The HP Phenomenon: Innovation and Business Transformation

The HP Phenomenon: Innovation and Business Transformation

The HP Phenomenon: Innovation and Business Transformation

The HP Phenomenon: Innovation and Business Transformation

Synopsis

The HP Phenomenon tells the story of how Hewlett-Packard innovated and transformed itself six times while most of its competitors were unable to make even one significant transformation. It describes those transformations, how they started, how they prevailed, and how the challenges along the way were overcome- reinforcing David Packard's observation that "change and conflict are the only real constants." The book also details the philosophies, practices, and organizational principles that enabled this unprecedented sequence of innovations and transformations. In so doing, the authors capture the elusive "spirit of innovation" required to fuel growth and transformation in all companies: innovation that is customer-centered, contribution-driven, and growth-focused.

The corporate ethos described in this book- with its emphasis on bottom-up innovation and sufficient flexibility to see results brought to the marketplace and brought alive inside the company- is radically different from current management "best practice." Thus, while primarily a history of Hewlett-Packard, The HP Phenomenon also holds profound lessons for engineers, managers, and organizational leaders hoping to transform their own organizations.

"At last! The 'HP Way, that most famous of all corporate philosophies, has taken on an almost mythical status. But how did it really work? How did it make Hewlett-Packard the fastest growing, most admired, large company of the last half-century? Now, two important figures in HP's history, Chuck House and Raymond Price, have finally given us the whole story. The HP Phenomenon is the book we've been waiting for: the definitive treatise on how Bill and Dave ran their legendary company, day to day and year to year. It should be a core text for generations of young entrepreneurs and managers, a roadmap to building a great enterprise."- Michael S. Malone, author of Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company

Excerpt

You might think twice about reading a book by the only person in the history of Hewlett-Packard to win the company's Award for Meritorious Defiance.

But it turns out Chuck House is an intriguing storyteller with a very important topic and tons of inside information.

Chuck was given the “Hewlett-Packard Award for Meritorious Defiance” in 1982 to honor his indefatigable (some might call it bullheaded) pursuit of a large-screen electrostatic monitor—a product that the initial target customer had declined (“The display is too fuzzy”); his boss had killed (“Does not meet spec”); his division's marketing department had roundly rejected (“There are too few customers”); and the company's CEO, Dave Packard, had unequivocally deep-sixed while reviewing the product (“When I come back in a year, I don't want to see that product in the lab!”).

When Chuck heard that the CEO had killed his product, his response was typically entrepreneurial: “If we have it in production before he returns, he won't find it in the lab!” His courageous boss, Dar Howard, funded the project for another year, and, indeed, when Packard came back a year later, he did not see it in the lab: the monitor had already gone through accelerated testing and into production, and was on its way to earning over $10 million a year in sales.

Chuck and Dar were honored for this disobedience—which tells us that Hewlett-Packard was very different from the typical company of the day. It is this difference, and Chuck's total immersion as the HP story evolved, that makes this book so fascinating.

Chuck started at HP in Palo Alto, California, in 1962 as an oscilloscope designer. By then, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard had already moved well beyond the small engineering job shop they had founded in a garage in 1939 and become leaders in measuring equipment for electronics, communication . . .

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