Case Study

McLaren Applied Technologies: Building a disruptive business

3 pages
September 2018
Reference: IMD-7-2029

In 2016, Geoff McGrath, Managing Director of McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) accepted that the company he was hired to build was at an inflection point. MAT was the smallest of three divisions within McLaren Technology Group (MTG), the others being McLaren Racing, operator of the McLaren Formula One racing team, and McLaren Automotive, builder of high performance road cars. MAT had been formed in 2004 as a spinoff organization to apply McLaren’s competences in automobile racing to other fields. Twelve years of operations had led to modest success, but the company had yet to build a sustainable business model. McGrath had been given full freedom to explore different options, with two conditions: first, MAT needed to fund its growth through operations, and second, it could not damage the McLaren brand.

Learning Objective
  • To understand the resources and capabilities that McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) has access to, that it could use to enter into and disrupt a new industry. When any company is considering becoming a disruptor, it must understand the unique and valuable resources and capabilities it has at its disposal, that it can employ to disrupt another sector. In the case of MAT, these resources and capabilities were not immediately obvious.
  • To define which industries MAT could enter with these resources and capabilities and determine why it could compete and win in those sectors. In the case of MAT, it was successful in some sectors, like manufacturing optimization, advanced simulation of air traffic, and professional sports, and less successful in others, like management consulting and pharmaceuticals. It turned out that its main strengths lied in collecting, modelling, and simulating large quantities of complex data in real time.
  • To better understand the capabilities that underpin organizational agility. MAT embodies the three agility sub-capabilities of hyperawareness, informed decision-making, and fast execution.
Digital Transformation, New Business Model, Digital Disruption, Analytics, Simulation
Europe, United Kingdom
McLaren Applied Technologies, Manufacturing, Technology
Published Sources
© 2018
Available Languages
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics