Willy C. Shih

Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration

Unit: Technology and Operations Management

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Willy Shih is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration.  He is part of the Technology and Operations Management Unit, and he teaches in the MBA and Executive Education Programs.  His expertise is in manufacturing and product development, and he has written or co-authored more than 125 cases and teaching materials in industries ranging from semiconductors, information technology, consumer electronics, aerospace, transportation equipment, manufacturing processes and tools, and intellectual property.  His paper, “Restoring American Competitiveness,” co-authored with Gary Pisano, won the 2009 McKinsey Award.  His recent book, “Producing Prosperity – Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance,” co-authored with Gary Pisano, has called attention to the link between manufacturing and innovation.  He is also the author of “Back Bay Battery,” a best-selling innovation simulation.

Prior to coming to HBS in 2007, Willy spent 28 years in industry at IBM, Digital Equipment, Silicon Graphics, Eastman Kodak, and Thomson SA.  He worked in product development and manufacturing in a wide range of areas including computer systems, scientific instruments, semiconductors, digital cameras, optical discs and software systems.  Reporting to him have been major manufacturing operations in the United States, China, Ireland, Japan, and Mexico, as well as global sales and marketing operations.  He has led the building of billion dollar revenue businesses.  He was an architect of IBM’s collaboration with Apple and Motorola in the early 1990s, he initiated and managed Eastman Kodak’s digital still camera licensing program, and has led negotiations in numerous intellectual property disputes, including Eastman Kodak v. Sun Microsystems relating to technology in Java.

Willy is on the Board of Directors of Flextronics International, a large electronic manufacturing services provider, and also the Board of Directors of QD Vision, a pioneer in the commercial use of quantum dot technology.  He has S.B. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Featured Work

Publications

Books

  1. Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance

    Gary P. Pisano and Willy Shih

    For years—even decades—in response to intensifying global competition, American companies decided to outsource their manufacturing operations in order to reduce costs. But we are now seeing the alarming long-term effect of those choices: in many cases, once manufacturing capabilities go away, so does much of the ability to innovate and compete. Manufacturing, it turns out, really matters in an innovation-driven economy. In Producing Prosperity, Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih show the disastrous consequences of years of poor sourcing decisions and underinvestment in manufacturing capabilities. They reveal how today's undervalued manufacturing operations often hold the seeds of tomorrow's innovative new products, arguing that companies must reinvest in new product and process development in the U.S. industrial sector. Only by reviving this "industrial commons" can the world's largest economy build the expertise and manufacturing muscle to regain competitive advantage. America needs a manufacturing renaissance—for restoring itself and for the global economy as a whole. This will require major changes. Pisano and Shih show how company-level choices are key to the sustained success of industries and economies, and they provide business leaders with a framework for understanding the links between manufacturing and innovation that will enable them to make better outsourcing decisions. They also detail how government must change its support of basic and applied scientific research and promote collaboration between business and academia. For executives, policymakers, academics, and innovators alike, Producing Prosperity provides the clearest and most compelling account yet of how the American economy lost its competitive edge—and how to get it back.

    Keywords: competitive advantage; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Production; Competitive Advantage; Transformation; Innovation and Invention; Manufacturing Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Pisano, Gary P., and Willy Shih. Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. What It Takes to Reshore Manufacturing Successfully

    Willy C. Shih

    The data on comparative labor and energy costs may seem compelling, but the process of bringing assembly work back to domestic factories from abroad is substantially more challenging than the economics alone would predict. This paper looks at some of the issues firms moving large assembly operations back to the U.S. have faced, along with recommendations for more successful implementations.

    Keywords: manufacturing; manufacturing costs; Manufacturing strategy; U.S. competitiveness; competitiveness; labor force participation; labor management; trade; Production; Management Practices and Processes; Manufacturing Industry; United States; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "What It Takes to Reshore Manufacturing Successfully." MIT Sloan Management Review 56, no. 1 (Fall 2014): 55–62. View Details
  2. IP Modularity: Profiting from Innovation by Aligning Product Architecture with Intellectual Property

    Joachim Henkel, Carliss Y. Baldwin and Willy C. Shih

    Firms seeking to take advantage of distributed innovation and outsourcing can bridge the tension between value creation and value capture by modifying the modular structure of their technical systems. Specifically, this article introduces the concept of "IP modularity," which seeks to protect and capture value from intellectual property. The article defines what it means for a system to be "IP-modular," illustrates the application of this concept in a number of practical situations, and presents a comprehensive framework that can be used to design and evaluate value capture strategies for modular systems.

    Keywords: modularity; value appropriation; distributed innovation; open innovation; intellectual property; Innovation Strategy; Intellectual Property; Value;

    Citation:

    Henkel, Joachim, Carliss Y. Baldwin, and Willy C. Shih. "IP Modularity: Profiting from Innovation by Aligning Product Architecture with Intellectual Property." California Management Review 55, no. 4 (Summer 2013): 65–82. View Details
  3. The Re-Industrialization of the United States?

    Willy C. Shih

    Talk of "re-industrialization" in the United States has been supported by a seeming resurgence in manufacturing, but this is driven more by the end of labor arbitrage and increasing coordination costs of offshore manufacturing. Aggressive restructurings and significant gains in worker productivity in the face of stagnant real wage growth has meant that productivity-adjusted costs have made the U.S. more attractive for some sectors, but the offshoring of component supply chains limits the number of industries that may actually move back. U.S. manufacturing is not going to have the sector makeup that it had before the offshoring boom, rather China will remain an important manufacturing partner for the U.S., and it will be especially attractive for Europe. It just will not be the obvious first choice for offshoring that it has been.

    Keywords: U.S. competitiveness; re-industrialization; re-shoring; Operations; Production; Supply and Industry; Supply Chain; Supply Chain Management; Geographic Location; Geography; Globalization; Globalized Economies and Regions; Globalized Firms and Management; Globalized Markets and Industries; Labor; Manufacturing Industry; Auto Industry; Electronics Industry; Industrial Products Industry; Consumer Products Industry; United States; China; European Union;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "The Re-Industrialization of the United States?" Wirtschaftspolitische Blätter 60, no. 2 (Second Quarter, 2013): 297–312. View Details
  4. Does America Really Need Manufacturing?

    Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih

    Too many U.S. companies base decisions about where to locate production largely on narrow financial criteria. They don't consider whether keeping manufacturing at home makes more sense strategically or take into account the impact it might have on their ability to innovate. The result has been an exodus of manufacturing from America, which has weakened the capabilities that domestic firms need to keep inventing high-quality, cost-competitive products. One problem is that it's hard to tell when moving production far from R&D will do damage. To make that determination, we say that executives need to examine two things. The first is modularity, or the degree to which product design can be separated from manufacturing. When modularity is low, product designs can't be clearly specified and design choices affect manufacturing processes in subtle, difficult-to-predict ways (and vice versa). The second is the maturity of the manufacturing process. Immature processes are ripe for innovation, but over time opportunities for improvement become incremental. Viewed through the modularity-maturity lens, relationships between manufacturing and innovation fall into four quadrants: pure product innovation, pure process innovation, process-embedded innovation, and process-driven innovation. In the first two quadrants, locating design near production isn't critical, but separating the two functions is risky in the third and fourth quadrants. This framework will help business leaders make better sourcing decisions and reinvigorate America's innovation-driven economy.

    Keywords: Production; Geographic Location; Innovation and Invention; Competitive Advantage; Product Design; Risk Management; Manufacturing Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Pisano, Gary P., and Willy C. Shih. "Does America Really Need Manufacturing?" Harvard Business Review 90, no. 3 (March 2012). View Details
  5. Restoring American Competitiveness

    Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih

    For decades, U.S. companies have been outsourcing manufacturing in the belief that it held no competitive advantage. That's been a disaster, maintain Harvard professors Pisano and Shih, because today's low-value manufacturing operations hold the seeds of tomorrow's innovative new products. What those companies have been ceding is the country's industrial commons—that is, the collective operational capabilities that underpin new product and process development in the U.S. industrial sector. As a result, America has lost not only the ability to develop and manufacture high-tech products like televisions, memory chips, and laptops but also the expertise to produce emerging hot products like the Kindle e-reader, high-end servers, solar panels, and the batteries that will power the next generation of automobiles. To rebuild the commons and restore its wealth-generating machine will require government and industry in the U.S. to make two drastic changes: First, the government must change the way it supports basic and applied scientific research to promote the broad collaboration with business and academia needed to tackle society's big problems. Second, corporate management practices and governance structures must be overhauled so they no longer exaggerate the payoffs and discount the dangers of outsourcing production and cutting investments in R&D. Restoring the ability of enterprises to develop and manufacture high-tech products in America is the only way the country can hope to pay down its enormous deficits and raise its citizens' standard of living.

