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March 18, 2011

Apotheker says HP needs to get ideas from lab to market faster

Innovation vital but timing also key, says HP chief Leo Apotheker

By Jason Stamper

Leo Apotheker

HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker told CBR in an interview that he believes HP needs to get innovations from the labs to market faster and more effectively.

In the week in which he announced his new strategy for the firm, Apotheker said: "What we really need to do is be much better at taking what’s happening in the labs, transform it into products or services and then bring that to market in a way more effective and significantly faster way. That’s something that we really need to improve at HP."

HP has long had the tagline ‘HP Invent’. We asked Apotheker how important new innovations are in his view, as opposed to incremental improvements to existing products. "I don’t think you can take these things in isolation," Apotheker said. "You have to view them as a continuum."

"At the end of the day an innovation that is absolutely brilliant and has received a gazillion patents and sits in the lab doesn’t really help anyone," Apotheker said. "So it has to be brought to market and it has to deliver value for people. The challenge with that is that if you are too early with an innovation it does because the market is not receptive for it and therefore timing is a real art."

"I’ll give you one example of a company that right now is on everyone’s mind all the time, that’s Apple. You must remember the Newton, which has an eerie familiarity with a gadget that we all like today [the iPad] or that some of us like today – it was just too early," Apotheker said. "So timing is as important as a patent."

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Listen to CBR’s audio interview with Apotheker here.

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