fffdf9;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='secondary']:hover{color:#a8a5a0;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-color='secondary']:focus{color:#fffdf9;outline-color:#fffdf9;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-weight='inherit']{font-weight:inherit;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-weight='normal']{font-weight:400;}.css-1l9i3yq-Link[class][class][class][class][class][data-weight='bold']{font-weight:700;} Volcanica Coffee and AdRoll

On top of a background of coffee beans, a block of text with percentage growth statistics for how AdRoll nitro-fueled Volcanica coffee.

People love a good farm-to-table coffee story, and boy am I one of them. But I've shared this case study with you for more reasons than my love of coffee. I enjoyed this study because it was written as though it was a letter.

In this case study, the founder of Volcanica Coffee talks about the journey from founding the company to personally struggling with learning and applying digital marketing to finding and enlisting AdRoll's services.

It felt more authentic, less about AdRoll showcasing their worth and more like a testimonial from a grateful and appreciative client. After the story, the case study wraps up with successes, milestones, and achievements. Note that quite a few percentages are prominently displayed at the top, providing supporting evidence that backs up an inspiring story.

Takeaway: Highlight your goals and measurable results to draw the reader in and provide concise, easily digestible information.

2. Taylor Guitars and Airtable

Screenshot of the Taylor Guitars and Airtable case study, with the title: Taylor Guitars brings more music into the world with Airtable

This Airtable case study on Taylor Guitars comes as close as one can to an optimal structure. It features a video that represents the artistic nature of the client, highlighting key achievements and dissecting each element of Airtable's influence.

It also supplements each section with a testimonial or quote from the client, using their insights as a catalyst for the case study's narrative. For example, the case study quotes the social media manager and project manager's insights regarding team-wide communication and access before explaining in greater detail.

Takeaway: Highlight pain points your business solves for its client, and explore that influence in greater detail.

3. EndeavourX and Figma

Screenshot of the Endeavour and Figma case study, showing a bulleted list about why EndeavourX chose Figma followed by an image of EndeavourX's workspace on Figma

My favorite part of Figma's case study is highlighting why EndeavourX chose its solution. You'll notice an entire section on what Figma does for teams and then specifically for EndeavourX.

It also places a heavy emphasis on numbers and stats. The study, as brief as it is, still manages to pack in a lot of compelling statistics about what's possible with Figma.

Takeaway: Showcase the "how" and "why" of your product's differentiators and how they benefit your customers.

4. ActiveCampaign and Zapier

Screenshot of Zapier's case study with ActiveCampaign, showing three data visualizations on purple backgrounds

Zapier's case study leans heavily on design, using graphics to present statistics and goals in a manner that not only remains consistent with the branding but also actively pushes it forward, drawing users' eyes to the information most important to them. 

The graphics, emphasis on branding elements, and cause/effect style tell the story without requiring long, drawn-out copy that risks boring readers. Instead, the cause and effect are concisely portrayed alongside the client company's information for a brief and easily scannable case study.

Takeaway: Lean on design to call attention to the most important elements of your case study, and make sure it stays consistent with your branding.

5. Ironclad and OpenAI

Screenshot of a video from the Ironclad and OpenAI case study showing the Ironclad AI Assist feature

In true OpenAI fashion, this case study is a block of text. There's a distinct lack of imagery, but the study features a narrated video walking readers through the product.

The lack of imagery and color may not be the most inviting, but utilizing video format is commendable. It helps thoroughly communicate how OpenAI supported Ironclad in a way that allows the user to sit back, relax, listen, and be impressed. 

Takeaway: Get creative with the media you implement in your case study. Videos can be a very powerful addition when a case study requires more detailed storytelling.

6. Shopify and GitHub

Screenshot of the Shopify and GitHub case study, with the title "Shopify keeps pushing ecommerce forward with help from GitHub tools," followed by a photo of a plant and a Shopify bag on a table on a dark background

GitHub's case study on Shopify is a light read. It addresses client pain points and discusses the different aspects its product considers and improves for clients. It touches on workflow issues, internal systems, automation, and security. It does a great job of representing what one company can do with GitHub.

To drive the point home, the case study features colorful quote callouts from the Shopify team, sharing their insights and perspectives on the partnership, the key issues, and how they were addressed.

Takeaway: Leverage quotes to boost the authoritativeness and trustworthiness of your case study. 

7 . Audible and Contentful

Screenshot of the Audible and Contentful case study showing images of titles on Audible

Contentful's case study on Audible features almost every element a case study should. It includes not one but two videos and clearly outlines the challenge, solution, and outcome before diving deeper into what Contentful did for Audible. The language is simple, and the writing is heavy with quotes and personal insights.

This case study is a uniquely original experience. The fact that the companies in question are perhaps two of the most creative brands out there may be the reason. I expected nothing short of a detailed analysis, a compelling story, and video content. 

Takeaway: Inject some brand voice into the case study, and create assets that tell the story for you.

8 . Zoom and Asana

Screenshot of Zoom and Asana's case study on a navy blue background and an image of someone sitting on a Zoom call at a desk with the title "Zoom saves 133 work weeks per year with Asana"

Asana's case study on Zoom is longer than the average piece and features detailed data on Zoom's growth since 2020. Instead of relying on imagery and graphics, it features several quotes and testimonials. 

It's designed to be direct, informative, and promotional. At some point, the case study reads more like a feature list. There were a few sections that felt a tad too promotional for my liking, but to each their own burrito.

Takeaway: Maintain a balance between promotional and informative. You want to showcase the high-level goals your product helped achieve without losing the reader.

9 . Hickies and Mailchimp

Screenshot of the Hickies and Mailchimp case study with the title in a fun orange font, followed by a paragraph of text and a photo of a couple sitting on a couch looking at each other and smiling

I've always been a fan of Mailchimp's comic-like branding, and this case study does an excellent job of sticking to their tradition of making information easy to understand, casual, and inviting.

It features a short video that briefly covers Hickies as a company and Mailchimp's efforts to serve its needs for customer relationships and education processes. Overall, this case study is a concise overview of the partnership that manages to convey success data and tell a story at the same time. What sets it apart is that it does so in a uniquely colorful and brand-consistent manner.

Takeaway: Be concise to provide as much value in as little text as possible.

10. NVIDIA and Workday

Screenshot of NVIDIA and Workday's case study with a photo of a group of people standing around a tall desk and smiling and the title "NVIDIA hires game changers"

The gaming industry is notoriously difficult to recruit for, as it requires a very specific set of skills and experience. This case study focuses on how Workday was able to help fill that recruitment gap for NVIDIA, one of the biggest names in the gaming world.

Though it doesn't feature videos or graphics, this case study stood out to me in how it structures information like "key products used" to give readers insight into which tools helped achieve these results.

Takeaway: If your company offers multiple products or services, outline exactly which ones were involved in your case study, so readers can assess each tool.

11. KFC and Contentful

Screenshot of KFC and Contentful's case study showing the outcome of the study, showing two stats: 43% increase in YoY digital sales and 50%+ increase in AU digital sales YoY

I'm personally not a big KFC fan, but that's only because I refuse to eat out of a bucket. My aversion to the bucket format aside, Contentful follows its consistent case study format in this one, outlining challenges, solutions, and outcomes before diving into the nitty-gritty details of the project.

Say what you will about KFC, but their primary product (chicken) does present a unique opportunity for wordplay like "Continuing to march to the beat of a digital-first drum(stick)" or "Delivering deep-fried goodness to every channel."

Takeaway: Inject humor into your case study if there's room for it and if it fits your brand. 

12. Intuit and Twilio

Screenshot of the Intuit and Twilio case study on a dark background with three small, light green icons illustrating three important data points

Twilio does an excellent job of delivering achievements at the very beginning of the case study and going into detail in this two-minute read. While there aren't many graphics, the way quotes from the Intuit team are implemented adds a certain flair to the study and breaks up the sections nicely.

It's simple, concise, and manages to fit a lot of information in easily digestible sections.

Takeaway: Make sure each section is long enough to inform but brief enough to avoid boring readers. Break down information for each section, and don't go into so much detail that you lose the reader halfway through.

13. Spotify and Salesforce

Screenshot of Spotify and Salesforce's case study showing a still of a video with the title "Automation keeps Spotify's ad business growing year over year"

Salesforce created a video that accurately summarizes the key points of the case study. Beyond that, the page itself is very light on content, and sections are as short as one paragraph.

I especially like how information is broken down into "What you need to know," "Why it matters," and "What the difference looks like." I'm not ashamed of being spoon-fed information. When it's structured so well and so simply, it makes for an entertaining read.

Takeaway: Invest in videos that capture and promote your partnership with your case study subject. Video content plays a promotional role that extends beyond the case study in social media and marketing initiatives .

14. Benchling and Airtable

Screenshot of the Benchling and Airtable case study with the title: How Benchling achieves scientific breakthroughs via efficiency

Benchling is an impressive entity in its own right. Biotech R&D and health care nuances go right over my head. But the research and digging I've been doing in the name of these burritos (case studies) revealed that these products are immensely complex. 

And that's precisely why this case study deserves a read—it succeeds at explaining a complex project that readers outside the industry wouldn't know much about.

Takeaway: Simplify complex information, and walk readers through the company's operations and how your business helped streamline them.

15. Chipotle and Hubble

Screenshot of the Chipotle and Hubble case study with the title "Mexican food chain replaces Discoverer with Hubble and sees major efficiency improvements," followed by a photo of the outside of a Chipotle restaurant

The concision of this case study is refreshing. It features two sections—the challenge and the solution—all in 316 words. This goes to show that your case study doesn't necessarily need to be a four-figure investment with video shoots and studio time. 

Sometimes, the message is simple and short enough to convey in a handful of paragraphs.

Takeaway: Consider what you should include instead of what you can include. Assess the time, resources, and effort you're able and willing to invest in a case study, and choose which elements you want to include from there.

16. Hudl and Zapier

Screenshot of Hudl and Zapier's case study, showing data visualizations at the bottom, two photos of people playing sports on the top right , and a quote from the Hudl team on the topleft

I may be biased, but I'm a big fan of seeing metrics and achievements represented in branded graphics. It can be a jarring experience to navigate a website, then visit a case study page and feel as though you've gone to a completely different website.

The Zapier format provides nuggets of high-level insights, milestones, and achievements, as well as the challenge, solution, and results. My favorite part of this case study is how it's supplemented with a blog post detailing how Hudl uses Zapier automation to build a seamless user experience.

The case study is essentially the summary, and the blog article is the detailed analysis that provides context beyond X achievement or Y goal.

Takeaway: Keep your case study concise and informative. Create other resources to provide context under your blog, media or press, and product pages.

3 case study templates

Now that you've had your fill of case studies (if that's possible), I've got just what you need: an infinite number of case studies, which you can create yourself with these case study templates.

Case study template 1

Screenshot of Zapier's first case study template, with the title and three spots for data callouts at the top on a light peach-colored background, followed by a place to write the main success of the case study on a dark green background

If you've got a quick hit of stats you want to show off, try this template. The opening section gives space for a short summary and three visually appealing stats you can highlight, followed by a headline and body where you can break the case study down more thoroughly. This one's pretty simple, with only sections for solutions and results, but you can easily continue the formatting to add more sections as needed.

Case study template 2

Screenshot of Zapier's second case study template, with the title, objectives, and overview on a dark blue background with an orange strip in the middle with a place to write the main success of the case study

For a case study template with a little more detail, use this one. Opening with a striking cover page for a quick overview, this one goes on to include context, stakeholders, challenges, multiple quote callouts, and quick-hit stats. 

Case study template 3

Screenshot of Zapier's third case study template, with the places for title, objectives, and about the business on a dark green background followed by three spots for data callouts in orange boxes

Whether you want a little structural variation or just like a nice dark green, this template has similar components to the last template but is designed to help tell a story. Move from the client overview through a description of your company before getting to the details of how you fixed said company's problems.

Tips for writing a case study

Examples are all well and good, but you don't learn how to make a burrito just by watching tutorials on YouTube without knowing what any of the ingredients are. You could , but it probably wouldn't be all that good.

Writing a good case study comes down to a mix of creativity, branding, and the capacity to invest in the project. With those details in mind, here are some case study tips to follow:

Have an objective: Define your objective by identifying the challenge, solution, and results. Assess your work with the client and focus on the most prominent wins. You're speaking to multiple businesses and industries through the case study, so make sure you know what you want to say to them.

