Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2013

Carl Zeiss and Free-Form Production: Can We See Clearly Yet?

by Willy Shih

Abstract

The prescription eyeglass lens industry was complicated and highly fragmented, and even though many of the tools and techniques employed have been relatively unchanged over the last century, there was still a surprising pace of innovation. An aging population around the world meant the demand for progressive lenses was increasing rapidly, and innovations in production technology meant an evolving competitive dynamic with potentially quite different patterns of manufacturing and distribution. Are there theories that Zeiss managers can use to see clearly how industry evolution might portend shifts in the value network?

Keywords: History; Demand and Consumers; Disruptive Innovation; Vertical Integration; Theory; Technology Adoption; Health Industry;

Citation:

Shih, Willy. "Carl Zeiss and Free-Form Production: Can We See Clearly Yet?" Harvard Business School Case 614-007, July 2013.