    Keywords: Competitive Advantage; Value; Production; Innovation and Invention; Product Development; Government and Politics; Social Issues; Management Practices and Processes; Investment; Research and Development; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Competency and Skills; Service Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Pisano, Gary P., and Willy C. Shih. "Restoring American Competitiveness." Harvard Business Review 87, nos. 7-8 (July–August 2009). (

    Winner of McKinsey Award. First Place For the best articles published each year in the Harvard Business Review presented by McKinsey & Company​

    .) View Details
  6. Innovation Killers: How Financial Tools Destroy Your Capacity to Do New Things

    Clayton M. Christensen, Stephen P. Kaufman and Willy C. Shih

    Most companies aren't half as innovative as their senior executives want them to be (or as their marketing claims suggest they are). What's stifling innovation? There are plenty of usual suspects, but the authors finger three financial tools as key accomplices. Discounted cash flow and net present value, as commonly used, underestimate the real returns and benefits of proceeding with an investment. Most executives compare the cash flows from innovation against the default scenario of doing nothing, assuming - incorrectly - that the present health of the company will persist indefinitely if the investment is not made. In most situations, however, competitors' sustaining and disruptive investments over time result in deterioration of financial performance. Fixed- and sunk-cost conventional wisdom confers an unfair advantage on challengers and shackles incumbent firms that attempt to respond to an attack. Executives in established companies, bemoaning the expense of building new brands and developing new sales and distribution channels, seek instead to leverage their existing brands and structures. Entrants, in contrast, simply create new ones. The problem for the incumbent isn't that the challenger can spend more; it's that the challenger is spared the dilemma of having to choose between full-cost and marginal-cost options. The emphasis on short-term earnings per share as the primary driver of share price, and hence shareholder value creation, acts to restrict investments in innovative long-term growth opportunities. These are not bad tools and concepts in and of themselves, but the way they are used to evaluate investments creates a systematic bias against successful innovation. The authors recommend alternative methods that can help managers innovate with a much more astute eye for future value.

    Keywords: Investment; Innovation and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Business and Shareholder Relations; Prejudice and Bias; Value Creation;

    Citation:

    Christensen, Clayton M., Stephen P. Kaufman, and Willy C. Shih. "Innovation Killers: How Financial Tools Destroy Your Capacity to Do New Things." Special Issue on HBS Centennial. Harvard Business Review 86, no. 1 (January 2008). View Details

Working Papers

  1. Bridging Science and Technology Through Academic-Industry Partnerships

    Sen Chai and Willy C. Shih

    Scientific research and its translation into commercialized technology is a driver of wealth creation and economic growth. Partnerships to foster the translational processes from public research organizations, such as universities and hospitals, to private firms are a policy tool that has attracted increased interest. Yet questions about the efficacy and the efficiency with which funds are used are subject to frequent debate. This paper examines empirical data from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), an agency that funds partnerships between universities and private companies to develop technologies important to Danish industry. We assess the effect of a unique mediated funding scheme that combines project grants with active facilitation and conflict management on firm performance, comparing the likelihood of bankruptcy and employee count as well as patent count, publication count and their citations and collaborative nature between funded and unfunded firms. Because randomization of the sample was not feasible, we address endogeneity around selection bias using a sample of qualitatively similar firms based on a funding decision score. This allows us to observe the local effect of samples in which we drop the best recipients and the worst non-recipients. Our results suggest that while receiving the grant does bring an injection of funding that alleviates financing constraints, its core effect on the firm's innovative behavior is in fostering collaborations and translations between science and technology and encouraging riskier projects rather than purely increasing patenting.

    Keywords: innovation; firm performance; public-private partnership funding; translational research; small and medium enterprises; Partners and Partnerships; Public Sector; Private Sector; Performance; Science-Based Business; Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Chai, Sen, and Willy C. Shih. "Bridging Science and Technology Through Academic-Industry Partnerships." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-058, January 2013. (Revised July 2014.) View Details
  2. IP Modularity: Profiting from Innovation by Aligning Product Architecture with Intellectual Property

    Joachim Henkel, Carliss Y. Baldwin and Willy C. Shih

    In this paper we explain how firms seeking to take advantage of distributed innovation and outsourcing can bridge the tension between value creation and value capture by modifying the modular structure of their technical systems. Specifically, we introduce the concept of "IP modularity," a special form of modularity that seeks to protect and capture value from intellectual property (IP). We define what it means for a system to be "IP-modular," and illustrate the application of this concept in a number of practical situations. From the examples, we derive a comprehensive framework that can be used to design and evaluate value capture strategies for modular systems.

    Keywords: modularity; value appropriation; distributed innovation; open innovation; intellectual property; Strategy; Open Source Distribution; Value; Complexity; Intellectual Property;

    Citation:

    Henkel, Joachim, Carliss Y. Baldwin, and Willy C. Shih. "IP Modularity: Profiting from Innovation by Aligning Product Architecture with Intellectual Property." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-012, August 2012. (Revised November 2012.) View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Dalian Wanda Group: The AMC Entertainment Acquisition (A)

    Willy Shih

    When Dalian Wanda Group of China announced its plan to acquire the AMC Entertainment theatrucal exhibition chain in the Unityed States, many people in the U.S were mystified. Unlike China where theatrical exhibition was experiencing rapid growth, the U.S. market was viewed as mature, and rapidly changing technology was giving consumers a widening range of choices for movie viewing. AMC was owned by a group of private equity firms, and their pessimistic view of the industry influenced their strategies and investment decisions. AMC's management team had yet a different view on the prospects of the industry. Thus three present or potential stakeholders, all looking at the same data, had distinctly different views of future prospects. How could this be?

    Keywords: "Dalian Wanda Group," AMC Entertainment, Wang Jianlin; Theater Entertainment; Film Entertainment; Acquisition; Mergers and Acquisitions; Foreign Direct Investment; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Growth and Development Strategy; Business Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Expansion; Motion Pictures and Video Industry; China; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Dalian Wanda Group: The AMC Entertainment Acquisition (A)." Harvard Business School Case 615-033, December 2014. View Details
  2. Project Planning Exercise

    Willy Shih, Pian Shu and Jill Avery

    This exercise introduces the basic tools of project management: the project timeline, the task list, the Gantt chart, and risk analysis. It is an exercise for the FIELD 2 course at HBS.

    Keywords: project management; Management Practices and Processes; Manufacturing Industry; Service Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Pian Shu, and Jill Avery. "Project Planning Exercise." Harvard Business School Exercise 615-030, September 2014. View Details
  3. Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief: What Can We Learn from Commercial Supply Chains?

    Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

    Organizing speedy and efficient supply operations for unpredictable major natural disasters was a continuing challenge for the U.S. military, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was both unique in its operational scope and political complexity. As he reviewed the after-action reports, George Topic, the Vice Director of the Center for Joint and Strategic Logistics at the National Defense University wondered how the performance of disaster relief efforts should really be measured. How should the efficiency of the response be characterized? He wondered if they could overcome some of the hurdles to applying concepts from commercial supply chains. The case explores some of the lessons learned from the Haiti disaster, and offers an opportunity to test well-known supply chain concepts.

    Keywords: supply chains; humanitarian assistance; disaster relief; Logistics; Distribution; Logistics; Supply Chain; Supply Chain Management; Operations; Distribution Industry; United States; Haiti;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief: What Can We Learn from Commercial Supply Chains?" Harvard Business School Case 615-003, September 2014. View Details
  4. American Airlines in 2011

    Willy Shih

    The American Airlines in 2011 case was developed to provide a setting for the comparative analysis of two very different business models in the U.S. domestic airline industry—the network carrier and the low cost carrier (LCC). These models offer very different value propositions. Firms allocate resources into distinctively different processes, and they earn returns using parallel but different profit models. Yet while most scholars view the LCC model as disruptive, the two different models have been able to co-exist for over forty years, albeit with substantial evolution. By unpacking how one of the major network carriers was able to evolve its model successfully for such a long time before industry structural changes necessitated a radical overhaul, the cases seek to give students insights into how the different business models were established, how competitive forces have driven their evolution, and the importance of constantly evolving and tuning a firm's model.

    Keywords: American Airlines; network carrier; low cost carrier; LCC; Business Model; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Competition; Competitive Strategy; Disruption; Transportation Industry; Travel Industry; Air Transportation Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "American Airlines in 2011." Harvard Business School Case 615-009, July 2014. (Revised November 2014.) View Details
  5. Netflix in 2011

    Willy Shih and Stephen Kaufman

    Reed Hastings founded Netflix to provide a home movie service that would do a better job satisfying customers than the traditional retail rental model. But as it encountered challenges it underwent several major strategy shifts, ultimately developing a business model and an operational strategy that were highly disruptive to retail video rental chains. The combination of a large national inventory, a recommendation system that drove viewership across a broad catalog, and a large customer base made Netflix a force to be reckoned with, especially as a distribution channel for lower-profile and independent films. Blockbuster, the nation's largest retail video rental firm, was initially slow to respond, but ultimately rolled out a hybrid retail/online response in the form of Blockbuster Online. Aggressive pricing pulled in subscribers, but at a price to both it and Netflix. But a new challenge was on the horizon—the rapid growth of the company's online streaming service, which had a very different business model. Hastings' efforts to separate the activity into two separate companies met with strong pushback from consumers and the press. What was the best path forward?

    Keywords: Netflix; DVD; DVD-by-mail; streaming; online entertainment; online video; Disruptive Innovation; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Business Model; Disruption; Operations; Service Operations; Entertainment; Film Entertainment; Television Entertainment; Media; Strategy; Business or Company Management; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Corporate Strategy; Expansion; Technology; Technology Adoption; Technology Platform; Web; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Stephen Kaufman. "Netflix in 2011." Harvard Business School Case 615-007, August 2014. View Details
  6. RCA: Color Television and the Department of Justice (B)

    Willy C. Shih and Gregory Dieterich

    This case is a supplement to 614-072, which examines the early history of the color television receiver market, and the global consequences of an historic 1958 consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that opened RCA's patents to licensing by domestic competitors royalty-free. This externality had a dramatic impact on the long-term health of the U.S. consumer electronics industry.

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Patents; Rights; Business Strategy; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Business History; Technology; Hardware; Communications Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Electronics Industry; United States; Japan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Gregory Dieterich. "RCA: Color Television and the Department of Justice (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 614-073, May 2014. View Details
  7. RCA: Color Television and the Department of Justice (A)

    Willy C. Shih and Gregory Dieterich

    This case examines the early history of the color television receiver market, and the global consequences of an historic 1958 consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that opened RCA's patents to licensing by domestic competitors royalty-free. This externality had a dramatic impact on the long-term health of the U.S. consumer electronics industry. The associated (B) case is 614-073.

    Keywords: Intellectual Property; Patents; Rights; Business Strategy; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Business History; Technology; Hardware; Communications Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Electronics Industry; United States; Japan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Gregory Dieterich. "RCA: Color Television and the Department of Justice (A)." Harvard Business School Case 614-072, May 2014. View Details
  8. MediaTek: From Feature Phones to Smartphones

    Willy Shih

    MediaTek was the third largest fabless semiconductor company in the world, and was the second largest supplier of the silicon microchips that powered mobile phones. Yet as the company's chairman reflected on his R&D strategy, he wondered why it hadn't moved faster on the transition to smartphones. He also thought about what was on his firm's menu of choices, and what was on the menus of his competitors.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Decisions; Business Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Technology Adoption; Telecommunications Industry; Semiconductor Industry; China; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "MediaTek: From Feature Phones to Smartphones." Harvard Business School Case 614-059, March 2014. View Details
  9. BGI: Data-driven Research

    Willy Shih and Sen Chai

    BGI has the largest installed gene-sequencing capacity in the world, and to Zhang Gengyun, general manager of the Life Sciences Division, this represented an opportunity to apply his training as a plant breeder and his early career work as a biochemist to improving important parts of the world food supply. But his biggest challenge was in scaling up his organization to address the multitude of opportunities he wanted to address. Along with its massive investments in gene sequencing machines and computing resources for data analysis, BGI had built a large cadre of data scientists who could develop and run programs to sift through the mountains of genetic data that were being generated every day. But the approach raised other questions. Could people trained in traditional fields of botany, biochemistry, and animal husbandry simply use the BGI sequencing platform as a black box, much as people in other industries relied on specialization and a modular division of labor? Or did it take the kind of cross-training and cross-boundary work in which Zhang himself had invested two decades of his professional career? Could the data scientists in BGI's "factory" grow sufficiently to understand the science, and was that now even necessary?

    Keywords: genomics; gene sequencing; life sciences; plant breeding; genetics; Human Genome Program; Beijing Genomics Institute; BGI; rice genome; Technological Innovation; Innovation Strategy; Research; Research and Development; Science; Genetics; Science-Based Business; Strategy; Commercialization; Corporate Strategy; Technology; Information Technology; Software; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Biotechnology Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; China; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Sen Chai. "BGI: Data-driven Research." Harvard Business School Case 614-056, February 2014. View Details
  10. Interview with Joe Kennedy, Pandora Media

    Willy C. Shih

    Joe Kennedy is the emeritus president of Pandora Media. In this interview, he discusses some of the challenges he faced in leading the company.

    Keywords: Pandora; internet radio; Pandora Media; streaming; Music industry; Music Entertainment; Business Startups; Growth and Development Strategy; Growth Management; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; United States; California;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Interview with Joe Kennedy, Pandora Media." Harvard Business School Video Case 614-705, February 2014. View Details
  11. Boeing 787 Manufacturing Footprint

    Willy Shih

    This case looks at the outsourcing strategy for major subsystems of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, and the risks and production consequences of letting go of core technology. It is intended to be used as a (B) case for 612-036 Boeing 737 Manufacturing Footprint: The Wichita Decision.

    Keywords: outsourcing; outsourced production; Boeing 787; manufacturing footprint; systems integration; Production; Supply Chain Management; Aerospace Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Boeing 787 Manufacturing Footprint." Harvard Business School Case 614-049, January 2014. View Details
  12. Rational Choice and Managerial Decision Making

    Willy Shih

    This note discusses Herbert Simon's notion of bounded rationality: how managers may sometimes make suboptimal choices because of their limited ability to access or process information.

    Keywords: Rational choice; bounded rationality; satisficing; Herbert Simon; agenda-setting; choice; alternatives; Decision Making; Decision Choices and Conditions; Decisions; Judgments;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Rational Choice and Managerial Decision Making." Harvard Business School Case 614-048, January 2014. View Details
  13. MIT Mystery Hunt: The Answer is Secondary

    Willy Shih and Karen Robinson

    The MIT Mystery Hunt is an annual puzzle-based scavenger hunt at MIT. It is run every year by a different team, and every year is slightly different as teams try new ideas and decide whether to keep or ignore new ideas from previous years. As the Mystery Hunt has grown, organizers face the challenge of balancing efficient administration while keeping it free of excessive administration.

    Keywords: Puzzle-solving; puzzle hunt; MIT Mystery Hunt; Innovation and Invention; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Education Industry; Massachusetts; Cambridge; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Karen Robinson. "MIT Mystery Hunt: The Answer is Secondary." Harvard Business School Case 614-050, January 2014. View Details
  14. Rhythm & Blues

    Willy Shih

    The bankruptcy filing of Rhythm & Hues, who received an Oscar for the arresting visual effects in Life of Pi, raised questions about the challenges faced by the firms like it as well as the broader post-production industry. The rapid pace of technology certainly contributed to much of the turmoil, but how could the future look so uncertain for people and firms who seemed to play such a vital role in generating the excitement and demand for movies and television programming?

    Keywords: Post-production; visual effects; digital; Entertainment; Animation Entertainment; Film Entertainment; Television Entertainment; Theater Entertainment; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Information Technology; Internet; Software; Hardware; Motion Pictures and Video Industry; Los Angeles;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Rhythm & Blues." Harvard Business School Case 614-036, October 2013. View Details
  15. PadFone vs. FonePad

    Willy Shih and Sen Chai

    To Jonney Shih, Chairman of ASUSTek Computer, the introduction of Apple's iPad made clear the need to transition his company to a new cloud-computing era. But the company's roots in the manufacture of Windows-powered desktop and notebook PCs bounded the creativity of his design and engineering teams. The case examines the ASUS's efforts to get into the smartphone business, leveraging experimentation it has done in tablets and a range of hybrid devices. Will its experimentation and recombination of features lead it to market success, or simply confuse consumers?

    Keywords: Mobile phones; smartphone; tablet computer; Android; recombination; design thinking; Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Strategy; Adaptation; Business Strategy; Commercialization; Competitive Strategy; Technology; Internet; Information Technology Industry; Computer Industry; Communications Industry; Technology Industry; Asia; Taiwan; Europe; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Sen Chai. "PadFone vs. FonePad." Harvard Business School Case 614-023, September 2013. View Details
  16. Boeing 787: More Electric Architecture

    Willy Shih

    The "more electric architecture" of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner represented a significant shift in the design of secondary power systems for commercial aircraft, compared to traditional designs that employed a mix of hydraulic, pneumatic, and electrical power. While the design promised improved fuel efficiency and lower operating costs, competitor Airbus was critical of some of the changes Boeing made. The case offers students the opportunity to understand the motivations and key enablers for the shift, and consider whether the approach is more risky than one taken by Airbus with its A350XWB.

    Keywords: technological innovation; Boeing; 787; Airbus; A350XWB; architectural innovation; technological substitution; Technological Innovation; Vertical Integration; Air Transportation; Aerospace Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Boeing 787: More Electric Architecture." Harvard Business School Case 614-015, September 2013. View Details
  17. Living Proof: Are We a Technology Company or a Beauty Company?

    Willy Shih

    Jon Flint came up with the idea of a science-based beauty company while talking with his hairdresser about the problems with typical hair and skin care products. Together with a small team that included Professor Robert Langer of MIT, he committed to assemble a team of scientists from outside the beauty industry to challenge the conventional wisdom. Their company, Living Proof, wanted to offer women "proof in a bottle" rather than "hope in a bottle."

