HP Labs ‘Media Breakfast’ highlights research progress over the past year

HP Labs director Prith Banerjee

HP Labs director
Prith Banerjee

A year on from a major reorganization, HP Labs is reaping the benefits of its new research strategy and a uniquely open approach to innovation.

That was the message conveyed by HP Labs Director Prith Banerjee to a group of key business and technology journalists at a Media Breakfast held on March 13, 2009, in San Francisco.

“The approach we took has really positioned us well to innovate in today’s economy,” said Banerjee, noting that in the past year technologies from 23 HP Labs projects have been either transferred into HP’s own products or licensed to other companies.

Under Banerjee’s leadership, HP Labs has focused on eight, high-impact areas of research and streamlined the number of programs it runs from150 to just 20 large and 40 medium-sized projects. These new programs have already yielded notable results in areas such as memristors, flexible displays, video-conferencing and digital publishing, Banerjee said.

HP Open Innovation Office director Rich Friedrich

HP Open Innovation
Office director
Rich Friedrich

Also presenting at the event – held in advance of the release of HP Labs’ 2008 Annual Report – were HP Labs research manager Mohamed Dekhil and director of HP's Open Innovation Office, Rich Friedrich.

While Dekhil offered examples of how current HP Labs projects might help consumers, retailers, large financial institutions and utilities companies in the future, Friedrich discussed HP’s unique model of partnering with universities, governments and industry to engage in open innovation.

“We want to tap into the best ideas from around the globe and bring those ideas to market,” said Friedrich, noting that his team funded 45 research projects at 35 universities around the world last year. Banerjee, Dekhil and Friedrich’s presentations were followed by a lively discussion session with their media guests, as well as one-on-one briefings following the event.

HP Labs is now in good shape to keep innovating through tough economic times, Banerjee told the BBC’s Maggie Shiels. "Innovation is not for the next quarter, it is for the next two years, five years from now,” he suggested.

Research manager Mohamed Dekhil

Research manager
Mohamed Dekhil

Rather than focusing on the current downturn, the Labs Director told Shiels, "we are looking at investment in technology for the long term, so that HP is fully prepared to provide its customers with a variety of choices when we get out of the recession.”