Focus on persuasive data: Growth percentages and measurable results are your best friends. Extract your most compelling data and highlight it in your case study.

Use eye-grabbing graphics: Branded design goes a long way in accurately representing your brand and retaining readers as they review the study. Leverage unique and eye-catching graphics to keep readers engaged. 

Simplify data presentation: Some industries are more complex than others, and sometimes, data can be difficult to understand at a glance. Make sure you present your data in the simplest way possible. Make it concise, informative, and easy to understand.

Use automation to drive results for your case study

A case study example is a source of inspiration you can leverage to determine how to best position your brand's work. Find your unique angle, and refine it over time to help your business stand out. Ask anyone: the best burrito in town doesn't just appear at the number one spot. They find their angle (usually the house sauce) and leverage it to stand out.

In fact, with the right technology, it can be refined to work better . Explore how Zapier's automation features can help drive results for your case study by making your case study a part of a developed workflow that creates a user journey through your website, your case studies, and into the pipeline.

Case study FAQ

Got your case study template? Great—it's time to gather the team for an awkward semi-vague data collection task. While you do that, here are some case study quick answers for you to skim through while you contemplate what to call your team meeting.

What is an example of a case study?

An example of a case study is when a software company analyzes its results from a client project and creates a webpage, presentation, or document that focuses on high-level results, challenges, and solutions in an attempt to showcase effectiveness and promote the software.

How do you write a case study?

To write a good case study, you should have an objective, identify persuasive and compelling data, leverage graphics, and simplify data. Case studies typically include an analysis of the challenge, solution, and results of the partnership.

What is the format of a case study?

While case studies don't have a set format, they're often portrayed as reports or essays that inform readers about the partnership and its results. 

Related reading:

How Hudl uses automation to create a seamless user experience

How to make your case studies high-stakes—and why it matters

How experts write case studies that convert, not bore

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Hachem Ramki

Hachem is a writer and digital marketer from Montreal. After graduating with a degree in English, Hachem spent seven years traveling around the world before moving to Canada. When he's not writing, he enjoys Basketball, Dungeons and Dragons, and playing music for friends and family.

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what is a case study in technology

How to write the perfect tech case study

Case studies are an excellent way for tech brands to demonstrate their value and attract fresh prospects. But to get results, you need to make sure it is written in a way that makes it readable and actionable. Learn how here.

The tech case study works as a multi-purpose piece of content.

It's a digital marketing tool that also boosts your brand, builds and reinforces customer relationships, and provides proof of your product’s effectiveness. But it can only do these things if you put it together in the right way.

The perfect tech case study combines a compelling, storytelling structure with useful data, customer testimonials, and a clear call to action.

Selecting a subject for your case study

First, you need to choose which case study to write up.

But how to choose? You need a case study with the right outcome and evidence, obviously. But also consider what type of customer it involves and how they compare with the audience you want to target. Ideally, the customer you’ve helped will have something in common with the prospective customer you want to attract.

Always think strategically. Yes, it’s important to focus on a satisfied customer and a good outcome, but how can you use these elements as effective leverage in your case study?

Lastly, but importantly, make sure you have the customer's approval if you're going to publish details about the work you've done for them. Otherwise, if you have to leave too much information out, the finished content can be too vague to appear convincing.

How to structure your case study

The name, case study, is deceptive. It sounds like it should be something a bit dry and matter of fact. Don’t fall into this trap.

In crime fiction , whether in books, films or television, the narrative usually centres on a case. Yes, it will contain evidence, but presented in such a way as to drive the story forward and suck you into the plot.

Bear this in mind when you structure your case study.

Here are the four chief elements:

What does a crime story begin with? A crime. Similarly, start your tech case study by outlining the problem.

What was the issue that your client was looking to solve? Look for the most dramatic angle here. If, for example, they needed an app to make certain processes more efficient, what were the consequences of not having this?

Were they losing their market share to competitors, or finding their margins eroding?

Next is the discovery stage. The detective work. How did you investigate the issue? What insights did this investigation provide?

This stuff is vital because it demonstrates your methodology and how you empathise with your customers.

Then you come to the solution. What did you develop that would solve the customer’s problem? How did you do it and were there any obstacles you needed to overcome?

Obstacles are good for adding drama to the narrative. Think back to the detective story comparison. There's always a degree of uncertainty and jeopardy that the protagonist experiences while solving the case.

Finally, there's the outcome. Ideally, you need more than a satisfied customer here. You want this to be something that resonates. Did your solution save them money, or enable them to invest in fresh talent or equipment? How did it improve their standing in the marketplace?

The outcome and legacy provide proof of the effectiveness of your product or service.

Making your case study more dramatic

There are plenty of examples of successful films that begin with the ending . Some screenwriters favour this approach because it provides an instant hook for the viewer. It also builds anticipation from the outset.

You can apply this structure to a case study:

  • How company x became a market leader in y
  • How this app helped company x save thousands in lost revenue
  • Why company x has been able to invest in tech apprenticeships.

Begin with the legacy, even including it in the title of your case study. Then go back to the beginning to explain the problem and how you helped your customer overcome it.

How important is data?

Including data adds meat to the bones of your case study.

If you can provide figures to show how much money your tech solution has saved a customer, for example, then this offers excellent supporting evidence.

Where you can run into difficulties is if the customer doesn’t want to reveal this information.

Confidentiality is crucial for some companies, but it doesn’t have to hamper your case study.

Remember, if you can't publish figures, you shouldn’t over-compensate by padding out the story.

You can still make the business case for your solution, and for many prospects, this will still be highly relatable. Always highlight the problem and shape it in terms that have an appeal beyond the specific customer you helped.

Why should you include testimonials?

Quotes from the customer add an extra element of proof to your case study.

Providing you select these carefully, they can also help the reader empathise more strongly with the customer and their issues.

This is a critical aspect of writing a tech case study. You want the reader to see things from the customer’s viewpoint. Ultimately, they should see how you could help them in the same way you've helped the customer in the case study.

Try to encourage your customer to give testimonials that have some detail and go beyond stating how good you’ve been. You don’t want them to come across as vanity elements that detract from the credibility of your case study.

Your call to action

This is the bit where you step out of the narrative and address your audience directly.

Once you’ve gone to the effort of piecing together your case study, you must maximise its effectiveness.

You can’t do this unless you’re clear about what you want your reader to do once they’ve read it.

It provides a natural end to your story but should plant the seed of suggestion in the minds of your audience that they can find out more about your work and how it might benefit them.

Be bold, and consider adding a call to action earlier in the case study, after your introductory paragraphs.

Your case study shouldn’t be simply a routine piece of content, but something that will support you strategically. Writing it requires a considered, professional approach to maximise its impact.

How can you transform your content into effective tools for marketing and brand building? Talk to the Prize Content team.

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Engineering LibreTexts

12: Case Study on Nanotechnology

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Here we delve into a case study on nanotechnology which is an ancient technology as well as a cutting-edge modern technology. This contradiction is exactly why this is an interesting case study for learning what engineering (and science) is all about.

This section is meant to be accompanied with an inexpensive textbook. Fortunately wikibooks has such a textbook (free): The Opensource Handbook of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

This book is an excellent if a bit incomplete introduction (for an engineer or scientist) to nanotechnology. Some of the topics however might be overly advanced for an introduction to engineering class, so in this section nanotechnology will be reviewed with an assumption that the student will use the textbook above (or another one of their choice) to supplement. This section is not meant to take more than a week in an actually instructive setting.

What is naontechnology?

To begin with let us do another class discussion that asks the question: What is nanotechnology? Discuss before looking at some answers.

Carbon allotropes

Because "buckyballs" are the start of the modern revival of nanotechnology (at least from a media point of view) let us go over some of carbon allotropes that are making headlines.

While nanotechnology is an old technology, a new modern revival of the technology came about with discovery of C 60 or the Buckminsterfullerene (buckyball) named after Buckminster Fuller because of his penchant for building geodesic domes. Why geodesic domes? Because these domes are based off the Platonic solids 3 and C 60 is a truncated icosahedron (one of the Platonic solids).

C 60 were produced in 1985 during an experiment to help understand certain carbon molecules that might have been generated in space. Why do such an experiment? Because most stars have debris surrounding them with carbon in it and some have very long chains that are of interest to astronomers. Hence the experiment. The actual generation of C 60 was not intended but serendipity. From an engineering and science point of view, the analysis after the experiment was the real research because C 60 was identified through analysis after the experiment that did not aim to produce them or even know of their existence.

The buckyball is now considered a part of the fullerene family. An outline of facts about buckyballs:

  • Truncated Icosahedron (like a Telstar football or "a soccer ball circa 1970s")
  • 0.7 nm in diameter with a spacing of about 1 nm between adjacent buckyballs
  • Can be made into a superconductor
  • Offshoot studies led to the discovery of the carbon nanotube (next topic)
  • Has been detected in burning candles (a modern addition to Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle , yes?)
  • Stacked buckyballs
  • A huge amount, not miniscule
  • The most massive particle to show wave-particle duality ( Nature 1999 )

There are many articles about buckyballs and interesting uses of buckyballs (though some are totally false, so be careful! See Understanding ). In this brief review though we will move onto the carbon nanotube as there have been actual products developed from this fullerene. That's not to say that buckyballs will never have products produced from them, there time just hasn't come yet.

Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes were first observed in 1991 and produced in 1992. Because of this discovery interest in buckyball technology shifted to these nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are like an individual layer of graphite (which is now called graphene) that is wrapped around to meet end to end. An outline of facts about carbon nanotubes:

  • Extremely strong
  • Known as buckytubes at one time
  • Science in making the sabers but serendipity that CNTs were involved (just like bread making, etc.)
  • Modern techniques make better sabers, but at the time they were the best (and their legend lives on)
  • Varying diameters from 1 nm to 100 nm and can in theory be as long as you desire, but in practice not so long (yet)
  • Good conductor of electricity
  • Or can be a semiconductor
  • Called (carbon) nanowires when discussing electrical properties (note: this is not the only type of nanowire)
  • Single-walled (SWCNT or SWNT) and multi-walled (MWCNT or MWNT)
  • Buckypaper offers many possible applications, but still is in its infancy
  • GSFC/NASA continues their groundbreaking work on carbon nanotube technology
  • CNT has been tested for such diverse ideas such as water filtration, supercapacitors, heat shields, etc.

A great way to look at nanotubes is to get a piece of chicken wire (plastic preferably) and cut out a rectangle (at this point you have graphene) and wrap it around (nanotube). You can do this at home which is way better then a flat screen simulation and definitely inexpensive.

Different wraps of graphene can produce different properties for carbon nanotubes. That is, depending on how you wrap the nanotube you can have metallic nanotubes or semiconductor nanotubes (or at this point you might want to call it a nanowire). Note that the ends of the wrap which normally don't have a cap in our representations represents the end of the nanotube itself.

There are two other possible wraps for the carbon nanotube and that is the chiral wraps. Chiral CNTs are stereoisomers and are mostly semiconductors.

For carbon nanotubes we can define a coordinate system that has unit vectors that help us describe the armchair, zig-zag, and chiral nanotubes.

Unit vectors on the hexagonal chicken wire that represents our graphene layer.

Using the unit vectors (\(\vec{e_1}\) and \(\vec{e_2}\)) defined in the figure above we can write an equation that describes the various nanotubes as \(m \vec{e_1} + n \vec{e_2}\) where m and n are integers and \(m+n \ge 2\). Given this equation if m or n equal zero then we have a zig-zag CNT (semiconductor), if m=n we have an armchair CNT (metallic), and otherwise it is chiral CNT. In general chiral CNTs are semiconductors but if \(\lvert (m-n)\rvert \) is a multiple of 3 then it is metallic 4 .

Fullerene research is just at its infancy and there will be more to discover which will include its share of disappointments, but that is science.

So what about that sheet of graphite we discussed above? A single sheet of graphite is called graphene. Through studies of the laminar nature of graphite oxide starting as early as the 1860s where chemist Benjamin Brodie produced thin layers of the crystal which he studied and was able to get atomic weight of graphite. Studies on this structure continued with every thinner layers which had high strength and noteworthy optical properties. In 1947, physicist's P. R. Wallace produced a theoretical framework for graphene in order to understand the electronic properties of graphite. Work continued on thin layers of graphite both experimentally and theoretically with some work possibly being on graphene (there would be no way to distinguish between one and a few layers of graphite). In 1961 chemist Hanns-Peter Boehm reported on very thin layers of graphite flacks and called a single layer of graphite, "graphene." The term would be revived in the late 1990s when disscussing carbon nanotubes. Finally in 2004, physicists' Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated and characterized free-standing graphene. And this is when things got interesting...