    As the firm came to market with its first products, it focused on explaining its science to consumers. It found it increasingly necessary to direct more of its resources towards marketing, including a major investment in Jennifer Aniston as its celebrity spokesperson. Were they becoming less of a biotech company and more like a traditional beauty company? How did they reconcile the desire for continued high spending on R&D with the need to ramp up marketing?

    Keywords: Hair care; personal care; science-based; commercialization; R&D; marketing; Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Innovation Leadership; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Marketing; Marketing Strategy; Product Marketing; Product Positioning; Science-Based Business; Business Strategy; Commercialization; Corporate Strategy; Technology Platform; Expansion; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; United States; Boston; Cambridge;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Living Proof: Are We a Technology Company or a Beauty Company?" Harvard Business School Case 614-013, September 2013. View Details
  18. Raising the Level of Abstraction

    Willy Shih

    This technical note discusses abstraction as a way of generalizing a process or component for wider application. By hiding complexity inside a module, abstraction enables system designers to think at a higher level. This lowers entry barriers to using (and reusing) a complex technology.

    Keywords: abstraction; modularity; Commercialization; Technology; Hardware; Information Technology; Software; Technology Platform; United States; Asia; Europe;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Raising the Level of Abstraction." Harvard Business School Technical Note 614-019, August 2013. View Details
  19. Ford vs. GM: The Evolution of Mass Production (B)

    Willy Shih

    This case explores the very different paths taken by the Ford Motor Company and the General Motors Corporation in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Henry Ford's Model T was a car for the masses. After considerable experimentation, Ford Motor perfected a mass production system that converted the vast majority of jobs in the factory into routine tasks. It pioneered the moving assembly line, and it pursued processes that became increasingly integrated and mechanized. While its single-minded focus on cost minimization led to spectacular market success for a time, the resulting inflexibility made it difficult for the company to respond to market changes. This created an opportunity for General Motors and others, particularly in the face of technological shifts to closed-body designs and metal stamping technology, as well as the marketing-led idea of the annual model change.

    The case offers a setting to examine several frameworks: exploration versus exploitation, the emergence of dominant designs, and vertical integration versus transaction costs and supplier hold-up. The (A) case closes with the question of what GM should do about supplier Fisher Body. The (B) case summarizes the shift to all-steel body stamping and engine manufacturing as the core technologies for automobile production, and how these changes made it difficult for Ford to maintain its first-mover advantage.

    Keywords: innovation; Exploration; dominant design; Vertical Integration; Business Growth and Maturation; Business History; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Leading Change; Growth and Development Strategy; Product Positioning; Product Design; Product Development; Business Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Vertical Integration; Auto Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Michigan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Ford vs. GM: The Evolution of Mass Production (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 614-011, August 2013. (Revised November 2013.) View Details
  20. Ford vs. GM: The Evolution of Mass Production (A)

    Willy Shih

    This case explores the very different paths taken by the Ford Motor Company and the General Motors Corporation in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Henry Ford's Model T was a car for the masses. After considerable experimentation, Ford Motor perfected a mass production system that converted the vast majority of jobs in the factory into routine tasks. It pioneered the moving assembly line, and it pursued processes that became increasingly integrated and mechanized. While its single-minded focus on cost minimization led to spectacular market success for a time, the resulting inflexibility made it difficult for the company to respond to market changes. This created an opportunity for General Motors and others, particularly in the face of technological shifts to closed-body designs and metal stamping technology, as well as the marketing-led idea of the annual model change.

    The case offers a setting to examine several frameworks: exploration versus exploitation, the emergence of dominant designs, and vertical integration versus transaction costs and supplier hold-up. The (A) case closes with the question of what GM should do about supplier Fisher Body. The (B) case summarizes the shift to all-steel body stamping and engine manufacturing as the core technologies for automobile production, and how these changes made it difficult for Ford to maintain its first-mover advantage.

    Keywords: innovation; Exploration; dominant design; Vertical Integration; Business Growth and Maturation; Business History; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Leading Change; Growth and Development Strategy; Product Positioning; Product Design; Product Development; Business Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Vertical Integration; Auto Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Michigan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Ford vs. GM: The Evolution of Mass Production (A)." Harvard Business School Case 614-010, August 2013. (Revised November 2013.) View Details
  21. Carl Zeiss and Free-Form Production: Can We See Clearly Yet?

    Willy Shih

    The prescription eyeglass lens industry was complicated and highly fragmented, and even though many of the tools and techniques employed have been relatively unchanged over the last century, there was still a surprising pace of innovation. An aging population around the world meant the demand for progressive lenses was increasing rapidly, and innovations in production technology meant an evolving competitive dynamic with potentially quite different patterns of manufacturing and distribution. Are there theories that Zeiss managers can use to see clearly how industry evolution might portend shifts in the value network?

    Keywords: History; Demand and Consumers; Disruptive Innovation; Vertical Integration; Theory; Technology Adoption; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Carl Zeiss and Free-Form Production: Can We See Clearly Yet?" Harvard Business School Case 614-007, July 2013. View Details
  22. Exploration vs. Exploitation

    Willy Shih

    This module note introduces James March's concept of exploration and exploitation, and the management challenge of balancing the allocation of resources to the two activities in the firm. The note also touches on the O'Reilly and Tushman paper on the ambidextrous organization, and mentions some of the other literature.

    Keywords: exploration and exploitation; Exploitation; research; scientific research; product commercialization; Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Innovation Leadership; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Knowledge Acquisition; Growth and Development Strategy; Resource Allocation; Strategic Planning; Research and Development; Science-Based Business; Corporate Strategy; Knowledge Sharing; Biotechnology Industry; Information Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Semiconductor Industry; Technology Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Exploration vs. Exploitation." Harvard Business School Module Note 614-004, July 2013. View Details
  23. Novozymes: Establishing the Cellulosic Ethanol Value Chain

    Willy Shih and Sen Chai

    As the world's largest producer of industrial enzymes, Novozymes had invested heavily for many years to bio-engineer enzymes that could break down cellulose into fermentable sugar. In 2010, the company had launched what it thought would become a breakthrough product for the conversion of crop residues from corn into fermentable sugars for the production of motor fuels. But the problem was that the company only controlled one piece of the value chain. To succeed in this nascent sector, should the company insert itself into an existing ecosystem? If so, how much coordination effort would be required to integrate the many pieces, including equipment and yeast suppliers? Or should Novozymes build its own ecosystem? And if so, how much control should it retain at each level of the value chain?

    The case seeks to expose students to the challenges of putting together value chain participation strategies in a setting where they can also learn about industrial biotechnology, including some cutting edge methods in directed evolution.

    Keywords: system complexity; industrial enzymes; ethanol; collulosic ethanol; fermentation; genomics; genetic engineering; value chain; assembling value chain; Energy Sources; Renewable Energy; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Industry Growth; Production; Research; Research and Development; Science; Genetics; Natural Environment; Environmental Sustainability; Science-Based Business; Business Strategy; Commercialization; Vertical Integration; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Biotechnology Industry; Energy Industry; Denmark; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Sen Chai. "Novozymes: Establishing the Cellulosic Ethanol Value Chain." Harvard Business School Case 614-001, July 2013. View Details
  24. The LEGO Group: Publish or Protect?

    Willy C. Shih and Sen Chai

    Senior managers at the LEGO Group are faced with a quandary: Should they patent inventions coming out of their manufacturing process development work, should they keep them as trade secrets, or should they publish them so that they would go into the public domain and nobody else could patent them? They wish to preserve their freedom to practice, but they are very concerned about competitors' ability to benefit from LEGO Group's R&D investments or alternately interfere with its freedom to operate. The case frames important intellectual property issues around appropriability and strategy.

    Keywords: Plastics; injection molding; toys; LEGO; LEGO Group; Tools; Additive Manufacturing; 3D Manufacturing; Toolmaking; intellectual property; Patenting; patents; Spillovers; Knowledge Spillovers; Change; Trends; Engineering; Machinery and Machining; Intellectual Property; Patents; Operations; Production; Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Technology Adoption; Technology Platform; Consumer Products Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Technology Industry; Europe; Denmark;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Sen Chai. "The LEGO Group: Publish or Protect?" Harvard Business School Case 613-079, February 2013. (Revised March 2013.) View Details
  25. Austal, Ltd. (B)

    Willy Shih, Margaret Pierson and Dawn H. Lau

    Austal, Ltd. was an Australian builder of high-speed passenger ferries. It had translated that expertise into a foothold in the defense market on the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program with an Alabama assembly facility. In January 2009 it had just completed the construction of its first LCS, but the global economic crisis put the company in a difficult position. Its commercial order book had dried up, yet it needed to preserve capabilities in its Australian workforce in now underutilized facilities near where its design capabilities were centered. Was this a short term problem, or had the commercial market changed forever? The (A) case examines possibilities that the company might pursue to bridge the presumed gap until market conditions improve, and the (B) case recounts some of those choices. The case focuses on the question of the importance for Austal to maintain manufacturing close to its design center, and how will it do this as its center of gravity increasingly shifts to other regions?

