How W.L. Gore is training employees to explore new business opportunities

How many people at your company have what it takes to explore new market opportunities?

Hannon-GoreAt privately-held W.L. Gore & Associates, headquartered in Newark, Del., the answer was “not enough.” So the company, which makes everything from guitar strings to GORE-TEX fabric to medical devices, has now run three classes of employees through a nine-week lean startup training program, totaling about 100 participants so far. A fourth cohort will begin in the fall.

“We started as an electronics products company,” says Greg Hannon, right, Head of Innovation at Gore. “We grew from that to include fabrics, and later, medical products and industrial products. So we have good examples from the past of using the cash existing businesses generated to explore new spaces.”

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