In the following outline we will list some properties of graphene that can possibly lead to exciting new products or are just very interesting scientifically:

  • Single atom thickness (carbon)
  • Normally a semiconductor has a greater than zero band gap and it is metals you would expect to have no band gap
  • That is the graphene actual absorbs light (over 2%)
  • This feature mean you can actual "see" graphene in certain conditions
  • Graphene's strong interaction with photons maybe useable for nanophotonics
  • Graphene is theoretically an excellent material for spintronics due to carbon coupling and long spin lifetimes (theory)
  • Lightest strongest material with large tensile strength
  • Small spring constant (flexible)
  • Very robust
  • But it has a impressive ability to distribute the force of an impact
  • This allows it to bend like metals
  • Graphene has high surface area to mass ratio (almost goes without saying) which could make it good for supercapacitors (instead of the currently favored idea of activated carbon)
  • Can by used for energy storage, filtration, and other applications

That was just a few of the interesting properties of graphene. But this is not the last word on nanotechology as up and coming new technology includes the hexogonal Boron Nitrite (h-BN) that has just as many interesting properties as graphene. And we can go even further with combining fullerenes, graphene, and h-BN. Already combining graphene with CNTs has produced interesting research avenues as well as graphene with bismuth nanowires and graphene with h-BN (hexagonal Boron Nitrite).

So let us move on to discussing nanotechnology in more general way to give just a brief overview.

Nanotechnology by discipline

Nanotechnology spans multiple engineering disciplines which we will list briefly below. For electrical engineering the processes of making integrated circuits (ICs) has been in the nanotechnology range for decades, but new techniques are possible with nanotechnology elements.

  • Bionanosensors
  • Utilizing natures nanotechnology (like mRNA for vaccines, etc.)
  • Nanofoods (nano-manipulation of food to improve taste, texture, etc.)
  • Nanopackaging (using nanomaterials to improve packaging)
  • Nanomembranes (for filtering)
  • Nanocatalysts (for water remediation)
  • Nanocoating (including CNT coating)
  • Nanosurface protection (including uses of CNT mechanical properties)
  • Quantum dots
  • Lithography (been at nano-level for a long time)
  • DNA nanoarray
  • Nanowires or nanosemiconductors
  • Nano-optics

The outline above is just a taste of nanotechology and how it effects a number of engineering disciplines.

There are three different areas of research in nanotechnology which usually are the domain of different disciplines.

  • Liquid environment
  • Usually biological
  • Filters (CNT) and example of cross-over technology
  • Silicon and other inorganic materials
  • Metals, semiconductors
  • Too reactive so they can't operate in wet conditions
  • This should be in addition to actual experimentation and prototyping
  • While this is important and could produce some excellent product or insight, it still has to be verified experimentally
  • So don't get excited until the process is complete
  • This is required to fully understand nanotechnology

What is so exciting about Nanotechnology?

The physical rules of the "macro" world are relevant all they way down to the microscopic level, but things change when you pass into the nano realm. Surface effects, chemical effects, optical effects, and physical effects are different in the nanoscale when compared to the macro or micro scale.

  • Stain resistant clothes
  • Sweat absorbing clothes
  • Antimicrobial socks
  • New exciting discoveries await
  • However, disappointments await as well
  • This is the nature of research
  • Is some money going to be wasted? Yes that is the nature of searching for things. "Failure" is an integral part of engineering and science. We want success but we want to progress as well and that means some failures
  • Can we predict where our money should go? Yes and no. Simulations can give us clues, but it is not a perfect solution
  • Should we only do research that is proven out by a simulation? No, but we should not ignore the contribution of simulation

Understanding the different effects at the nanolevel requires an understanding of physics. For engineers and scientists this is why physics is essential. Some ideas require a graduate level physics background, but even with a calculus-based physics understanding the ideas behind nanotechnology become clearer. Simulations are going to require graduate school level education.

  • Scaling laws
  • Transport phenomena
  • Hartree-Fock (computational physics - approximation method for wave functions)
  • Hydrophobic and hydrophilic
  • Diffusion, transport in all dimensions

Practical ways to do Nanotechnology

How do you go about making something in nanotechnology? There are two methods

  • Building nanotechnology using larger elements
  • Primary method in manufacturing at present
  • No atomic-level control
  • ​​​​​​State of photolithography for a couple of decade
  • Laser is a larger element producing smaller nano-element
  • Build from molecular components
  • Static self-assembly utilizes nature to reach minimum free energy
  • Dynamic self-assembly requires energy to force a solution
  • That is components assemble themselves based off of a code
  • What in nature might be used as a model for this?
  • What are some problematic issues with using this method?

The answer to our coding is DNA which we discussed at the start of this chapter.

DNA is a coding device that is used in nature, but some have proven it can be used by humans. DNA is nanometer in size. Let us view a TED Talk by Paul Rothemund explaining his creation of DNA faces.

Note that the method described here is not the only method people are researching. You can go to the Rothemund Lab web page (under research) to get links to other researchers in the field.

Nanotechnology Examples

Because nanotechnology is so vast and covers so many disciplines we have picked only a few examples as a way of introduction. There are many many many more applications and examples in the literature. We encourage you to read as many as you can. And maybe one of your essays can be on nanotechnology in your field!

Bismuth Nanowires

Bismuth in has been used in one form or another for thermocouples and thermopiles for more than a century. Bismuth is a semimetal even in nanowire form until about 50 nm when it transitions to a semiconductor form. Most research is done, however, with Bismuth nanowires in the semimetal form as it is difficult to produce good nanowires below 50 nm (though advances continue). Nanowires offer different properties that can aid in the thermocouple/thermopile are of research such as optical properties and reduction of thermal conductivity (bulk semimetal general dissipate energy to quickly due to higher thermal conductivity.

Nanotechnology and the environment

  • Humans need clean consumable water for survival
  • Environmental contaminates are a serious problem that reduces the amount of consumable water to unacceptable levels
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Added reactive component (iron oxide ceramic membranes) add an extra-level of removal of contaminates
  • Aluminum oxide ceramic membranes are another membrane being investigated
  • Iron oxidization causes certain organic molecules (including toxic ones) to break down
  • Therefore nanoscale iron can improve remediation
  • Smaller size allows the iron to go further into the soil (percolation)

Nanotechnology materials

  • The grain size is an important characterization of metal (regardless if we are taking nanotechnology or not) that defines among other things the yield strength
  • \(\sigma_y = \sigma_0 + \frac{k}{\sqrt{d}}\) where \(\sigma_y\) is the yield strength, \(\sigma_0\) and k are constants that depend on the particular metal, and d is the average grain size diameter
  • The equation implies that smaller grain sizes give better yield strength
  • Possible negative Hall-Petch effect below 30 nm
  • Questions remain; studies needed
  • Issues are worsening corrosion and creep as the grain size gets smaller
  • Future shows promise however
  • Ceramic nanoparticles
  • Possible bone repair (see next example)

Nanotechnology and bones

A large portion of our bones are nanosize hydroxyapatite which could be repairable using bioactive and resorbable ceramics. The mechanism of this repair would be osteoinduction. This is a very promising research avenue.

Spintronics (or magnetoelectronics)

The idea behind spintronics is to develop electronics that uses the spin of the electron rather than the "movement" of the electrons. The promise of this technology is to make transistors smaller and faster.

  • Technically spintronics is not nanotechnology, however, nanotechnology offers the best approach for its practical use
  • By creating ferromagnetic semiconductors that require layers that are only a few nanometers (\(\leftarrow\) there you go)

Nanotechnology Machines

Can there be nanotechnology machines? No, not really, nanomachines are not very practical. But nanoparts for use by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is possible. For nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) we will outline some possible parts without getting into the details of how to control the motion (some sort of voltage will need to be applied).

  • Use multi-walled nanotubes
  • One tube rotates inside the other
  • Kinds of emulates rotational bearings
  • The nanomotor would be controlled by the use of a nanocrystal ram (sort of like a piston)
  • Control by voltage in some fashion
  • In general electronics this can be used as a clock or for blinking lights on a car
  • This works using liquid metal droplets that exchange mass
  • Utilizes surface tension (which in would be very strong at this scale)
  • Graphene has relatively small spring constant and therefore is relatively flexible
  • Graphene is very robust as well

Tools used in nanotechnology

A microscope is an optical device that uses light to magnify the object it is viewing, because visible light has a wavelength between 400 nm to 800 nm. Typically a "microscope" can at best see an object about twice the wavelength of light that is used. This means a normal optical microscope could at best see about 1 \(\mu m\) which is in its name...a micro scope. This would be cellular level. It is possible to infer some nanotechnology from a powerful microscope, but it would be better to use something else. Also there are UV microscopes, but still it would be better to use something else. So in this section we will go over the tools for nanotechnology.

  • Focused beam of electrons
  • Electrons' wavelength is much smaller than 1 nm (so this will work for nanotechnology)
  • 5 to 10 nm resolution; some special SEMs can get down to just less than 1 nm
  • Surface scanner
  • Electrons penetrate the sample (typically less the 1 \(\mu m\))
  • Magnets used to manipulate the electrons into the sample
  • 0.2 nm resolution (but field of view is severely reduced in exchange for this better resolution)
  • SEM, TEM with equipment like spectrometers
  • 0.1 nm resolution
  • While there are versions that can be used in a liquid environment, these Liquid-phase EMs have limited uses
  • Need to prepare certain samples by sputtering metal (like gold) on them
  • Sample is placed in a vacuum of at least 10 -4 torr
  • New innovations allow for "desktop" Scanning electron microsopes
  • Used electrical properties from tip to sample
  • 0.01 nm depth resolution
  • Uses force properties (this is how it distinguishes from STM) using a cantilever
  • Detects the Van der Waals forces by oscillating very close to the surface
  • Difficult mode to work because of its being close to the surface which induces troublesome forces
  • Most common mode
  • For soft surfaces
  • There are many different type of probes (maybe 100 or so)
  • Nanoscale Thermal Analysis probes for thermal maps of the sample
  • Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy probe for scanning local electrical properties
  • Magnetic probes for probing magnetic fields above the sample
  • Scanning Capacitance Mode probes for getting a sense of carrier concentrations in semiconductors
  • Deep Trench probe used for the integrated circuit industry
  • Tip Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy probe
  • Millimeters for Electron Microscopes
  • Micrometers for Scanning Probe Microscopes
  • Slow scan compared to SEM
  • Unless you really want to get to the atomic level then you need high vacuum
  • In the case of atomic level however we are not discussing nanotechnology any more though this could be of benefit to nanotechnology in the research sense
  • Tapping mode is usually used here
  • Usually use same sort of probes as with solid but designed for liquid (Silver Nitride)
  • Probes for AFMs can be used to do nanomanipulation (nanolithography or nanobuilding)
  • Nanomanpulators are available for SEMs as well
  • Only two types will be outlined here, more are covered in materials class
  • Spectroscopy is the study of how light interacts with materials
  • Basic spectrometers that most people are familiar with determine elements in a system but other spectrometers determine much more
  • Studying spectrometers could actual be a year-long course in itself, fortunately there are numerous web sites on spectroscopy for most types of spectrometers
  • Determines type of crystal structure along with defects and any other structural information
  • Some methods are non-destructive
  • "Common" spectroscopy in general determines if you have say carbon or not but not what form of carbon
  • Allotropes of carbon: buckyball, CNTs, graphite, diamond, graphene, glassy carbon, carbon nanobuds, etc.
  • Basis of this spectroscopy is Stokes Raman scattering (as opposed to say Mie or Rayleigh scattering)
  • This is covered more thoroughly in the materials science course
  • New advances have been produced in the lab (real) because of simulation that were originally preformed based off new theories or ideas
  • Theories are made into models which are then simulated
  • Need models of measuring tools and the materials to understand interactions
  • Theory: what do we know about the materials and tools
  • Model: represent the theory in a testable fashion (equations; numerical analysis techniques)
  • Use the model to predict some new results
  • Laboratory test for the new results to confirm the model
  • Re-work the model
  • In rare instances look at the theory