    Keywords: Geographic Location; Global Strategy; Globalized Markets and Industries; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Growth and Development Strategy; Business Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Ship Transportation; Transportation Industry; Australia; United States; Alabama; Philippines;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Margaret Pierson, and Dawn H. Lau. "Austal, Ltd. (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-026, January 2013. View Details
  26. Austal, Ltd. (A)

    Willy C. Shih, Margaret Pierson and Dawn H. Lau

    Austal, Ltd. was an Australian builder of high-speed passenger ferries. It had translated that expertise into a foothold in the defense market on the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program with an Alabama assembly facility. In January 2009 it had just completed the construction of its first LCS, but the global economic crisis put the company in a difficult position. Its commercial order book had dried up, yet it needed to preserve capabilities in its Australian workforce in now underutilized facilities near where its design capabilities were centered. Was this a short term problem, or had the commercial market changed forever? The (A) case examines possibilities that company might pursue to bridge the presumed gap until market conditions improve, and the (B) case recounts some of those choices. The case focuses on the question of the importance for Austal to maintain manufacturing close to its design center, and how will it do this as its center of gravity increasingly shifts to other regions?

    Keywords: globalization; global markets; economic downturn; design and manufacturing; preservation of capabilities; shipbuilding; global footprint; military contracts; Geographic Location; Global Strategy; Globalized Markets and Industries; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Growth and Development Strategy; Business Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Ship Transportation; Transportation Industry; Australia; United States; Alabama; Philippines;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Margaret Pierson, and Dawn H. Lau. "Austal, Ltd. (A)." Harvard Business School Case 613-025, January 2013. View Details
  27. Cabot Corporation: The Fuel Cell Decision (B)

    Willy Shih and Ying Zhou

    Managers at Cabot Corporation are faced with deciding the future of its fuel cell program. The (A) case recounts the view of the business manager and the technical project lead, and the (B) case describes the perspective of a senior manager who is the head of the New Business Segment. Used in combination, the cases explore these very different perspectives, the different levels of subject matter expertise brought to the table by each team member, and they highlight the criteria and decision-making process used by the management of the company.

    Keywords: technical decision-making; decision making process; fuel cells; Decision Choices and Conditions; Decisions; Judgments; Business Plan; Business Exit or Shutdown; Energy Generation; Energy Sources; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Research and Development; Science-Based Business; Commercialization; Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; United States; Massachusetts;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Ying Zhou. "Cabot Corporation: The Fuel Cell Decision (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-067, January 2013. View Details
  28. Cabot Corporation: The Fuel Cell Decision (A)

    Willy Shih and Ying Zhou

    Managers at Cabot Corporation are faced with deciding the future of its fuel cell program. The (A) case recounts the view of the business manager and the technical project lead, and the (B) case describes the perspective of a senior manager who is the head of the New Business Segment. Used in combination, the cases explore these very different perspectives, the different levels of subject matter expertise brought to the table by each team member, and they highlight the criteria and decision-making process used by the management of the company.

    Keywords: technical decision-making; decision-making process; fuel cells; Decision Choices and Conditions; Decisions; Judgments; Business Plan; Business Exit or Shutdown; Energy Generation; Energy Sources; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Research and Development; Science-Based Business; Commercialization; Technology Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Massachusetts; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Ying Zhou. "Cabot Corporation: The Fuel Cell Decision (A)." Harvard Business School Case 613-066, January 2013. View Details
  29. AmTran Technology Ltd.

    Willy Shih, Jyun-Cheng Wang and Karen E. Robinson

    As an original design manufacturer (ODM) of television sets and leading supplier to Vizio, a market leader in the U.S. for LCD flat panel TVs, AmTran Technology Ltd. uses what founder Alpha Wu describes as a "WE" model in which western companies perform sales, marketing, and product definition work, while eastern companies in Asia like his perform the engineering and manufacturing work. Confronted with commoditization pressure, Wu is presented with the opportunity to license a major TV brand. Is this consistent with his model? The case explores the changes that have taken place in the consumer television receiver market and the challenges faced by leaders of the analog market like Sony. It is intended for use with the technical note, "Competency-destroying Technology Transitions: Why the Transition to Digital is Particularly Challenging," HBS No. 613-024.

    Keywords: modularity; technology transitions; analog; digital; television; TV; flat-panel; ATSC; NTSC; video; Global Strategy; Innovation and Management; Innovation Leadership; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Product Development; Product Design; Supply Chain; Business Strategy; Competitive Strategy; Technology Adoption; Technology Platform; Electronics Industry; Taiwan; United States; Japan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Jyun-Cheng Wang, and Karen E. Robinson. "AmTran Technology Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 613-069, December 2012. (Revised November 2013.) View Details
  30. ASUSTeK and the Google Nexus 7 Tablet

    Willy C. Shih and Jyun-Cheng Wang

    Days after Jerry Shen introduced a new tablet computer at the Consumer Electronics Show, a Google meeting convinced him to go with a lower price point and co-branding as the Nexus 7. While his company would have a premier position at launch, companies like Samsung posed a large competitive threat. He also knew he would sell more of the Android-powered tablets at the lower price, but how would he make money? The case explores the challenges of innovating in the Android value network in which firms specialized in only one part of the value chain, yet collectively they had to compete with a more vertically integrated Apple and its iPad. The case is intended to be part of a discussion on modularity and industry structure.

    Keywords: Nexus; google; ASUSTeK; Android; Tablet; Kindle; Kindle Fire; notebook computers; ODM; Apple; price point; App Store; ecosystem; Open Handset Alliance; reference design; iPad; EMS; electronic manufacturing services; smartphone; Innovation and Management; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Product Marketing; Product Launch; Product Positioning; Industry Structures; Product Design; Product Development; Business Strategy; Competitive Strategy; Mobile Technology; Technology Platform; Information Technology; Online Technology; Computer Industry; Information Technology Industry; Technology Industry; Taiwan; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Jyun-Cheng Wang. "ASUSTeK and the Google Nexus 7 Tablet." Harvard Business School Case 613-056, November 2012. (Revised May 2013.) View Details
  31. CSIRO: The Light Metals Flagship Decision

    Willy Shih, Margaret P. Pierson and Dawn Lau

    This case explores the challenge of investing in basic research as a public good. CSIRO was Australia's leading science and research agency, and it was chartered to enhance national prosperity through R&D. Its Flagships program was designed to align research interests with national priorities, with a strong focus on the adoption of research outputs. The Light Metals Flagship (LMF) was one of six flagships established in 2003, and its goal was to help the nation capture more of the added value of its resources by developing and commercializing downstream technologies in the processing and fabrication of products made from aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. While the LMF met with technical successes, Australian industry was reticent to co-invest. This lack of industry enthusiasm was in many ways unsurprising, as governments often found it important to fund long-term basic research that was outside of the horizon of firms. But what kind of a signal would stopping the program send? Was CSIRO prepared to let short-term thinking in light metals firms drive its agenda? The case examines the technical decision-making process.

    Keywords: R&D; basic research; government-funded research; public goods; extractive industries; metals; metals processing; Decision Choices and Conditions; Decisions; Globalized Markets and Industries; Growth and Development; Innovation Strategy; Technological Innovation; Research and Development; Science-Based Business; Technology Adoption; Technology Platform; Manufacturing Industry; Mining Industry; Oceania; Australia;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Margaret P. Pierson, and Dawn Lau. "CSIRO: The Light Metals Flagship Decision." Harvard Business School Case 613-029, November 2012. View Details
  32. Global Unichip Corporation (B)

    Willy Shih and Chen-Fu Chien

    Jim Lai, President of Global Unichip Corporation (GUC), mapped out the changes he saw coming to the global semiconductor industry. The big question was how many system developers would start coming directly to GUC.

    Keywords: abstraction; value-network; Vertical Integration; entry barriers; intermediaries; dis-intermediation; aggregator; vertical specialization; Technology Adoption; Technology Platform; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Integration; Technological Innovation; Innovation Strategy; Innovation and Management; Industry Structures; Hardware; Information Technology; Complexity; Semiconductor Industry; Technology Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Chen-Fu Chien. "Global Unichip Corporation (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-049, November 2012. (Revised August 2013.) View Details
  33. Global Unichip Corporation (A)

    Willy Shih and Chen-Fu Chien

    Global Unichip Corporation (GUC) is a design services company that acts as a front-end to TSMC, the world's largest semiconductor foundry. In so doing, it masked the complexity of the latest process technologies, and reduced the entry barriers for small firms to utilize the latest technology. In acting as an aggregator, it was also able to capture scale benefits. But it saw a change in the market coming as a major systems house customer came to GUC directly. Did this mean that it was enabling competition with TSMC's most important customers? Was it fostering disintermediation, and what did this portend for the future shape of the industry?

