Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The HP Queen Bee 

Carly's contribution to HP? Well, Philippe Weissbecker sums up one of them in his article:

Innovation comes from the front lines, but the top sets the tone.
The leadership at Hewlett-Packard used to encourage the notion that innovation should bubble up from below. HP was an early adopter of quality, which grew out of the company's Japanese unit. Change management, reengineering, logistics--HP was a laboratory for new innovations. Back when HP was pursuing knowledge management, I asked whether the CEO, Lew Platt, was interested in the idea. The general reaction was that the two words had probably never passed his lips--and nobody cared. They didn't need his buy-in. Instead, they pursued an idea at the business-unit level; then they developed some approach to sharing the idea across units. The real test of an idea was whether people throughout the organization--not just the CEO--were attracted to it.

Nowadays, I gather that HP has become much more hierarchical. If the idea doesn't have Carly Fiorina's sign-off, it won't get very far. In that environment, the idea practitioner really needs to understand the incentive for change--that is, where the demand lies--and ensure that the idea lines up with the leadership's focus.

Going forward by going backward. I think it's related to "we had to destroy the village in order to save it."


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