Nanotechnology involves almost everything

  • Nanoparticles (like quantum dots)
  • Light and its interaction at a nanoscale
  • Metamaterials (negative index of refraction among other "non-natural" properties) are the most promising here
  • Nanomechanics
  • Nanofluidics (study of fluids confined to a nanostructure)
  • Nanobiotechnology

Additional websites to satiate your curiosity on nanotechnology

  • https://www.nano.gov
  • https://www.nature.com/nnano/ - Nature Magazine's Nanotechnology Journal
  • https://www.ornl.gov/facility/cnms
  • https://nanohub.org - this is for educators and researchers can be very high level
  • https://nanocenter.umd.edu
  • https://www.olympus-lifescience.com/en/microscope-resource/primer/java/electronmicroscopy/magnify1/ - simulation of an electron microscope
  • https://www.renishaw.com/en/raman-spectroscopy--6150 - Renishaw's Raman Spectroscopy page (they have links to a lot of literature on Raman spectroscopy)
  • http://mw.concord.org/modeler/ - Molecular Workbench: Simulator program for learning science in a realistic manner
  • https://www.sciencenews.org - General science periodical but you can search for Nanotechnology and get interesting articles
  • https://www.nanowerk.com - kinda like a warehouse of nanotechnology links (more for learning)
  • https://www.graphene-info.com - kinda like a warehouse of graphene articles and links
  • https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/nanotechnology/ - National Geographic article on Nanotechnology
  • https://science.howstuffworks.com/nanotechnology.htm
  • https://www.agilent.com/labs/features/2011_101_nano.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/nano/default.html - CDC laboratory that investigates the safety of nanotechnology
  • https://www.open-raman.org - open source Raman project so you can build your won Raman spectrometer (costs a bit, still)
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982820/  - An article on this history of nanotechnology that might be of interest to some

This is just a sampling of nanotechnology, a more detail look at nanotechnology will be provide in materials science class. This is the last teacher-led case study; now it is the students turn - starting in the next section.

1 For a more modern version of the Powers of Ten you might want to look at the Cosmic Eye version:

Another interesting approach is the tool on AAAS' ScienceNetlink that gives more scales then just the power of 10 movie: Scale of Universe 2 . Still the original movie from 1977 is still amazingly good and has music from the famous American composer, Elmer Bernstein ( The Ten Commandments, Magnificent Seven ,...).

2 The tendency is to use grain size here but that actually means something else with regards to metallurgy so instead we will say nanoparticle size. Gold is obviously gold when we look at it, but a 30 nm nanoparticle size of gold is red. As you make larger and large nanoparticles it starts to change from red to a bluish-purple hue. The shape also can cause color change so rather than grinding it like you would in ancient times you would purposely make spheres or prismoids to get different colors (note that the sphere would be different color then prismoid if both were the same size).

3 The Platonic solids were described by Plato (or, maybe, Pythagoras) and consist of five solids: the cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron. These solids are very interesting in the field of mathematics and crystallography (and by association materials science).

4 You can examine this more by using one of Scott Sinex's Material Sciences Excelets (in particular one named "Carbon Nanotube"). This, while designed for Excel, will run on LibreOffice's spreadsheet but does not work on MacOS Numbers.

5 The example list of probes herein is from Bruker , a company that sells scientific equipment, in particular AFM and STM probes ( Bruker probes division).

Case study on adoption of new technology for innovation: Perspective of institutional and corporate entrepreneurship

Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

ISSN : 2398-7812

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

This paper aims at investigating the role of institutional entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship to cope with firm’ impasses by adoption of the new technology ahead of other firms. Also, this paper elucidates the importance of own specific institutional and corporate entrepreneurship created from firm’s norm.


The utilized research frame is as follows: first, perspective of studies on institutional and corporate entrepreneurship are performed using prior literature and preliminary references; second, analytical research frame was proposed; finally, phase-based cases are conducted so as to identify research objective.

Kumho Tire was the first tire manufacturer in the world to exploit the utilization of radio-frequency identification for passenger carâ’s tire. Kumho Tire takes great satisfaction in lots of failures to develop the cutting edge technology using advanced information and communication technology cultivated by heterogeneous institution and corporate entrepreneurship.


The firm concentrated its resources into building the organization’s communication process and enhancing the quality of its human resources from the early stages of their birth so as to create distinguishable corporate entrepreneurship.

  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Institutional entrepreneurship

Han, J. and Park, C.-m. (2017), "Case study on adoption of new technology for innovation: Perspective of institutional and corporate entrepreneurship", Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship , Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 144-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJIE-08-2017-031

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Junghee Han and Chang-min Park.

Published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship . Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

1. Introduction

Without the entrepreneur, invention and new knowledge possibly have lain dormant in the memory of persons or in the pages of literature. There is a Korean saying, “Even if the beads are too much, they become treasure after sewn”. This implies importance of entrepreneurship. In general, innovativeness and risk-taking are associated with entrepreneurial activity and, more importantly, are considered to be important attributes that impact the implementation of new knowledge pursuing.

Implementation of cutting edge technology ahead of other firms is an important mechanism for firms to achieve competitive advantage ( Capon et al. , 1990 ; D’Aveni, 1994 ). Certainly, new product innovation continues to play a vital role in competitive business environment and is considered to be a key driver of firm performance, especially as a significant form of corporate entrepreneurship ( Srivastava and Lee, 2005 ). Corporate entrepreneurship is critical success factor for a firm’s survival, profitability and growth ( Phan et al. , 2009 ).

The first-mover has identified innovativeness and risk-taking as important attributes of first movers. Lumpkin and Dess (1996) argued that proactiveness is a key entrepreneurial characteristic related to new technology adoption and product. This study aims to investigate the importance of corporate and institutional entrepreneurship through analyzing the K Tire’s first adaptation of Radio-frequency identification (RFID) among the world tire manufactures. Also, this paper can contribute to start ups’ readiness for cultivating of corporate and institutional entrepreneurship from initial stage to grow and survive.

K Tire is the Korean company that, for the first time in the world, applied RFID to manufacturing passenger vehicle tires in 2013. Through such efforts, the company has built an innovation model that utilizes ICTs. The adoption of the technology distinguishes K Tire from other competitors, which usually rely on bar codes. None of the global tire manufacturers have applied the RFID technology to passenger vehicle tires. K Tire’s decision to apply RFID to passenger vehicle tires for the first time in the global tire industry, despite the uncertainties associated with the adoption of innovative technologies, is being lauded as a successful case of innovation. In the global tire market, K Tire belongs to the second tier, rather than the leader group consisting of manufacturers with large market shares. Then, what led K Tire to apply RFID technology to the innovation of its manufacturing process? A company that adopts innovative technologies ahead of others, even if the company is a latecomer, demonstrates its distinguishing characteristics in terms of innovation. As such, this study was motivated by the following questions. With regard to the factors that facilitate innovation, first, what kind of the corporate and institutional situations that make a company more pursue innovation? Second, what are the technological situations? Third, how do the environmental situations affect innovation? A case study offers the benefit of a closer insight into the entrepreneurship frame of a specific company. This study has its frame work rooted in corporate entrepreneurship ( Guth and Ginsberg, 1990 ; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000 ) and institutional entrepreneurship ( Battilana, 2006 ; Fligstein, 1997 ; Rojas, 2010 ). As mentioned, we utilized qualitative research method ( Yin, 2008 ). This paper is structured as follows. Section two presents the literature review, and section three present the methodology and a research case. Four and five presents discussion and conclusions and implications, respectively.

2. Theoretical review and analysis model

RFID technology is to be considered as not high technology; however, it is an entirely cutting edged skills when combined with automotive tire manufacturing. To examine why and how the firm behaves like the first movers, taking incomparable high risks to achieve aims unlike others, we review three kinds of prior literature. As firms move from stage to stage, they have to revamp innovative capabilities to survive and ceaseless stimulate growth.

2.1 Nature of corporate entrepreneurship

Before reviewing the corporate entrepreneurship, it is needed to understand what entrepreneurship is. To more understand the role that entrepreneurship plays in modern economy, one need refer to insights given by Schumpeter (1942) or Kirzner (1997) . Schumpeter suggests that entrepreneurship is an engine of economic growth by utilization of new technologies. He also insists potential for serving to discipline firms in their struggle to survive gale of creative destruction. While Schumper argued principle of entrepreneurship, Kirzner explains the importance of opportunities. The disruptions generated by creative destruction are exploited by individuals who are alert enough to exploit the opportunities that arise ( Kirzner, 1997 ; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000 ).

Commonly all these perspectives on entrepreneurship is an appreciation that the emergence of novelty is not an easy or predictable process. Based on literature review, we note that entrepreneurship is heterogeneous interests and seek “something new” associated with novel outcomes. Considering the literature review, we can observe that entrepreneurship is the belief in individual autonomy and discretion, and a mindset that locates agency in individuals for creating new activities ( Meyer et al. ,1994 ; Jepperson and Meyer, 2001 ).

the firm’s commitment to innovation (including creation and introduction of products, emphasis on R&D investments and commitment to patenting);

the firm’s venturing activities, such as entry into new business fields by sponsoring new ventures and creating new businesses; and

strategic renewal efforts aimed at revitalizing the firm’s ability to compete.

developing innovation an organizational tool;

allowing the employees to propose ideas; and

encouraging and nurturing the new knowledge ( Hisrich, 1986 ; Kuratko, 2007 ).

Consistent with the above stream of research, our paper focuses on a firm’s new adaptation of RFID as a significant form of corporate entrepreneurial activity. Thus, CE refers to the activities a firm undertakes to stimulate innovation and encourage calculated risk taking throughout its operations. Considering prior literature reviews, we propose that corporate entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals inside the organization pursuing opportunities without regards to the resources they control.

If a firm has corporate entrepreneurship, innovation (i.e. transformation of the existing firm, the birth of new business organization and innovation) happens. In sum, corporate entrepreneurship plays a role to pursue to be a first mover from a latecomer by encompassing the three phenomena.

2.2 Institution and institutional entrepreneurship

Most literature regarding entrepreneurship deals with the attribute of individual behavior. More recently, scholars have attended to the wider ecosystem that serves to reinforce risk-taking behavior. Institution and institutional entrepreneurship is one way to look at ecosystem that how individuals and groups attempt to try to become entrepreneurial activities and innovation.

Each organization has original norm and intangible rules. According to the suggestion by Scott (1995) , institutions constrain behavior as a result of processes associated with institutional pillars. The question how actors within the organizations become motivated and enabled to transform the taken-for-granted structures has attracted substantial attention for institutionalist. To understand why some firms are more likely to seek innovation activities despite numerous difficulties and obstacles, we should take look at the institutional entrepreneurship.

the regulative, which induces worker’s action through coercion and formal sanction;

the normative, which induces worker’s action through norms of acceptability and ethics; and

the cognitive, which induces worker’s action through categories and frames by which actors know and interpret their world.

North (1990) defines institutions as the humanly devised constraints that structure human action. Actors within some organization with sufficient resources have intend to look at them an opportunity to realize interests that they value highly ( DiMaggio, 1988 ).

It opened institutional arguments to ideas from the co-evolving entrepreneurship literature ( Aldrich and Fiol, 1994 ; Aldrich and Martinez, 2001 ). The core argument of the institutional entrepreneurship is mechanisms enabling force to motivate for actors to act difficult task based on norm, culture and shared value. The innovation, adopting RFID, a technology not verified in terms of its effectiveness for tires, can be influenced by the institution of the society.

A firm is the organizations. An organization is situated within an institution that has social and economic norms. Opportunity is important for entrepreneurship. The concept of institutional entrepreneurship refer to the activities of worker or actor who have new opportunity to realize interest that they values highly ( DiMaggio, 1988 ). DiMaggio (1988) argues that opportunity for institutional entrepreneurship will be “seen” and “exploited” by within workers and not others depending on their resources and interests respectively.

Despite that ambiguity for success was given, opportunity and motivation for entrepreneurs to act strategically, shape emerging institutional arrangements or standards to their interests ( Fligstein and Mara-Drita, 1996 ; Garud et al. , 2002 ; Hargadon and Douglas, 2001 ; Maguire et al. , 2004 ).