    Keywords: abstraction; value-network; complexity; Vertical Integration; entry barriers; intermediaries; dis-intermediation; aggregator; vertical specialization; Technology Adoption; Technology Platform; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Horizontal Integration; Vertical Integration; Technological Innovation; Innovation Strategy; Innovation and Management; Industry Structures; Hardware; Complexity; Information Technology; Semiconductor Industry; Technology Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Chen-Fu Chien. "Global Unichip Corporation (A)." Harvard Business School Case 613-048, October 2012. (Revised August 2013.) View Details
  34. Intraoperative Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer (B)

    Willy Shih

    The intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) business at Carl Zeiss Meditec had struggled with growth since the time of the (A) case. Though the unit had grown revenues in excess of 50% and had exceeded its EBIT target, it faced several key strategic choices. Should it continue to specialize in the breast cancer segment, or should it focus more on surgery with radiotherapy as one technical solution. Should it continue its focus on more mature markets, or should it be making focused investments in emerging markets? The (A) case poses IORT as a disruptive technology, and the (B) case offers the instructor an opportunity to gauge the progress the protagonist has made in applying that framework.

    Keywords: radiotherapy; breast cancer; brachytherapy; therapeutic radiation; oncology; oncology treatment systems; Elekta AB; Varian Medical Systems; Xoft; Electronic Brachytherapy; Intraoperative radiotherapy; Disruptive Innovation; Health Care and Treatment; Entrepreneurship; Technological Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Health Industry; Germany;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Intraoperative Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-040, September 2012. View Details
  35. Digital Microscopy at Carl Zeiss: Managing Disruption

    Willy Shih

    Ulrich Simon, the head of the Microscopy business group at Carl Zeiss AG knew that his unit was facing a disruptive threat, so he chartered a special team to tackle the industrial segment. Given a high degree of autonomy, the project team developed an understanding of the marketplace challenge and proceeded to develop and execute on a new business plan. Simon gave the team ample freedom to develop new processes and priorities appropriate to the market segment needs, but he couldn't help but wonder whether it would continue as a stand-alone unit or he would need to reintegrate it into the mainline business. He also was nervous about the plan itself. The team had established timelines and milestones, but now they had to execute and deliver their first product next year.

    Keywords: modularity; High technology products; emergent strategy; Product lines; Corporate Strategy; Technology Platform; Disruptive Innovation; Technology Industry; Germany;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Digital Microscopy at Carl Zeiss: Managing Disruption." Harvard Business School Case 613-039, September 2012. (Revised April 2013.) View Details
  36. Industrial Metrology: Getting In-Line? (B)

    Willy Shih

    Rainer Ohnheiser, the President of Carl Zeiss's Business Group Industrial Metrology (IMT), was focused on the threat that in-line metrology posed to Carl Zeiss IMT's core business. Historically, coordinate measurement machines (CMMs) that employed tactile measurement had fueled great market success for the division, but alternative non-contact measurement methods that employed optical or x-ray technologies were rapidly gaining ground in the market. This case follows the progress that the IMT division has made since the (A) case, and examines the challenges that lie ahead.

    Keywords: performance trajectories; emerging technologies; manufacturing tools; Carl Zeiss; Go-to-market strategy; Disruptive Innovation; Technological Innovation; Production; Performance Improvement; Measurement and Metrics; Manufacturing Industry; Germany;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Industrial Metrology: Getting In-Line? (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 613-041, September 2012. View Details
  37. Competency-Destroying Technology Transitions: Why the Transition to Digital Is Particularly Challenging

    Willy Shih

    Some technology transitions are exceedingly difficult for incumbent firms to execute. The bankruptcy filing by the Eastman Kodak Company highlighted the difficulty companies faced when their core business transitioned from an analog to a digital world. Kodak's business was built on the sale of a complex manufactured product - color photographic film that was exceedingly difficult to manufacture - with correspondingly high barriers to entry. Over more than a century, it developed the complex chemistry and high speed coating technologies that enabled it to roll-coat tiny strips of plastic with as many as 24 layers of complex organic dyes and photosensitizers at thousands of square feet per minute. Its color film and paper products including Kodachrome and Kodacolor preserved many of the iconic images of the last century. Beginning in the 1990s, the company built a digital photography business, yet by 2012 the company was in reorganization and its prognosis was guarded. Kodak faced a particularly challenging analog to digital transition, like many companies that have faced the waves of creative destruction wrought by technological innovation. Why was an analog to digital transition in the core technology of a business particularly challenging? This note reviews some of the management research on how firms have fared with technology transitions, and then explains why the conversion of a technology from analog to digital is uniquely problematic. The challenge that faced Kodak is the same challenge facing companies like Panasonic and Sony, telecom equipment companies, and other industries now that the underlying technology through which products and services are built has changed.

    Keywords: technology transitions; competency-destroying; digital; analog; digital transition; modular; modularity; technological change; radical innovation; incremental innovation; architectural innovation; modular innovation; disruptive innovation; sustaining innovation; competency-enhancing; noise propagation; perfect copying; digital music; digital media; consumer electronics; Kodak; Sony; Panasonic; Disruptive Innovation; Technology Adoption; Transition; Change Management; Consumer Products Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Competency-Destroying Technology Transitions: Why the Transition to Digital Is Particularly Challenging." Harvard Business School Background Note 613-024, August 2012. (Revised August 2013.) View Details
  38. Microsoft IT India

    Willy C. Shih, Margaret Pierson, Alexander Down, William Gustave Jair-Shemuel Jurist, Diego Medicina and Helen Wang

    Raj Biyani faced tough challenges managing Microsoft IT India: leading a remote development organization in which key decisions were made in Redmond, and managing an organization that was perceived as less strategic than its sister Microsoft India Development Center with which it shared the Hyderabad, India site. The case follows Biyani's thought process in diagnosing the organization's problems, and poses the challenges of leading globally distributed operations.

    Keywords: organizational development; cross-functional management; foreign subsidiaries; strategy alignment; organizational behavior; leadership; Indian software development; global distributed R&D; software industry; Organizational Structure; Research and Development; Operations; Leadership; Globalized Firms and Management; Business Subsidiaries; Information Technology; Technology Industry; India;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Margaret Pierson, Alexander Down, William Gustave Jair-Shemuel Jurist, Diego Medicina, and Helen Wang. "Microsoft IT India ." Harvard Business School Case 612-078, June 2012. View Details
  39. Business-driven Research at IBM Research India

    Willy Shih, Margaret Pierson, Pankaj Agarwal, Diego Medicina and Juan Prajogo

    What is the right mix between business-driven and pure research? This case considers the question in the setting of IBM Research India, where a management push for balance between exploratory research and the fulfillment of business needs meets some resistance from employees who were accustomed to so-called pure basic research. The case looks at the Spoken Web project, a good example of use-inspired research for which management has yet to develop a viable business plan.

    Keywords: R&D; computer services industries; information technology; IT R&D; internet; Web-enabled application; technological planning; emerging technologies; Information Technology; Web; Research and Development; Projects; Practice; India;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Margaret Pierson, Pankaj Agarwal, Diego Medicina, and Juan Prajogo. "Business-driven Research at IBM Research India ." Harvard Business School Case 612-076, June 2012. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  40. HP Labs in Singapore

    Willy Shih, Pankaj Agarwal and Christine Chi

    When HP established a branch of its corporate research lab in Singapore, the government played a key role through its Economic Development Board (EDB). Chris Whitney, the lab's director, sought to generate revenue from the lab's innovations, making it financially independent from corporate funding. The case explores HP's history in Singapore and the role of the EDB in encouraging the growth of local R&D capabilities. The case poses questions on the sustainability of the funding model.

    Keywords: Research and Development; Factories, Labs, and Plants; Development Economics; Government and Politics; Motivation and Incentives; Innovation and Invention; Revenue; Technology Industry; Singapore;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Pankaj Agarwal, and Christine Chi. "HP Labs in Singapore." Harvard Business School Case 612-080, April 2012. (Revised June 2012.) View Details
  41. Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation

    Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

    Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), a government agency, invests in public-private partnerships to stimulate commercialization of Danish scientific research within the country's industry. DNATF established a process for evaluating proposals, making project awards, and then actively managing those projects to try to improve the likelihood of success. DNATF has a small staff of project managers who act as single points of contact (SPOCs) for the projects. SPOCs are confronted with a broad range of projects rich in scientific complexity and technical issues, well beyond one individual's ability to maintain subject matter expertise. The case poses several questions: How does the organization manage and evaluate scientific and technical progress in circumstances when it is difficult to have subject matter expertise? How do managers know if they are pushing hard enough, or if they are taking too aggressive a stance?

