Hewlett Packard Kittyhawk Case Analysis Sub Enterpreneurship Essay

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  • Subject: Engineering
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Hewlett Packard Kittyhawk Case Analysis


Do you think the kittyhawk team had a strategy or were they depending on luck to succeed innovation?

The Kittyhawk team had a simple and usable strategy. It had three bullet points which had succinct meanings. These three points did not say what were the expected goals of the team, as they left no room for interpretation. The team was working with a very flexible strategy. They accessed their goals and reevaluated them occasionally with the projects progress. Though, this was a nice move, it led to fatal decisions being made at key junctures of the project. The direction of the project was reassessed severally upon realization of breakthrough innovations, learned of new information, received pressure from corporate, and engaging with potential customers Patki, 2006.

The Kittyhawk team should have stuck to their strategy of building a small and cheap disk drive. This strategy would have ensured they do not get derailed along the project development.

Having a strategy initially the Kittyhawk team was not relying on luck. After numerous discussions with potential customers, the Kittyhawk team started relying on luck instead of sticking to its initial strategy. Had the team continued researching on developing a cheap small disk drive, they would have captured many of the potential customers. The customers like Nintendo had told them much earlier they need a disk drive that cost $50. The Kittyhawk team went ahead and developed a disk drive that cost more than suggested, and had features like ruggedness which Nintendo had not suggested initially.

Changing the initial strategy and going for the new and unproven field of PDAs, made the Kittyhawk team lose focus. This meant the team had to change its strategy, and incorporate the ruggedness required for PDAs into their project for developing cheap disk drive and this lead to compromises being made. Since it was not possible to develop a cheap disk drive with the ruggedness feature, the Kittyhawk ignored the need they had identified from Nintendo. The team failed to listen to the market that needed their product immediately. This was not the only mistake the team made. Ignoring notebook and desktop computer sections during the show, made them miss out on information that would have been necessary for the project. The team since it had not defined its market in the strategy, was easily been swayed towards mobile computing. The reasoning behind it been a new area, and no standards had been set.

Assess the Kittyhawk teams approach to introduce a radically new product idea to the market. Was this a disruptive technology? What action of them was good & what was not good action of their team?

The Kittyhawk project was a disruptive technology. The project was managed as though it was a sustaining technology enhancement, yet it was not. This led to its failure, and HP exiting from the disk drive market completely Oakey, 2007.

The two main reasons why the project was a disruptive technology are, the Kittyhawk disk drives, could not satisfy the mainstream laptop market requirements because it had less storage than needed. Secondly, the Kittyhawk disk drives had different packages of product attributes combined in one package. HP's failure to recognize these aspects led to its failure in managing and developing the Kittyhawk disk drives. HP had the capabilities and resources to develop, and ensure that the Kittyhawk disk drives were technically successful. But, failure to identify a target market led to wrong decisions been made for the project.

Trying to match new innovations to existing markets was a mismatch from the standpoint of disruptive technology. This caused misses in emerging markets. The Kittyhawk team assumed it had conducted enough market research, and had learned everything they needed regarding their target market. This led them to believe they knew their target market. However, for the Kittyhawk disruptive technology, this was flawed thinking, because in disruptive technologies conducting market research cannot be valuable. The team could not understand or know the customers or market for a disruptive technology. The market research the team conducted pointed out that there was going to be growth opportunities with Kittyhawk in PDAs. This led them to develop and introduce disk drives targeted to this market yet the projected growth had not materialized.

The Kittyhawk team started the project as a disruptive technology, as they intended for it to be small and cheap. The target market initially was the lower-end market and emerging markets. Eventually, the project shifted, and it became a sustaining innovation. This was because the team was trying to meet customer expectations and not bring a product that would revolutionize the market. This shift made the product more expensive though it had better capabilities. The changes were also due to bad customer targeting.

Coming up with a new product for the disk drive market was a good idea for the Kittyhawk team. The initial strategies they had would have ensured their innovation was a disruptive technology and would have been more successful. Developing a cheap disk drive would have changed the whole market for disk drives, and would have pioneered HP into this market and ensured they stayed as the market leaders. The Kittyhawk team had the innovation, and they knew what was required in the disk drive market. Had they concentrated on developing the cheap disk drives HP would have captured the notebook, desktop computers, and Nintendo.

Changing from a disruptive technology to a sustaining innovation was not a good idea, as the team now had to change its strategy and attempt to satisfy a market that was not established Christensen, 1997.

As the market was not established the team, should not have set out any goals for the project. The targets they set for the project were done so without establishing how the product would look like, and this resulted in the continuous change of strategy. Sticking to its initial strategy would have allowed the Kittyhawk team to produce a usable disk drive, suitable for the current market. They would have gained customer confidence as the customers would be aware of the product. New innovations and versions could have been developed to address other market segments.

Discovery driven planning -- was relevant to Kittyhawk project? How can one specifically apply discovery driven planning in disk drive project?

Discovery driven planning states that, when operating in areas with uncertainty, one needs to use different approaches than would normally be used in conventional planning. A plan judged the closeness of projections to outcomes is referred to as conventional planning. The assumption that planned parameters can change due to receipt of new information, and causes the subsequent change of plans is referred to as discovery driven planning. Funds are not released wholesomely but upon achievement of set out milestones when using discovery driven planning.

For the Kittyhawk project, discovery driven planning was very relevant, and the project was using this thesis. The team had been conducting market research to determine the development of the project, and any new information resulted in changes to the development process. The Kittyhawk did not have a ready market for the disk drives and depended solely on the communications the managers had with potential customers.

In the disk drive project, one can use discovery driven planning to develop a disk drive that would suit the market. By constantly keeping in touch with their potential customers, the development team can change their project continuously to ensure they meet their needs. On completion of one milestone, the team would receive funds to progress to the next milestone. These progressive developments would ensure that the project progresses and meets the needs of the potential customers.

To attain success in the disk drive project, the team should have consulted all the players in the technology industry, and not just settled for the players they thought would provide them with success. The consultations would have shown the Kittyhawk team that the PDAs had no future, and they would not have concentrated all their effort in developing a disk drive for this market. The team, would have been better placed to develop a disk drive that would be suitable for more than just one market player, and this would have ensured its success. Listening and changing to the needs of the potential customers as the project progresses would ensure the disk drives fit the potential customer's expectations. This would lead to success of the project, and would encourage the team and the customers to be more receptive to the team as they would know that the team listens and develops products that will fit their needs.

The information received from the potential customers was important for the life of the Kittyhawk project. The new information the managers received from Nintendo would have ensured the success of the project. The Nintendo marketing executive had the same vision…

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