Resource related to opportunity within institutional entrepreneurship include formal or informal authority and power ( Battilana, 2006 ; Rojas, 2010 ). Maguire et al. (2004) suggest legitimacy as an important ingredient related to opportunity for institutional entrepreneurship. Some scholars suggest opportunity resources for institutional entrepreneurship as various aspects. For instance, Marquire and Hardy (2009) show that knowledge and expertise is more crucial resources. Social capital, including market leadership and social network, is importance resource related to opportunity ( Garud et al. , 2002 ; Lawrence et al. , 2005 ; Townley, 2002 ). From a sociological perspective, change associated with entrepreneurship implies deviations from some norm ( Garud and Karnøe, 2003 ).

Institutional entrepreneurship is therefore a concept that reintroduces agency, interests and power into institutional analyses of organizations. Based on the previous discussion, this study defines institution as three processes of network activity; coercion and formal sanction, normative and cognitive, to acquire the external knowledge from adopting common goals and rules inside an organization. It would be an interesting approach to look into a specific company to see whether it is proactive towards adopting ICTs (e.g. RFID) and innovation on the basis of such theoretical background.

2.3. Theoretical analysis frame

Companies innovate themselves in response to the challenges of the ever-changing markets and technologies, so as to ensure their survival and growth ( Tushman and Anderson, 1986 ; Tidd and Bessant, 2009 ; Teece, 2014 ). As illustrated above, to achieve the purpose of this study, the researcher provides the following frames of analyses based on the theoretical background discussed above ( Figure 1 ).

3. Case study

3.1 methodology.

It is a highly complicated and tough task to analyze the long process of innovation at a company. In this paper, we used analytical approach rather than the problem-oriented method because the case is examined to find and understand what has happened and why. It is not necessary to identify problems or suggest solutions. Namely, this paper analyzes that “why K Tire becomes a first mover from a late comer through first adoption of RFID technology for automotive tire manufacture with regards to process and production innovations”.

To study the organizational characteristics such as corporate entrepreneurship, institutional entrepreneurship, innovation process of companies, the qualitative case study is the suitable method. This is because a case study is a useful method when verifying or expanding well-known theories or challenging a specific theory ( Yin, 2008 ). This study seeks to state the frame of analysis established, based on previously established theories through a single case. K Tire was selected as the sample because it is the first global tire manufacturer, first mover to achieve innovation by developing and applying RFID.

The data for the case study were collected as follows. First, this study was conducted from April 2015 to the end of December 2015. Additional expanded data also were collected from September 12 to November 22, 2016, to pursue the goal of this paper. Coauthor worked for K Tire for more than 30 year, and currently serves as the CEO of an affiliate company. As such, we had the most hands-on knowledge and directed data in the process of adoption RFID. This makes this case study a form of participant observation ( Yin, 2008 ). To secure data on institutional entrepreneurship, in-depth interviews were conducted with the vice president of K Tire. The required data were secured using e-mail, and the researchers accepted the interviewees’ demand to keep certain sensitive matters confidential. The interviewees agreed to record the interview sessions. In this way, a 20-min interview data were secured for each interviewee. In addition, apart from the internal data of the subject company, other objective data were obtained by investigating various literatures published through the press.

3.2 Company overview

In September 1960, K Tire was established in South Korea as the name of Samyang Tire. In that time, the domestic automobile industry in Korea was at a primitive stage, as were auto motive parts industries like the tire industry. K Tire products 20 tires a day, depending on manual labor because of our backward technology and shortage of facilities.

The growth of K Tire was astonishment. Despite the 1974 oil shock and difficulties in procuring raw materials, K Tire managed to achieve remarkable growth. In 1976, K Tire became the leader in the tire sector and was listed on the Korea Stock Exchange. Songjung plant II was added in 1977. Receiving the grand prize of the Korea Quality Control Award in 1979, K Tire sharpened its corporate image with the public. The turmoil of political instability and feverish democratization in the 1980s worsened the business environment. K Tire also underwent labor-management struggles but succeeded in straightening out one issue after another. In the meantime, the company chalked up a total output of 50 million tires, broke ground for its Koksung plant and completed its proving ground in preparation for a new takeoff.

In the 1990s, K Tire expanded its research capability and founded technical research centers in the USA and the United Kingdom to establish a global R&D network. It also concentrated its capabilities in securing the foundation as a global brand, by building world-class R&D capabilities and production systems. Even in the 2000s, the company maintained its growth as a global company through continued R&D efforts by securing its production and quality capabilities, supplying tires for new models to Mercedes, Benz, Volkswagen and other global auto manufacturers.

3.3 Implementation of radio-frequency identification technology

RFID is radio-frequency identification technology to recognize stored information by using a magnetic carrier wave. RFID tags can be either passive, active or battery-assisted passive (BAP). An active tag has an on-board battery and periodically transmits its ID signal. A BAP has a small battery on board and is activated when in the presence of an RFID reader. A passive tag is cheaper and smaller because it has no battery; instead, the tag uses the radio energy transmitted by the reader. However, to operate a passive tag, it must be illuminated with a power level roughly a thousand times stronger than for signal transmission. That makes a difference in interference and in exposure to radiation.

an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio frequency signal, collecting DC power from the incident reader signal, and other specialized functions; and

an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.

capable of recognizing information without contact;

capable of recognizing information regardless of the direction;

capable of reading and saving a large amount of data;

requires less time to recognize information;

can be designed or manufactured in accordance with the system or environmental requirements;

capable of recognizing data unaffected by contamination or the environment;

not easily damaged and cheaper to maintain, compared with the bar code system; and

tags are reusable.

3.3.1 Phase 1. Background of exploitation of radio-frequency identification (2005-2010).

Despite rapid growth of K Tire since 1960, K Tire ranked at the 13th place in the global market (around 2 per cent of the global market share) as of 2012. To enlarge global market share is desperate homework. K Tire was indispensable to develop the discriminated technologies. When bar code system commonly used by the competitors, and the industry leaders, K Tire had a decision for adoption of RFID technology instead of bar code system for tires as a first mover strategy instead of a late comer with regard to manufacture tires for personal vehicle. In fact, K Tire met two kinds of hardship. Among the top 20, the second-tier companies with market shares of 1-2 per cent are immersed in fiercer competitions to advance their ranks. The fierceness of the competition is reflected in the fact that of the companies ranked between the 11th and 20th place, only two maintained their rank from 2013.

With the demand for stricter product quality control and manufacture history tracking expanding among the auto manufacturers, tire manufacturers have come to face the need to change their way of production and logistics management. Furthermore, a tire manufacturer cannot survive if it does not properly respond to the ever stricter and exacting demand for safe passenger vehicle tires of higher quality from customers and auto manufacturers. As mentioned above, K Tire became one of the top 10 companies in the global markets, recording fast growth until the early 2000. During this period, K Tire drew the attention of the global markets with a series of new technologies and innovative technologies through active R&D efforts. Of those new products, innovative products – such as ultra-high-performance tires – led the global markets and spurred the company’s growth. However, into the 2010s, the propriety of the UHP tire technology was gradually lost, and the effect of the innovation grew weaker as the global leading companies stepped forward to take the reign in the markets. Subsequently, K Tire suffered from difficulties across its businesses, owing to the failure to develop follow-up innovative products or market-leading products, as well as the aggressive activities by the company’s hardline labor union. Such difficulties pushed K Tire down to the 13th position in 2014, which sparked the dire need to bring about innovative changes within the company.

3.3.2 Phase 2. Ceaseless endeavor and its failure (2011-2012).

It needs to be lightweight : An RFID tag attached inside a vehicle may adversely affect the weight balance of the tires. A heavier tag has greater adverse impact on the tire performance. Therefore, a tag needs to be as light as possible.

It needs to be durable : Passenger vehicle tires are exposed to extensive bending and stretching, as well as high levels of momentum, which may damage a tag, particularly causing damage to or even loss of the antenna section.

It needs to maintain adhesiveness : Tags are attached on the inner surface, which increase the possibility of the tags falling off from the surface while the vehicle is in motion.

It needs to be resistant to high temperature and high pressure : While going through the tire manufacture process, a tag is exposed to a high temperature of around 200°C and high pressure of around 30 bars. Therefore, a tag should maintain its physical integrity and function at such high pressure and temperature.

It needs to be less costly : A passenger vehicle tire is smaller, and therefore cheaper than truck/bus tires. As a result, an RFID tag places are greater burden on the production cost.

Uncountable tag prototypes, were applied to around 200 test tires in South Korea for actual driving tests. Around 150 prototypes were sent to extremely hot regions overseas for actual driving tests. However, the driving tests revealed damage to the antenna sections of the tags embedded in tires, as the tires reached the end of their wear life. Also, there was separation of the embedded tags from the rubber layers. This confirmed the risk of tire separation, resulting in the failure of the tag development attempt.

3.3.3 Phase 3. Success of adoption RFID (2013-2014).

Despite the numerous difficulties and failures in the course of development, the company ultimately emerged successful, owing to its institutional entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship the government’s support. Owing to the government-led support project, K Tire resumed its RFID development efforts in 2011. This time, the company discarded the idea of the embedded-type tag, which was attempted during the first development. Instead, the company turned to attached-type tag. The initial stages were marked with numerous failures: the size of a tag was large at 20 × 70 mm, which had adverse impact on the rotation balance of the tires, and the attached area was too large, causing the attached sections to fall off as the tire stretched and bent. That was when all personnel from the technical, manufacturing, and logistics department participated in creating ideas to resolve the tag size and adhesiveness issues. Through cooperation across the different departments and repeated tests, K Tire successfully developed its RFID tag by coming up with new methods to minimize the tag size to its current size (9 × 45 mm), maintain adhesiveness and lower the tag price. Finally, K Tire was success the adoption RFID.

3.3.4 Phase 4. Establishment of the manufacture, logistics and marketing tracking system.

Whenever subtle and problematic innovation difficulties arise, every worker and board member moves forward through networking and knowledge sharing within intra and external.

While a bar code is only capable of storing the information on the nationality, manufacturer and category of a product, an RFID tag is capable of storing a far wider scope of information: nationality, manufacturer, category, manufacturing date, machines used, lot number, size, color, quantity, date and place of delivery and recipient. In addition, while the data stored in a bar code cannot be revised or expanded once the code is generated, an RFID tag allows for revisions, additions and removal of data. As for the recognition capability, a bar code recognizes 95per cent of the data at the maximum temperature of 70°C. An RFID tag, on the other hand, recognizes 99.9 per cent of the data at 120°C.

The manufacture and transportation information during the semi-finished product process before the shaping process is stored in the RFID tags, which is attached to the delivery equipment to be provided to the MLMTS;

Logistics Products released from the manufacture process are stored in the warehouses, to be released and transported again to logistics centers inside and outside of South Korea. The RFID tags record the warehousing information, as the products are stored into the warehouses, as well as the release information as the products are released. The information is instantly delivered to the MLMTS;

As a marketing, the RFID tags record the warehousing information of the products supplied and received by sales branches from the logistics centers, as well as the sales information of the products sold to consumers. The information is instantly delivered to the MLMTS; and

As a role of integrative Server, MLM Integrative Server manages the overall information transmitted from the infrastructures for each section (production information, inventory status and release information, product position and inventory information, consumer sales information, etc.).

The MLMTS provides the company with various systemic functions to integrate and manage such information: foolproof against manufacture process errors, manufacture history and quality tracking for each individual product, warehousing/releasing and inventory status control for each process, product position control between processes, real-time warehouse monitoring, release control and history information tracking across products of different sizes, as well as link/control of sales and customer information. To consumers, the system provides convenience services by providing production and quality information of the products, provision of the product history through full tracking in the case of a claim, as well as a tire pressure monitoring system:

“South korea’s K Tire Co. Inc. has begun applying radio-frequency identification (RFID) system tags on: half-finished” tire since June 16. We are now using an IoT based production and distribution integrated management system to apply RFID system on our “half-finished products” the tire maker said, claiming this is a world-first in the industry. The technology will enable K Tire to manage products more efficiently than its competitors, according to the company. RFID allows access to information about a product’s location, storage and release history, as well as its inventory management (London, 22, 2015 Tire Business).

4. Discussions

Originally, aims of RFID adoption for passenger car “half-finished product” is to chase the front runners, Hankook Tire in Korea including global leading companies like Bridgestone, Michaelin and Goodyear. In particular, Hankook Tire, established in 1941 has dominated domestic passenger tire market by using the first mover’s advantage. As a late comer, K Tire needs distinguishable innovation strategy which is RFID adoption for passenger car’s tire, “half-finished product” to overcome shortage of number of distribution channels. Adoption of RFID technology for passenger car’s tire has been known as infeasible methodologies according to explanation by Changmin Park, vice-CTO (chief technology officer) until K Tire’s success.