    Keywords: Leadership; Commercialization; Management Practices and Processes; Experience and Expertise; Innovation and Invention; Public Ownership; Business and Government Relations; Technology Industry; Denmark;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation." Harvard Business School Case 612-091, April 2012. View Details
  42. Renesas Electronics and the Automotive Microcontroller Supply Chain (A)

    Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

    The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan in March 2011 caused extensive damage to Renesas Electronics wafer fabrication facility, a critical link in the global automotive supply chain. Many OEMs sole-sourced customized microprocessors from the fab, so its shutdown forced the "Big Three" of Detroit and Japan to shut down production as well. Data from two automotive customers in particular, allowing the instructor to look at issues of delayed differentiation, sole-sourcing decisions, and/or Renesas' market position as a producer of low-volume customized components, in the context of supply chain disaster recovery. The two OEM's had different strategies with respect to cross-utilization of components between product lines. Therefore, a simple numerical assignment will show students the power of delayed differentiation in components. The OEM with higher cross-utilization (lower customization of components between product lines) had more flexibility in which vehicles they stopped producing during the shortage. Similarly, students can look at the impact of delayed differentiation at the product level by looking at the production process within the fab itself. Here Renesas's customization causes early differentiation. Again numbers are provided to work examples. Finally, broader questions around the viability of Renesas's market position can be discussed. How should they respond to the disaster in the short-term? How can they assure customers they can handle future disruptions differently? And from the OEMs' perspective, do they need to change their product design to allow for the incorporation of alternative parts? Such parts have downsides of their own. The findings in the two numerical examples can be used to drive this discussion, or a general strategy framework may be applied.

    Keywords: Natural Disasters; Crisis Management; Supply Chain Management; Production; Strategy; Semiconductor Industry; Auto Industry; Japan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "Renesas Electronics and the Automotive Microcontroller Supply Chain (A)." Harvard Business School Case 612-071, April 2012. View Details
  43. General Motors Technical Center India – Powertrain Engineering

    Willy Shih, William Jurist, Brian McIntosh and Helen Wang

    Prabjot Nanua was proud of the growing capabilities of the General Motors Technical Center India Powertrain Engineering group that he oversaw. Since 2003, engineers there had expanded the center's capabilities, developing a reputation within GM for completing high-quality design and analysis projects for other Technical Centers at a substantially lower cost. In areas such as tolerance stacking analysis, GMTCI-Powertrain was now the only location in GM worldwide that performed this type of work. Nanua thought about the next stage of development for the center. Should they "go deep" and focus on more areas of technical competency where the center had developed a competitive advantage? GMTCI could become the center of expertise for a narrower set of methods and capabilities like they had done in tolerance stacking. Or should they "go broad" and continue to lobby headquarters for more complex assignments that might ultimately lead to program ownership for an entire vehicle? Each scenario had different implications for how GMTCI fit within the network of Technical Centers and corporate GM. If they did the former, they might be faced with the perception that GMTCI was limited to back-office analysis for GM's products. But when Nanua put on his headquarters "hat," he wondered if that shouldn't also be the corporation's priority for them.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Business Headquarters; Research and Development; Business Strategy; Manufacturing Industry; Auto Industry; India;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, William Jurist, Brian McIntosh, and Helen Wang. "General Motors Technical Center India – Powertrain Engineering." Harvard Business School Case 612-074, April 2012. (Revised August 2013.) View Details
  44. Modularity in Design and Manufacturing: Application to Commercial Aircraft

    Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

    The note discusses the modularization of design, and the modularization of manufacturing in the commercial aerospace industry. It is intended to be taught with the case, "Boeing 737 Industrial Footprint: The Wichita Decision," HBS No. 612-036.

    Keywords: Design; Production; Technology; Aerospace Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "Modularity in Design and Manufacturing: Application to Commercial Aircraft." Harvard Business School Background Note 612-035, October 2011. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  45. Boeing 737 Industrial Footprint: The Wichita Decision

    Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

    The case examines the circumstances leading up to the Boeing Company's decision to spin-off its Wichita Division. This case is intended to be taught with two other notes: "On the Use of Capital Efficiency Metrics," HBS No. 612-034, "Modularity in Design and Manufacturing: Application to Commercial Aircraft," HBS No. 612-035.

    Keywords: Teaching; Capital; Standards; Design; Production; Air Transportation Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "Boeing 737 Industrial Footprint: The Wichita Decision." Harvard Business School Case 612-036, October 2011. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  46. On the Use of Capital Efficiency Metrics

    Willy Shih and Margaret Pierson

    This note describes capital efficiency metrics including RONA, ROIC, and EVA. This note is intended to be used with the case "Boeing 737 Industrial Footprint: The Wichita Decision," HBS No. 612-036.

    Keywords: Capital; Performance Efficiency;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Margaret Pierson. "On the Use of Capital Efficiency Metrics." Harvard Business School Background Note 612-034, October 2011. (Revised October 2012.) View Details
  47. Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company: Marketing Challenges for the “Underprivileged Latecomer”

    Willy Shih and Nancy Hua Dai

    As Mr. Li Chunrong visited the new assembly line for the Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company in Wuhan, China, he contemplated the position his business unit found itself in: a latecomer. As a state-owned enterprise Dongfeng had entered into numerous joint ventures to produce automobiles under foreign brands, but its foray into selling vehicles under its own brand had only started recently, and now the unit faced a crowded market filled with fierce competition. As he walked back to the office, he reflected on the time it was taking to establish the Dongfeng brand. Would his business unit grow strong enough in their five province geographic focus before other hungry competitors looking for growth piled into these market areas? Or should they go more aggressively to attack the coastal areas with its new 2000 cc model to be launched in late 2011?

    Keywords: Market Entry and Exit; Problems and Challenges; Auto Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Nancy Hua Dai. "Dongfeng Passenger Vehicle Company: Marketing Challenges for the “Underprivileged Latecomer”." Harvard Business School Case 612-029, October 2011. View Details
  48. Digital Microscopy Is Making Me Crazy!

    Willy Shih

    For Carl Zeiss Microimaging, modular hardware and software enabled customers to tailor Zeiss's broad range of microscopy systems hardware and software to meet a wide range of needs from basic scientific research in the biological and medical sciences to clinical applications, materials science, and industrial sectors. Modularity also provided Carl Zeiss' engineers the benefit of decoupling the development schedules of individual components and subsystems. Yet the well codified interfaces at many module boundaries also opened the system up to outside providers of components, mainly software. This served research scientists who were doing cutting edge research extremely well, as they wanted to be able to apply the latest techniques and analysis tools. At the other extreme, clinical and QA/QC applications by their nature had a much higher need for automation, because of the repetitive nature of tasks. Simple, integrated solutions seemed to make more sense in these circumstances, and many applications did not demand the ultraprecision of Carl Zeiss's hardware platforms. Rather there was a call for simplicity and robustness, especially in production environments. The case exposes some of the strategic issues and opportunities facing the microscopy business.

    Keywords: Hardware; Software; Corporate Strategy; Disruptive Innovation; Science-Based Business; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Business Conglomerates; Technology Platform; Opportunities; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Digital Microscopy Is Making Me Crazy!" Harvard Business School Case 612-002, July 2011. (Revised January 2013.) View Details
  49. Building Watson: Not So Elementary, My Dear!

    Willy Shih

    This case is set inside IBM Research's efforts to build a computer that can successfully take on human challengers playing the game show Jeopardy! It opens with the machine named Watson offering the incorrect answer "Toronto" to a seemingly simple question during the championship match. Was the answer a reflection of a strategic weakness, or was it actually consistent with design principles established by the development team? The case seeks to expand students' view of the product development process. Traditional software development projects begin with the gathering of requirements and analysis of the problem, and the writing of a detailed specification. The Jeopardy! problem is different - it requires a probabilistic approach where there is no closed form solution. Instead statistical patterns in the data are important and there is no obvious mapping to the way queries are expressed. Such problems are increasingly common in data mining, optimization problems, or Internet applications where the goal is to find an acceptably good solution in a short amount of time, when a deterministic approach might be less fruitful or impractical. We aspire for students to recognize that product development can take many forms, and that these are enabled by creativity and the right organizational flexibility and mindset. The case highlights the key role of performance metrics in building a flexible system that could be refined through experimentation and testing, steadily improving performance with the incorporation of new algorithmic ideas and new data sources. The case then delves extensively into the analysis of the "Toronto" failure and why the answer that Watson produced was a rational product of a sound strategy. This leaves students to judge the generality of the strategy and its applicability to important business problems.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Standards; Product Development; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Mathematical Methods; Research and Development; Information Technology;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Building Watson: Not So Elementary, My Dear!" Harvard Business School Case 612-017, September 2011. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  50. IBM China Development Lab Shanghai: Capability by Design

    Willy Shih, Kamen Bliznashki and Fan Zhao

    When IBM shifted from a traditional territory-based multinational organization to what it called a globally integrated enterprise, it established its headquarters for "Growth Markets" in Shanghai and "Established Markets" in New York. This positioned its China Development Labs (CDL) in Shanghai as a key platform for serving growth markets including the BRIC countries and other rapidly developing regions. Though quite young, CDL Shanghai had grown to become one of IBM's largest labs. The case examines IBM's early-mover establishment of its corporate research lab and CDL, and through the examination of three product development vignettes looks at the systematic approach taken to the development of lab personnel and capabilities.

