Align Technology: Clearing the Way for Digital

By Robert Siegel, Patrick Robinson
2019 | Case No. E686 | Length 19 pgs.
Align Technologies was a leader in disrupting the orthodontist and dental markets with the original development of clear plastic aligners, which allowed for customized solutions to malocclusions, the incorrect alignment of teeth and jaws. Unlike traditional braces, plastic aligners enabled more flexibility and customization by combining digital and physical technologies that were convenient and attractive than other alternatives. As the company began to enter its third decade, the leadership team was dealing with the challenges of new competition, expiring patents, how to improve international growth and how best to increase operational efficiency.

Learning Objective

This case explores how leadership needs to simultaneously balance competencies in both the digital and physical realms. In addition, the case looks at what happens when a company that started as a disruptor becomes positions as an incumbent, and how it must both maintain growth and innovation while defending against new challenges and market entrants.
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