We lensed success factors as three perspectives; institutional entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship and innovation. First, as a corporate entrepreneurship perspective, adopting innovative technologies having uncertainties accompanies by a certain risk of failure. Corporate entrepreneurship refers to firm’s effort that inculcate and promote innovation and risk taking throughout its operations ( Burgelman, 1983 ; Guth and Ginsberg, 1990 ). K Tire’s success was made possible by overcome the uncountable difficulties based on shared value and norms (e.g. Fligstein and Mara-Drita, 1996 ; Garud et al. , 2002 ; Hargadon and Douglas, 2001 ; Maguire et al. , 2004 ).

An unsuccessful attempt at developing innovative technologies causes direct loss, as well as loss of the opportunity costs. This is why many companies try to avoid risks by adopting or following the leading companies’ technologies or the dominant technologies. Stimulating corporate entrepreneurship requires firms to acquire and use new knowledge to exploit emerging opportunities. This knowledge could be obtained by joining alliances, selectively hiring key personnel, changing the composition or decision-making processes of a company’s board of directors or investing in R&D activities. When the firm uses multiple sources of knowledge ( Branzei and Vertinsky, 2006 ; Thornhill, 2006 ), some of these sources may complement one another, while others may substitute each other ( Zahra and George, 2002 ). Boards also provide managers with appropriate incentives that better align their interests with those of the firm. Given the findings, K Tire seeks new knowledge from external organizations through its discriminative corporate entrepreneurship.

When adopting the RFID system for its passenger vehicle tires, K Tire also had to develop new RFID tags suitable for the specific type of tire. The company’s capabilities were limited by the surrounding conditions, which prevented the application of existing tire RFID tag technologies, such as certain issues with the tire manufacturing process, the characteristic of its tires and the price of RFID tags per tire. Taking risks and confronting challenges are made from board member’s accountability. From the findings, we find that entrepreneurship leadership can be encouraged in case of within the accountability frame work.

Despite its status as a second-tier company, K Tire attempted to adopt the RFID system to its passenger vehicle tires, a feat not achieved even by the leading companies. Thus, the company ultimately built and settled the system through numerous trials and errors. Such success was made possible by the entrepreneurship of K Tire’s management, who took the risk of failure inherent in adopting innovative technologies and confronting challenges head on.

Second, institutional entrepreneurship not only involves the “capacity to imagine alternative possibilities”, it also requires the ability “to contextualize past habits and future projects within the contingencies of the moment” if existing institutions are to be transformed ( Emirbayer and Mische, 1998 ). New technologies, the technical infrastructure, network activities to acquire the new knowledge, learning capabilities, creating a new organization such as Pioneer Lab and new rules to create new technologies are the features. To qualify as institutional entrepreneurs, individuals must break with existing rules and practices associated with the dominant institutional logic(s) and institutionalize the alternative rules, practices or logics they are championing ( Garud and Karnøe, 2003 ; Battilana, 2006 ). K Tire established new organization, “Special lab” to obtain the know technology and information as CEO’s direct sub-committees. Institutional entrepreneurship arise when actors, through their filed position, recognize the opportunity circumstance so called “norms” ( Battilana et al. , 2009 ). To make up the deficit of technologies for RFID, knowledge stream among workers is more needed. Destruction of hierarch ranking system is proxy of the institutional entrepreneurship. Also, K Tire has peculiar norms. Namely, if one requires the further study such as degree course or non-degree course education services, grant systems operated via short screen process. Third, as innovation perspectives, before adopting the RFID system, the majority of K Tire’s researchers insisted that the company use the bar code technology, which had been widely used by the competitors. Such decision was predicated on the prediction that RFID technology would see wider use in the future, as well as the expected effect coming from taking the leading position, with regard to the technology.

Finally, K Tire’s adoption of the RFID technology cannot be understood without government support. The South Korean government has been implementing the “Verification and Dissemination Project for New u-IT Technologies” since 2008. Owing to policy support, K Tire can provide worker with educational service including oversea universities.

5. Conclusions and implications

To cope with various technological impasses, K Tire demonstrated the importance of institutional and corporate entrepreneurship. What a firm pursues more positive act for innovation is a research question.

Unlike firms, K Tire has strongly emphasized IT technology since establishment in 1960. To be promotion, every worker should get certification of IT sectors after recruiting. This has become the firm’s norm. This norm was spontaneously embedded for firm’s culture. K Tire has sought new ICT technology become a first mover. This norm can galvanize to take risk to catch up the first movers in view of institutional entrepreneurship.

That can be cultivated both by corporate entrepreneurship, referred to the activities a firm undertakes to stimulate innovation and encourage calculated risk taking throughout its operations within accountabilities and institutional entrepreneurship, referred to create its own peculiar norm. Contribution of our paper shows both importance of board members of directors in cultivating corporate entrepreneurship and importance of norm and rules in inducing institutional entrepreneurship.

In conclusion, many of them were skeptical about adopting RFID for its passenger vehicle tires at a time when even the global market and technology leaders were not risking such innovation, citing reasons such as risk of failure and development costs. However, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship across the organization towards technical innovation was achieved through the experience of developing leading technologies, as well as the resolve of the company’s management and its institutional entrepreneurship, which resulted in the company’s decision to adopt the RFID technology for small tires, a technology with unverified effects that had not been widely used in the markets. Introduction of new organization which “Special lab” is compelling example of institutional entrepreneurship. Also, to pursue RFID technology, board members unanimously agree to make new organization in the middle of failing and unpredictable success. This decision was possible since K Tire’s cultivated norm which was to boost ICT technologies. In addition, at that time, board of director’s behavior can be explained by corporate entrepreneurship.

From the findings, this paper also suggests importance of firms’ visions or culture from startup stage because they can become a peculiar norm and become firm’s institutional entrepreneurship. In much contemporary research, professionals and experts are identified as key institutional entrepreneurs, who rely on their legitimated claim to authoritative knowledge or particular issue domains. This case study shows that authoritative knowledge by using their peculiar norm, and culture as well as corporate entrepreneurship.

This paper has some limitations. Despite the fact that paper shows various fruitful findings, this study is not free from that our findings are limited to a single exploratory case study. Overcoming such limitation requires securing more samples, including the group of companies that attempt unprecedented innovations across various industries. In this paper, we can’t release all findings through in-depth interview and face-to-face meetings because of promise for preventing the secret tissues.

Nevertheless, the contribution of this study lies in that it shows the importance of corporate entrepreneurship and institutional entrepreneurship for firm’s innovative capabilities to grow ceaselessly.

what is a case study in technology

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 This work was supported by 2017 Hongik University Research Fund.

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7.   Strategy for Norway's Pension Fund Global

8.   Prodigy Finance

9.   Design at Mayo

10. Cadbury

11. City Hospital Emergency Room

13. Volkswagen

14. Marina Bay Sands

15. Shake Shack IPO

16. Mastercard

17. Netflix

18. Ant Financial

19. AXA: Creating the New CR Metrics

20. IBM Corporate Service Corps

21. Business Leadership in South Africa's 1994 Reforms

22. Alternative Meat Industry

23. Children's Premier

24. Khalil Tawil and Umi (A)

25. Palm Oil 2016

26. Teach For All: Designing a Global Network

27. What's Next? Search Fund Entrepreneurs Reflect on Life After Exit

28. Searching for a Search Fund Structure: A Student Takes a Tour of Various Options

30. Project Sammaan

31. Commonfund ESG

32. Polaroid

33. Connecticut Green Bank 2018: After the Raid

34. FieldFresh Foods

35. The Alibaba Group

36. 360 State Street: Real Options

37. Herman Miller

38. AgBiome

39. Nathan Cummings Foundation

40. Toyota 2010

How six companies are using technology and data to transform themselves

what is a case study in technology

The next normal: The recovery will be digital

A study referenced in the popular magazine Psychology Today concluded that it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic. If that’s true, that’s good news for business leaders who have spent the past five months running their companies in ways they never could have imagined. The COVID-19 pandemic is a full-stop on business as usual and a launching pad for organizations to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile—and to do it all at lightning-fast speed.

Now, as leaders look ahead to the next year and beyond, they’re asking: How do we keep this momentum going? How do we take the best of what we’ve learned and put into practice throughout the pandemic, and make sure it’s woven into everything we do going forward? “Business leaders are saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months,” says Kate Smaje, a senior partner and global co-leader of McKinsey Digital . “That kind of speed is what’s unleashing a wave of innovation unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

“The crisis has forced every company into a massive experiment in how to be more nimble, flexible, and fast.” Kate Smaje, senior partner, McKinsey & Company

That realization is coming not a moment too soon. Even before the global health crisis hit, 92 percent of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time. The pandemic just put that whole scenario on steroids. The companies that are leading the way out of this crisis, the ones that will grab market share and set the tone and tempo for others, are the ones first out of the gate. “The fundamental reality is that the accelerating speed of digital means that we are increasingly living in a winner-take-all world,” Smaje says. “But simply going faster isn’t the answer. Rather, winning companies are investing in the tech, data, processes, and people to enable speed through better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn.”

Large incumbents who are winning the digital transformation battle get lots of things right. But McKinsey research has highlighted a few elements that really stand out:

  • Digital speed. Leading companies just operate faster, from reviewing strategies to allocating resources. For example, they reallocate talent and capital four times more quickly than their peers.
  • Ready to reinvent. While businesses need to maintain the profitable elements of their business, business as usual is a dangerous posture. Leading businesses are investing as much in upgrading the core of their business as they are in innovation, often by harnessing technology.
  • All in. These companies aren’t just making decisions faster; the decisions themselves are bolder. Two of the most important areas where this kind of commitment shines through are major acquisitions (leaders spend three times more than their peers) and capital bets (leaders spend two times what their peers do).
  • Data-driven decisions. “The road to recovery is paved with data,” Smaje says. Data is providing the fuel to power better and faster decisions. High-performing organizations are three times more likely than others to say their data and analytics initiatives have contributed at least 20 percent to EBIT (from 2016–19).
  • Customer followers. Being “customer centric” is well established. But competing pressures and priorities mean that the customer can often be sidelined. Top companies that sustain a comprehensive focus on the customer (in addition to operational and IT improvements) can generate economic gains ranging from 20 to 50 percent of the cost base.

The companies you’re going to meet here are adopting and deploying these digital strategies and approaches at warp speed. Aside from moving thousands of employees from the office, call center, and factory floor to home overnight, they’re using these technologies to rejigger supply chains, stand up entirely new e-commerce channels, and leverage AI and predictive analytics to unearth smarter and more sustainable ways to operate.

I have clients saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months. Kate Smaje, senior partner, McKinsey & Company

Speed of digital

Most people don’t think of real estate as a particularly tech-savvy sector, but RXR Realty is proving that assumption wrong. Even before the pandemic hit, the New York City–based commercial and residential real estate developer began investing in the digital capabilities that would set it apart from competitors. “Historically, real estate has been a very transactional business,” explains Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR. “We felt that by leveraging our digital skills, we could create a unique and personalized experience for our customers similar to what they’re used to in other aspects of their lives.”

Prior to the global health crisis, RXR had established a digital lab . The company now has more than 100 data scientists, designers, and engineers across the organization working on digital initiatives. The investment in those capabilities—an app that enables move scheduling, deliveries, dog walking, and rent payments on the residential side, and real-time analytics on heating, cooling, and floor space optimization for tenants on the commercial side—allowed RXR to pivot quickly once the pandemic hit. Suddenly, physical distancing and the need for contactless interactions became paramount for RXR’s tenants.

Today, this team is working around the clock to put in place the health and safety protocols that allow tenants to feel safe as they return to the office. Its platform—RxWell—includes a new mobile app that provides information about air quality and occupancy levels of a building, cleaning status, food delivery options, and shift times for worker arrivals. Employees have their temperatures taken via thermal scanners when they enter a building, and heat maps are available online that show how full a restroom or conference room is at any given time. “The investments we made in our digital capabilities before the pandemic are why we’re able to give people peace of mind now as they begin to return to work,” Rechler says.

Reinventing yourself

The exponential growth in digitization coupled with consumer dissatisfaction with traditional brick-and-mortar banking has been driving the launch of fintechs with amazing speed over the past decade. That fact wasn’t lost on investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, which launched Marcus by Goldman Sachs in 2016. Marcus, the firm’s digital consumer business is, as global head Harit Talwar likes to describe it, “a 150-year-old startup that allows people to take control of their financial lives from their phone.” Over the past four years, this digital-first business has grown deposits to $92 billion and $7 billion in lending balances through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions, and partnerships with the likes of Apple and Amazon. Marcus has millions of customers in the United States and United Kingdom.

Harwit Talwar, CEO, Marcus by Goldman Sachs

A digital-first philosophy, Talwar says, means that decisions on new products and services happen quickly. For instance, when the pandemic hit, Marcus realized that some of its customers were going to need assistance. The team decided to allow folks to defer payments on loans and credit cards for several months, without accruing interest. “The real news is not that we did this, but that we took just 72 hours from the time we realized customers needed help to when we rolled it out,” Talwar says. “We were able to do this because of our agile digital technology model.”

For Indonesian mining company Petrosea, the stakes involved in digital transformation were nothing less than survival. Industry changes, increased regulatory requirements, and society’s pushback on mining’s environmental footprint had culminated in what President Director Hanifa Indradjaya calls “an existential threat” for the company. “We’re not the biggest player in the industry, so that left us quite vulnerable,” he says. “If we were to survive, the status quo was not an option.”

In 2018, the company embarked on a three-pronged approach that addressed diversification away from coal, digitization, and decarbonization of its operations. At its Tabang project site, located in a remote area of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, the company employed a suite of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) , smart sensors, and machine learning. The sensors enable predictive maintenance of its fleets of trucks, allowing the company to use fewer trucks and address breakdowns before they happen.

To move away from coal and toward copper, nickel, gold, and lithium—the minerals that are required as electrification of developing countries continues—the company is developing a suite of AI-enabled digital technologies to find these metals faster and more efficiently. Addressing its considerable reskilling needs—the majority of Tabang’s workers have no more than a high school education—resulted in the development of a mobile app with popular gamification elements, ensuring that employees would stay engaged and complete their training. The upshot: within six months, Tabang became one of the company’s most profitable operations by reducing costs and increasing production. “Technology enabled us to innovate our business model and remain relevant,” Indradjaya says. “A digital mindset now percolates through every aspect of the company.”

Data-driven decisions

Freeport-McMoRan is combining the power of AI and the institutional knowledge  of its veteran engineers and metallurgists to take its operations to another level. Harry “Red” Conger, chief operating officer of the Phoenix-based company, says real-time data is allowing Freeport to lower operating costs, stand more resilient in tough economic climates (and when commodity prices are falling) and make faster decisions. “A learn-fast culture means we put things into action,” he says. “We don’t sit around thinking about it.”

Harry “Red” Conger, COO, Freeport-McMoRan

Case in point: in 2018, Freeport was looking to add capacity at one of its more efficient copper mines—the sprawling complex in Bagdad, Arizona. A $200 million expansion plan, it figured, would enable the company to extract more copper from the site. But a few months later, copper prices dropped—and so, too, was the expensive expansion plan.

Quickly, the company figured out another way. Rather than a huge capital outlay, Freeport began building out an AI model that would allow it to wring more productivity out of the Bagdad site. Decades of mining data—what Conger calls “recipes”—had always dictated the mining process, including how machines and other equipment were run. Data scientists were now being brought in to challenge those long-standing processes.

“Our engineers thought that it was blasphemy that data scientists, who don’t know anything about metallurgy, were proposing that they knew how to run the plant better than they did,” Conger says. But what the AI data showed was that some of the historical recipes were limiting what Freeport was getting out of the Bagdad plant. “The AI model was telling us how much faster the equipment could be run and its maximum capacity,” he adds. By analyzing every aspect of the mining process, the AI models were showing what was possible.

The engineers and metallurgists worked hand in hand with the data scientists. Over the next few months, they began to trust more of the AI recommendations on how to optimize the Bagdad plant. Today, the mine’s processing rate is 10 percent higher than it’s ever been, Conger says, and this same agile AI model is being used at eight of the company’s other mines, including one in Peru that has five times the capacity of Bagdad. Says Conger: “I have people tell me this is the only way they want to work.”

A follow-the-customer mindset

One of the biggest transformations that’s occurred throughout the pandemic is how customers shop. Store closings pushed millions of consumers online, many for the first time. Adapting to this shift quickly and seamlessly became the order of the day for so many retailers the world over. Among them: Levi Strauss and Majid Al Futtaim Retail.

As a company that’s been around for more than 100 years, Levi Strauss knows how to pace itself. But the pandemic threw into overdrive initiatives that were planned out for later this year and beyond. Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh says the San Francisco–based apparel company was ready. Investments in digital technologies, including AI and predictive analytics, before the pandemic hit allowed Levi’s to react quickly and decisively as consumers switched to e-commerce channels in droves.

To meet demand, the company began fulfilling online orders not just with merchandise in fulfillment centers but from its stores. Prior to the health crisis, Singh says it would have taken weeks or months to work out the logistics of such a move, but as the pandemic rolled across the country, Levi’s was able to accomplish the shift in a matter of days. It quickly launched curbside pickup at about 80 percent of its roughly 200 US-based stores. And while it launched its mobile app before the appearance of COVID-19, the company has leveraged it in creative ways to connect with consumers during the pandemic. “It was important for us to enhance our engagement and stay connected with customers who were at home,” he says.

Even before the global health crisis hit, 92 percent of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time.

Last year, Levi’s began making investments in AI and data in order to get a better handle on when and how to run promotions. A campaign that ran in May throughout Europe was launched using information gleaned from an AI model and wound up driving sales that were five times higher than in 2019. “AI gives us the ability to quickly transform data and facts into action,” Singh says. “We’re using this intelligence alongside our own consumer expertise and judgment to drive better results.”

Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based conglomerate that operates the Carrefour grocery chain in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, was building its digital muscle long before COVID-19. It decided back in 2015 that it needed to be as prominent online as it is in its 315 brick-and-mortar stores across 16 countries, says Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail. The company was making progress, but Weiss says there was little urgency to move any faster.

Then the pandemic hit. Online grocery orders for the company exploded, and they are now 400 percent higher than what they were in 2019. “The pandemic pushed us to accelerate our digital transformation,” Weiss says. “We are implementing in the coming 18 months things we originally said we wanted to achieve in five years.”

To accommodate increased online shopping demand, the company quickly converted some physical stores to fulfillment centers. When data showed that more capacity was needed, logistics managers quickly arranged to have a 54,000-square-foot online fulfillment center tent erected and operational in five weeks. Complete with rooms for frozen and chilled food, the facility stocks more than 8,000 items and is now handling 3,000 online orders a day, making it the latest and largest of 75 fulfillment centers launched this year.

Weiss says the company expanded delivery services through initiatives such as Click and Collect, redesigned its app to make it easier for customers to use, and launched contactless payment options such as Mobile Scan and Go in its stores, which allow customers to scan items on, and pay with, their smartphones. It also launched an online marketplace with 420,000 new products from other retailers whose stores were closed during the lockdown, enabling them to continue to sell their products online.

“No matter how our customers want to shop, we can be there for them,” Weiss says. “We developed this agility through the pandemic, and I want to keep it as we go forward.”

The road ahead will certainly have challenges, these leaders acknowledge. But there’s also a tremendous amount of hope because of the doors that a digital-first strategy can open. “The companies that are winning aren’t making incremental improvements,” Smaje says. “They’re harnessing technology to reimagine how business runs and committing resources at sufficient scale to make sure the change sticks.”

Go behind the scenes and get more insights with “ Kate Smaje: Why businesses must act faster than ever on digitization ” from our New at McKinsey blog.

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What Is a Case Study?

Weighing the pros and cons of this method of research

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

what is a case study in technology

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

what is a case study in technology

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

  • Pros and Cons

What Types of Case Studies Are Out There?

Where do you find data for a case study, how do i write a psychology case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The point of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, we got you—here are some rules of APA format to reference.  

At a Glance

A case study, or an in-depth study of a person, group, or event, can be a useful research tool when used wisely. In many cases, case studies are best used in situations where it would be difficult or impossible for you to conduct an experiment. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a lot of˜ information about a specific individual or group of people. However, it's important to be cautious of any bias we draw from them as they are highly subjective.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Case Studies?

A case study can have its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult or impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

  • Allows researchers to capture information on the 'how,' 'what,' and 'why,' of something that's implemented
  • Gives researchers the chance to collect information on why one strategy might be chosen over another
  • Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research

On the other hand, a case study can have some drawbacks:

  • It cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
  • Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
  • It may not be scientifically rigorous
  • It can lead to bias

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they want to explore a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. Through their insights, researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

It's important to remember that the insights from case studies cannot be used to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

  • Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
  • Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
  • Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language learning was possible, even after missing critical periods for language development. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse denied her the opportunity to learn a language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might use:

  • Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those who live there.
  • Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
  • Explanatory case studies : These   are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
  • Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
  • Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
  • Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic case study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers use depends on the unique characteristics of the situation and the case itself.

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
  • Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
  • Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
  • Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
  • Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
  • Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines you need to follow. If you are writing your case study for a professional publication, check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Here is a general outline of what should be included in a case study.

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

  • Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
  • Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
  • Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Need More Tips?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

  • Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, use their name or a pseudonym.
  • Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
  • Remember to use APA format when citing references .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach .  BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100.

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Satellite photo showing a container ship entangled with the wreckage of a bridge.

Baltimore bridge collapse: a bridge engineer explains what happened, and what needs to change

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Associate Professor, Civil Engineering, Monash University

Disclosure statement

Colin Caprani receives funding from the Department of Transport (Victoria) and the Level Crossing Removal Project. He is also Chair of the Confidential Reporting Scheme for Safer Structures - Australasia, Chair of the Australian Regional Group of the Institution of Structural Engineers, and Australian National Delegate for the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.

Monash University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.

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When the container ship MV Dali, 300 metres long and massing around 100,000 tonnes, lost power and slammed into one of the support piers of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, the bridge collapsed in moments . Six people are presumed dead, several others injured, and the city and region are expecting a months-long logistical nightmare in the absence of a crucial transport link.

It was a shocking event, not only for the public but for bridge engineers like me. We work very hard to ensure bridges are safe, and overall the probability of being injured or worse in a bridge collapse remains even lower than the chance of being struck by lightning.

However, the images from Baltimore are a reminder that safety can’t be taken for granted. We need to remain vigilant.

So why did this bridge collapse? And, just as importantly, how might we make other bridges more safe against such collapse?

A 20th century bridge meets a 21st century ship

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was built through the mid 1970s and opened in 1977. The main structure over the navigation channel is a “continuous truss bridge” in three sections or spans.

The bridge rests on four supports, two of which sit each side of the navigable waterway. It is these two piers that are critical to protect against ship impacts.

And indeed, there were two layers of protection: a so-called “dolphin” structure made from concrete, and a fender. The dolphins are in the water about 100 metres upstream and downstream of the piers. They are intended to be sacrificed in the event of a wayward ship, absorbing its energy and being deformed in the process but keeping the ship from hitting the bridge itself.

Diagram of a bridge

The fender is the last layer of protection. It is a structure made of timber and reinforced concrete placed around the main piers. Again, it is intended to absorb the energy of any impact.

Fenders are not intended to absorb impacts from very large vessels . And so when the MV Dali, weighing more than 100,000 tonnes, made it past the protective dolphins, it was simply far too massive for the fender to withstand.

Read more: I've captained ships into tight ports like Baltimore, and this is how captains like me work with harbor pilots to avoid deadly collisions

Video recordings show a cloud of dust appearing just before the bridge collapsed, which may well have been the fender disintegrating as it was crushed by the ship.

Once the massive ship had made it past both the dolphin and the fender, the pier – one of the bridge’s four main supports – was simply incapable of resisting the impact. Given the size of the vessel and its likely speed of around 8 knots (15 kilometres per hour), the impact force would have been around 20,000 tonnes .

Bridges are getting safer

This was not the first time a ship hit the Francis Scott Bridge. There was another collision in 1980 , damaging a fender badly enough that it had to be replaced.

