Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2010

Quanta Research Institute: Rainforest or Hothouse?

by Willy C. Shih, Jyun-Cheng Wang and Ho Howard Yu

Abstract

Barry Lam, the CEO and founder of Quanta Computer (the largest notebook computer manufacturer worldwide), has recognized for many years that he had to transform the company to decrease its dependence on producing commodity hardware for other global brands and move the firm into areas of higher value-added products and services. But how could he transform an organization that was rooted in low cost manufacturing and supply chain management into one that creates innovative new products and commands premium prices? The existing organization was built to operate in a highly constrained innovation space, and the internal resistance to change often seemed insurmountable. Meanwhile, the firm had to continue delivering predictable revenues. Lam launched the Quanta Research Institute (QRI), a targeted effort to foster industrial research, as a vehicle for organizational transformation and to build differentiation in a commodity world. The case examines how QRI sources ideas and discusses how Quanta will use China as a test market for new products and services.

Keywords: Change Management; Leading Change; Growth and Development Strategy; Product Development; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Research and Development; Computer Industry; Taiwan;

Citation:

Shih, Willy C., Jyun-Cheng Wang, and Ho Howard Yu. "Quanta Research Institute: Rainforest or Hothouse?" Harvard Business School Case 611-024, September 2010.