How Corning Leverages Its Organizational Memory to Create New Industries

Rahul Kapoor, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: The objective of this project is to document the history of Gorilla Glass―a material developed by Corning (formerly Corning Glass Works) that enables the touchscreen devices of the 21st Century. Corning started developing the predecessor technologies to Gorilla Glass in the 1960s, discontinued the development in 1971, resumed development in 2005 after a 34-year break, and commercialized Gorilla Glass in 2007 in the launch of the iPhone. In unpacking how Corning was able to remember and resurrect this technology, we hope to show how organizational memory for past discoveries can play a critical role in an organization’s ability to achieve self-renewal through not only developing new products, but also creating new industries.