Disc Labeling Standard

Client Computer Company
Location Worldwide
Scope Of Work Launching Adjacent Business

Project Detail

Created a consumer disc labeling standard with 100+ licensees


A manager at a major computer company had a unique idea for how to label optical discs (i.e. CD, DVD). The inventor believed the same laser that wrote the data on the disc could also be used to create a label on other side using a laser-sensitive imaging layer. Early demonstrations showed the technical feasibility and the foundational patents were filed.

The invention faced a number of technical and commercial obstacles. There was a high level of technical risk and investment to develop the product to meet the volume and cost requirements. The computer company was not willing to make this level of investment given the market uncertainties which included getting the disc drive industry on board. The hyper-competitive optical disc market was singularly focused on increasing storage capacity and speed at continually falling prices. Even adding $1 in manufacturing cost for a new feature presented a barrier. Creating a proprietary solution was not a winning strategy.


ICG led a Collaborative Strategy Development project to identify a viable business option for this compelling technology. After considering a number of options, the client decided to create a new industry standard for all computer companies, drive suppliers, and disc brands.

This strategy faced a very high level of uncertainty making it an unattractive investment. ICG and the client optimized the Evidence Based Execution plan to reduce uncertainties rapidly and at low cost. The client was asked to invest in the Guided Business Launch one phase at a time. The team efficiently reduced uncertainty and met their commitments including the following:

  • The consumer value proposition and price points were established through a rapid and inexpensive on-line consumer panels conducted around the world.
  • The disc industry leaders were signed up as partners before development funding started.
  • A royalty structure was negotiated to encourage all licensees to maximize their production.
  • All licensees needed to approve a trademark that was neutral for all industry participants (LightScribe).
  • The patent portfolio needed to be expanded to cover all elements needed for a standard.


Within the first year after launch over 50% of disc drives were LightScribe branded and 3 of the top 5 computer companies were featuring LightScribe to consumers. Within four years over 100 companies had become LightScribe licensees and the technology had become the standard for disc labeling.