Local Students Help Bell and Howell Validate New Market Opportunities

One of the most valuable things about Bell and Howell’s headquarters is access. Located in Durham, NC, headquarters lives near three Tier 1 research universities – North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Since 2015, a team of Bell and Howell’s executive and product leaders have been working closely with the Center for Innovation Management Studies at NC State’s Poole College of Management. The CIMS Business Colaboratories provides a unique opportunity for continuing executive education. It also challenges companies to develop business solutions that follow innovation management.

Recently, NC State professors Paul Mugge and Steve Markham led participants through a workshop. The design created a deliberate map between invention and true market value. As a result, an opportunity to work with graduate students was identified.

Problem Solving Together

This semester, a group of five graduate students worked on a project validating new market opportunities for Bell and Howell. The project focused on vision hardware and data tracking solutions. The goals: focus on our Enterprise Software solutions, articulate the strengths of our business units, and explore market segments.

The student team includes traditional MBA students, as well those with diverse areas of study. Such backgrounds include Wood and Paper Science and Biomanufacturing. All spent time during the first class session making introductions, getting a background on Bell and Howell, and learning project expectations

Recently, the students came to our offices for a tour, where they got more detailed information on our company’s strengths. They also got hands-on experience with the technology. As they spent the afternoon together, they asked questions such as, which markets we had already explored, what differentiated us from our customers and where we traditionally succeed or struggle.

As a result, their understanding of the project objectives deepened.

Bell and Howell managers are looking forward to working with these curious and driven students throughout the semester. Great value exists in looking at an established company from a new perspective and this team is bound to present an imaginative but attainable project opportunity.