Case Detail

Case Summary

Illinois Superconductor: Forecasting Demand For Superconducting Filters

Case Number: 5-104-033, Year Published: 2006

HBS Number: KEL096

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Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; Lisa Damkroger; Greg McGuirk; Julie Milbratz; John Rountree

Key Concepts

Forecasting, Diffusion Models, Analogical Forecasting, Conjoint Analysis, Network Externalities, Telecommunications Industry, Wireless Communications, Chain-Ratio Method


Illinois Superconductor Corporation was a technology startup that came up with an innovative new superconducting filter for use in cellular base stations. It needed to estimate the demand for its filters. The manager came up with a simple chain-ratio-based forecasting model that, while simple and intuitive, was too simplistic. The company had also commissioned a research firm to develop a model-based forecast. The model-based forecast used diffusion modeling, analogy-based forecasting and conjoint analysis to create a forecast that incorporated customer preferences, diffusion effects, and competitive dynamics. Students are asked to use the data to generate a model-based forecast, and to reconcile the model-based forecast with the manager’s forecast. The case requires sophisticated spreadsheet modeling, and the application of advanced forecasting techniques.

Number of Pages: 32

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing, Technology

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Chicago, IL

Industry: Wireless Communication Technology

Organization Name: Illinois Superconductor Corporation

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Director of Marketing

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 1996