Around the world, 35 major bridge collapses resulting in fatalities were caused by collisions between 1960 and 2015, according to a 2018 report from the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. Collisions between ships and bridges in the 1970s and early 1980s led to a significant improvement in the design rules for protecting bridges from impact.

A greenish book cover with the title Ship Collision With Bridges.

Further impacts in the 1970s and early 1980s instigated significant improvements in the design rules for impact.

The International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering’s Ship Collision with Bridges guide, published in 1993, and the American Association of State Highway and Transporation Officials’ Guide Specification and Commentary for Vessel Collision Design of Highway Bridges (1991) changed how bridges were designed.

In Australia, the Australian Standard for Bridge Design (published in 2017) requires designers to think about the biggest vessel likely to come along in the next 100 years, and what would happen if it were heading for any bridge pier at full speed. Designers need to consider the result of both head-on collisions and side-on, glancing blows. As a result, many newer bridges protect their piers with entire human-made islands.

Of course, these improvements came too late to influence the design of the Francis Scott Key Bridge itself.

Lessons from disaster

So what are the lessons apparent at this early stage?

First, it’s clear the protection measures in place for this bridge were not enough to handle this ship impact. Today’s cargo ships are much bigger than those of the 1970s, and it seems likely the Francis Scott Key Bridge was not designed with a collision like this in mind.

So one lesson is that we need to consider how the vessels near our bridges are changing. This means we cannot just accept the structure as it was built, but ensure the protection measures around our bridges are evolving alongside the ships around them.

Photo shows US Coast Guard boat sailing towards a container ship entangled in the wreckage of a large bridge.

Second, and more generally, we must remain vigilant in managing our bridges. I’ve written previously about the current level of safety of Australian bridges, but also about how we can do better.

This tragic event only emphasises the need to spend more on maintaining our ageing infrastructure. This is the only way to ensure it remains safe and functional for the demands we put on it today.

  • Engineering
  • Infrastructure
  • Urban infrastructure
  • container ships
  • Baltimore bridge collapse

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Biocloud Project Manager - Australian Biocommons


The Effects of Climate Change

The effects of human-caused global warming are happening now, are irreversible for people alive today, and will worsen as long as humans add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

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  • We already see effects scientists predicted, such as the loss of sea ice, melting glaciers and ice sheets, sea level rise, and more intense heat waves.
  • Scientists predict global temperature increases from human-made greenhouse gases will continue. Severe weather damage will also increase and intensify.

Earth Will Continue to Warm and the Effects Will Be Profound


Global climate change is not a future problem. Changes to Earth’s climate driven by increased human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are already having widespread effects on the environment: glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking, river and lake ice is breaking up earlier, plant and animal geographic ranges are shifting, and plants and trees are blooming sooner.

Effects that scientists had long predicted would result from global climate change are now occurring, such as sea ice loss, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves.

The magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks depend strongly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions, and projected adverse impacts and related losses and damages escalate with every increment of global warming.

what is a case study in technology

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Some changes (such as droughts, wildfires, and extreme rainfall) are happening faster than scientists previously assessed. In fact, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change — modern humans have never before seen the observed changes in our global climate, and some of these changes are irreversible over the next hundreds to thousands of years.

Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for many decades, mainly due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, published in 2021, found that human emissions of heat-trapping gases have already warmed the climate by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since 1850-1900. 1 The global average temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees C (about 3 degrees F) within the next few decades. These changes will affect all regions of Earth.

The severity of effects caused by climate change will depend on the path of future human activities. More greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more climate extremes and widespread damaging effects across our planet. However, those future effects depend on the total amount of carbon dioxide we emit. So, if we can reduce emissions, we may avoid some of the worst effects.

The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss the brief, rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.

Here are some of the expected effects of global climate change on the United States, according to the Third and Fourth National Climate Assessment Reports:

Future effects of global climate change in the United States:

sea level rise

U.S. Sea Level Likely to Rise 1 to 6.6 Feet by 2100

Global sea level has risen about 8 inches (0.2 meters) since reliable record-keeping began in 1880. By 2100, scientists project that it will rise at least another foot (0.3 meters), but possibly as high as 6.6 feet (2 meters) in a high-emissions scenario. Sea level is rising because of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms. Image credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Sun shining brightly over misty mountains.

Climate Changes Will Continue Through This Century and Beyond

Global climate is projected to continue warming over this century and beyond. Image credit: Khagani Hasanov, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Satellite image of a hurricane.

Hurricanes Will Become Stronger and More Intense

Scientists project that hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates will increase as the climate continues to warm. Image credit: NASA

what is a case study in technology

More Droughts and Heat Waves

Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves (periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks) are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense and less frequent. Image credit: NOAA

2013 Rim Fire

Longer Wildfire Season

Warming temperatures have extended and intensified wildfire season in the West, where long-term drought in the region has heightened the risk of fires. Scientists estimate that human-caused climate change has already doubled the area of forest burned in recent decades. By around 2050, the amount of land consumed by wildfires in Western states is projected to further increase by two to six times. Even in traditionally rainy regions like the Southeast, wildfires are projected to increase by about 30%.

Changes in Precipitation Patterns

Climate change is having an uneven effect on precipitation (rain and snow) in the United States, with some locations experiencing increased precipitation and flooding, while others suffer from drought. On average, more winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century. Image credit: Marvin Nauman/FEMA

Crop field.

Frost-Free Season (and Growing Season) will Lengthen

The length of the frost-free season, and the corresponding growing season, has been increasing since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen, which will affect ecosystems and agriculture.

Heatmap showing scorching temperatures in U.S. West

Global Temperatures Will Continue to Rise

Summer of 2023 was Earth's hottest summer on record, 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (F) (0.23 degrees Celsius (C)) warmer than any other summer in NASA’s record and 2.1 degrees F (1.2 C) warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980. Image credit: NASA

Satellite map of arctic sea ice.

Arctic Is Very Likely to Become Ice-Free

Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is expected to continue decreasing, and the Arctic Ocean will very likely become essentially ice-free in late summer if current projections hold. This change is expected to occur before mid-century.

U.S. Regional Effects

Climate change is bringing different types of challenges to each region of the country. Some of the current and future impacts are summarized below. These findings are from the Third 3 and Fourth 4 National Climate Assessment Reports, released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program .

  • Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose increasing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Farmers can explore new crop options, but these adaptations are not cost- or risk-free. Moreover, adaptive capacity , which varies throughout the region, could be overwhelmed by a changing climate. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.
  • Northwest. Changes in the timing of peak flows in rivers and streams are reducing water supplies and worsening competing demands for water. Sea level rise, erosion, flooding, risks to infrastructure, and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire incidence and severity, heat waves, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases are causing widespread forest die-off.
  • Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture, and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.
  • Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also worsen a range of risks to the Great Lakes.
  • Southwest. Climate change has caused increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks. In turn, these changes have made wildfires more numerous and severe. The warming climate has also caused a decline in water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, and triggered heat-related health impacts in cities. In coastal areas, flooding and erosion are additional concerns.

1. IPCC 2021, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis , the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

2. IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

3. USGCRP 2014, Third Climate Assessment .

4. USGCRP 2017, Fourth Climate Assessment .

Related Resources

what is a case study in technology

A Degree of Difference

So, the Earth's average temperature has increased about 2 degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century. What's the big deal?

what is a case study in technology

What’s the difference between climate change and global warming?

“Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. “Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet, including rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times.

what is a case study in technology

Is it too late to prevent climate change?

Humans have caused major climate changes to happen already, and we have set in motion more changes still. However, if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the rise in global temperatures would begin to flatten within a few years. Temperatures would then plateau but remain well-elevated for many, many centuries.

Discover More Topics From NASA

Explore Earth Science

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Earth Science in Action

Earth Action

Earth Science Data

The sum of Earth's plants, on land and in the ocean, changes slightly from year to year as weather patterns shift.

Facts About Earth

what is a case study in technology

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Boosted GP practice access for patients thanks to new phone technology

  • General practice
  • GP online services
  • Primary care

More patients will be able to get through to their GP surgery for an appointment, thanks to upgraded phone technology rolled out across the country.   

Almost every GP practice in England has upgraded their phone systems – a key part of the GP access recovery plan.   

More than 5,800  GP practices use a digital system for answering patients’ calls – enabling GP teams to manage multiple calls and helping to end the ‘8am rush’ for appointments.    

During trials, this increased patients’ ability to get through to their practice by almost a third.     

  More than nine in ten ( 92  per cent) of GP practices in England now have cloud based systems – this means phone lines can be expanded and won’t ever be engaged.  The remaining practices are agreeing dates within the next month for upgrades to happen with tech suppliers and are expected to happen from next month.   

Extra training was also provided to staff answering calls at surgeries, so that people who need to see their family doctor are prioritised while those who would be better seen by other staff such as physiotherapists or mental health specialists can do so more quickly.    

Abbey Medical Centre in Kenilworth in Warwickshire reduced the number of abandoned calls to their practice by 90% by using data from their upgraded telephone system to identify when lines were busiest and to ensure more reception staff were available at peak times.    

The GP practice also focused on their most frequent callers – offering vulnerable patients more support from the same clinicians with their appointment usage reducing by three-quarters. The 25 patients who had the most appointments accounted for 8% of the total number of appointments available (50 out of 625 in a week)  

Latest figures show that GPs delivered 364 million appointments in the last year – 57 million more annually than before the pandemic.    

The primary care access recovery plan also set out plans for patients who need prescription medication to be able to get it directly from a pharmacy, without a GP appointment, for seven common conditions including earache, sore throat, or urinary tract infections.  

The actions set out in the plan are expected to free up around 15 million GP appointments over the next two years for patients who need them most.  

Dr Amanda Doyle, National Director of Primary Care and Community Services for NHS England, said:    

“The NHS has delivered on its promise to upgrade GP telephone systems to make it easier for patients to contact their surgery. This is welcome news for patients and just one of a range of measures to make it quicker for people to get the help they need from their local GP team.   

“Thanks to the hard work of staff more than 1.4 million appointments in general practice take place each working day which is a significant increase in the last four years and should really help patients trying to access their surgery.”

Health Minister Andrea Leadsom said:  

“Backed by £240 million and the support of NHS England, nearly every general practice now has the ability to answer multiple calls efficiently with these upgrades.  

“This will significantly reduce the 8am rush to book an appointment – with trials showing these measures could improve the number of people accessing GP services   by almost a third.  

“GPs carry out vital work to support communities and patients, and I’m pleased that there are now 800 more doctors working in general practice compared to last February. Last year, 50 million more GP appointments were delivered than five years ago, and the first ever Long Term Workforce Plan will increase GP training places by 50% to 6,000.”  

Abbey Medical Centre has transformed the way patients access care following participation in the General Practice Improvement Programme.     

The general practice in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, used data provided by their new digital telephony system to identify when telephone lines were busiest and to ensure more reception staff were available at peak times. Over 6 months, the number of abandoned calls fell from 247 to just 17 a day, a reduction of more than 90%.     

They also promoted the use of forms on their website to request appointments and other kinds of care. The number of patients who used them grew from an average of 10 a day to 70, further reducing telephone demand and the “8am rush” for appointments – one of the key priorities of the Primary care recovery plan.     

A key initiative to improve access for all patients focussed on the care they provided to 25 patients who had the most appointments. Their appointments at the practice accounted for 8% of the total number available (50 out of 625 in a week) to the practice’s 16,000 patients.     

Over 6 months, the practice team steadily improved how they managed the care of these vulnerable patients, focussing on ensuring care continuity from the right clinical professional, usually a GP or nurse. Many of these patients needed wound dressing and care.     

The practice developed a whole-team protocol and approach for managing wound care, including consistent steps for practice nurses, new communications methods to support team working and clear guidance on referral options so that, if required, patients could get timely access to specialist care. After 6 months, the number of appointments needed by these patients fell to 2% of all appointments (15/800), a reduction of 75%. As well as providing better, safer care for them, the new approach freed up 48 nurse and GP appointments (18 GP, 30 nurse) each week for other needy patients.     

Ryan Smith, Non-Clinical Partner at the practice said:  “The General Practice Improvement Programme has really helped us continue to improve our services so that more patients can get the care they need more easily. It’s particularly helped the patients who we previously saw most frequently, many as often as twice a week, by enabling us to focus on how we provide the best care for them, so they get the care they need with fewer appointments, which is better for them and means there are more appointments available for others who also need them.”     


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