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Innovation: The HP Labs Way

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As part of ASK Silicon Valley’s study on innovation, Wilson Farrar interviews Prith Banerjee, Director of HP Labs. Here are some key insights from Banerjee, a former academic and entrepreneur, who took over innovation strategy at HP Labs a couple of years ago.

“First, have enough resources. Second, when you do tech-transfer, transfer the people with the technology.”

To put his principles into action the first thing Banerjee did was whittle down over 150 projects each with 2-3 people on them down to 21 “big bets.” Each of these initiatives was beefed up with more resources. Second, here is what Banerjee says about effective technology transfer from a research organization into a BU where the technology typically gets commercialized.

“Even with the best of intentions, you can’t just throw things over the wall. Tech transfer best happens when you transfer people with the technology.”

A couple of other interesting approaches that seem to be working well for HP. A technology review board that comprises business and technology leaders from Labs and BUs oversees the progress of these initiatives. A effective way to engage and get buy-in from the BUs and ensure that the technology is relevant to the BUs. Also temporally there is a good variation within the initiatives w.r.t when the research is expected to bear fruit ranging from 18 months all the way to 5-10 years out.

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Written by Varma Chanderraju

February 21, 2010 at 11:18 am

Posted in Innovation

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