EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists

Innovation Strategy and Ecosystem


  1. Match Your Innovation Strategy to Your Innovation Ecosystem (HBS materials)
  2. Breakeven Analysis
  3. HP: Flight of the Kittyhawk (A) (HBS materials)

Case Summary

Hewlett-Packard decided that, to grow more rapidly, it needed to design a revolutionary disk drive product that would create an entirely new market or application for magnetic recording technology. The company followed most of the "rules" good managers follow in such situations: heavyweight project team, lots of senior management support, etc. But it still failed.

Discussion Questions

  1. Was HP trying to create a new disk drive or a new market? What was the driving force behind the formation of the Kittyhawk team?
  2. How would you describe HP's culture and its relation to the culture of the Kittyhawk team? How did HP's culture influence the project approval process?
  3. What are the potential markets for the Kittyhawk, and what are the innovation ecosystems surrounding each one? What are the risks?
  4. Compare the "project parameters" on p.5, the "key objectives", on p.6, and the Kittyhawk team's actions.
  5. What is the breakeven volume HP must sell to recover its costs by year three? Use data from p.5 ("project parameters")? Is this BEV reasonable?
  6. Why has the Kittyhawk not met its targets? What recommendation would you make to Spanner at the upcoming monthly review meeting at the end of the case?

SCPD Students

See the SCPD Resource Page for general information on assignment submission, team building, expectations, and getting help. See the SCPD Grading Page for evaluation procedures for daily written assignments.

Written work should be submitted using SCPD Homework Processing procedures.

All times listed below are PDT (California time).

  1. Complete the assigned readings and submit answers to the Discussion Questions in Writeup 1 (1 page) by 9am Thursday 4/26/2012.
  2. The videotaped class meeting should be available via SCPD by 2pm, Thursday 4/26/2012.
  3. Watch the video of the class meeting and meet with your team to discuss.
  4. Submit Writeup 2 (1-2 pages) by 9am Tuesday 5/1/2012. This writeup should include the following:
    • A summary of the main points of the class discussion
    • Any points from the discussion that you found particularly enlightening or disagreed with
    • A discussion of how your initial responses did or did not align with the direction of the class discussion
    • A revised go-forward strategy for HP's Kittyhawk team