    Keywords: Diversification; Corporate Strategy; Global Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Research and Development; Emerging Markets; Product Development; Information Technology Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Kamen Bliznashki, and Fan Zhao. "IBM China Development Lab Shanghai: Capability by Design." Harvard Business School Case 611-055, June 2011. (Revised October 2012.) View Details
  51. Scale Effects, Network Effects, and Investment Strategy

    Willy Shih

    This technical note discusses scale economies, and direct and indirect network effects in the context of building better business models. Some of the great business disasters of the dot.com bubble were companies that scaled their infrastructure without working through the scaling effects. This note also discusses multi-sided platforms, the skewing of business models reflecting a mispricing to get one side on board, and suggests the importance of testing in establishing viable business models.

    Keywords: Business Model; Investment; Price; Crisis Management; Network Effects; Multi-Sided Platforms; Strategy;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Scale Effects, Network Effects, and Investment Strategy." Harvard Business School Background Note 611-082, May 2011. View Details
  52. Office of Technology Transfer - Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences

    Willy Shih, Sen Chai, Kamen Bliznashki and Courtney Hyland

    Gordon Zong is trying to teach Chinese universities and research institutes how to do effective technology transfer and IP licensing, but he is trying to do it in an environment with weak property rights and an underdeveloped support infrastructure. As the managing director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, he works with researchers at the forefront of biology and biotech, yet he faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles to getting the technology commercialized within domestic Chinese companies, so he has turned to global multinational pharma companies, for now. The purpose of the case is to help present and future managers at global multinationals who have responsibility for R&D strategy to understand some of the complexities of the Chinese intellectual property environment so that they can build effective participation strategies for their organizations. Understanding the misaligned incentives that result in the production of junk patents and the challenges of patent enforcement, as well as the direction of change are vital, because as the Chinese system evolves quickly, the implications of those changes will have important commercial consequences.

    Keywords: Multinational Firms and Management; Patents; Knowledge Management; Law Enforcement; Business and Government Relations; Research and Development; Biotechnology Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Sen Chai, Kamen Bliznashki, and Courtney Hyland. "Office of Technology Transfer - Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences." Harvard Business School Case 611-057, March 2011. (Revised June 2012.) View Details
  53. Office of Technology Transfer - Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (TN)

    Willy Shih and Sen Chai

    Teaching Note for 611057.

    Keywords: Patents; Rights; Infrastructure; Multinational Firms and Management; Research and Development; Complexity; Commercialization; Technology Adoption; Motivation and Incentives; Biotechnology Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Shanghai;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Sen Chai. "Office of Technology Transfer - Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 611-058, April 2011. View Details
  54. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Company in 2011

    Willy Shih and Jia Cheng

    When David Wang took over as the CEO of SMIC, he knew that if he was to capitalize on the company's strategic location in the China market, he would have to transform the company mindset and its operating structure from its roots in the manufacturing of DRAMs to the service orientation that was necessary to support the customer promise of being a foundry. This meant transforming from a high volume continuous flow manufacturer of commodities chips to a job shop structure that focused on custom manufacturing services. This entailed more than rearranging the manufacturing lines, it meant a dramatic shift in the company culture. Wang also had to ensure the firm's ability to offer the most advanced process technologies. Having fallen behind in previous generations, his predecessor had chosen to license process technology from IBM. Now he faced the question of whether his rapidly changing and maturing organization had the ability to go it alone on future process technology development, or whether it still had to depend on IBM, at least for the time being.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Resource Allocation; Market Entry and Exit; Business Processes; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Customization and Personalization; Semiconductor Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Jia Cheng. "Semiconductor Manufacturing International Company in 2011." Harvard Business School Case 611-053, March 2011. View Details
  55. Carrot or Stick? Getting Paid for Innovation at Tessera Technologies

    Willy C. Shih

    Tessera Technologies has been very successful developing technologies for the semiconductor and mobile device industry, and then licensing them broadly to manufacturers. In addition to licensing patents, it also supplies know-how to help manufacturers move into high-volume production. But the changing environment for patent enforcement, in particular the use of injunctions post eBay v. MercExchange, has brought new challenges to the company's licensing model. "Patent holdouts," companies who chose to litigate rather than license, created pressure from existing licensees. Further, as the company advanced one of its newest technology developments, a cooling technology for portable devices, it had to contend with markets where there were not strong property rights regimes. Would the company be able to get paid for its innovations, or was its model doomed?

    Keywords: Business Model; Innovation Strategy; Patents; Courts and Trials; Rights; Mobile Technology; Semiconductor Industry; California;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Carrot or Stick? Getting Paid for Innovation at Tessera Technologies." Harvard Business School Case 610-085, March 2010. (Revised January 2011.) View Details
  56. Shanzhai! MediaTek and the "White Box" Handset Market

    Willy C. Shih, Chen-Fu Chien and Jyun-Cheng Wang

    The term "white box" is often used to describe products without a brand name. Such products are assembled from standardized parts, and they became a very popular category of desktop PCs. Hsinchu, Taiwan based MediaTek is a fabless semiconductor company that unleashed a white-box market in mobile phone handsets by offering an innovative "complete solution" for 2.5G and 2.7G handset manufacturers, dramatically lowering the barriers to entry into the business. Besides enabling many Chinese branded manufacturers to enter the business, the grey market in components unleashed a complementary market of "Shanzhai" makers. Together these firms captured a significant fraction of the Chinese market, as well as exports (both legal and grey) to 102 countries. CEO Ming-Kai Tsai is faced with the question of the best growth path. While multiple tier one handset makers are dismissive of MediaTek, perhaps because of its role in enabling the Shanzhai, the company's offerings have enabled an "army of ants" to challenge the leaders. Can MediaTek move up-market to sell its chipsets to the likes of Nokia? Under what terms?

    Keywords: Disruptive Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Emerging Markets; Competitive Advantage; Wireless Technology; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chen-Fu Chien, and Jyun-Cheng Wang. Shanzhai! MediaTek and the "White Box" Handset Market. Harvard Business School Case 610-081, April 2010. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  57. Chi Mei Optoelectronics

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

    Chi Mei is a Taiwanese industrial group that makes a major diversification into the technology intensive TFT-LCD flat panel display industry. Because the diversification is far away from its core competence in petrochemicals, it is an opportunity to examine how the firm was able to become a global leader in the relatively short span of ten years. Such organic diversifications are relatively unusual by Western standards, especially into technologies and markets that have relatively high entry barriers and where there is no deep-rooted national technological or scientific foundation. As such Chi Mei is an interesting vehicle to examine the rise of a major Asian industrial cluster with global scope which has no participants or competitors in the West. The case can also be used to expose students to the global supply chain for key information technology components. Taiwan and Korea are today the major world centers for the manufacture of semiconductors (in particular DRAMs and FLASH memory) and flat panel displays. Taiwan is also the center for notebook computer manufacturing, and Taiwanese companies, through their China-based manufacturing and assembly operations, drive 60% of the IT exports from China. Yet few students even know the identity of these major global players. Taiwan- and Korea-based TFT-LCD flat panels are the critical components in notebook computers, computer monitors, and flat panel televisions from essentially all well known global brands.

    Keywords: Globalized Firms and Management; Supply Chain; Corporate Strategy; Diversification; Information Technology; Electronics Industry; Manufacturing Industry; China; South Korea; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chintay Shih, Jyun-Cheng Wang, and Ho Howard Yu. "Chi Mei Optoelectronics." Harvard Business School Case 608-123, May 2008. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  58. AMD Dresden: Copy Inexactly!

    Willy C. Shih

    The establishment and growth of AMD's Dresden, Germany manufacturing site illustrates how processes develop in an organization and how those processes get institutionalized into a unique culture. Located in the Free State of Saxony in the eastern part of Germany (the former GDR), AMD's investment in the region leverages a historic and rather unique skill base in engineering and the sciences and catalyzes the rebirth and growth of one of the largest semiconductor clusters in Europe. Contrary to conventional wisdom in the semiconductor industry, the Dresden team only copied from its home corporate locations in the United States those processes and practices that it felt would work in Germany rather than follow a "copy exactly" strategy. Dresden becomes AMD's sole worldwide manufacturing location for microprocessors, but now the company is faced with the question of whether it can successfully transplant the highly successful culture to other global locations because of favorable investment incentives.

    Keywords: Geographic Location; Industry Clusters; Business Processes; Organizational Culture; Semiconductor Industry; Europe; Dresden;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "AMD Dresden: Copy Inexactly!" Harvard Business School Case 609-004, August 2008. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  59. Upgrading the Economy: Industrial Policy and Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry

    Willy C. Shih and Jyun-Cheng Wang

    The government-led creation and incubation of the semiconductor industry in Taiwan is a striking success for advocates of strong industrial policy. It has led to the island nation's domination of the global "foundry" business in which firms like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) manufacture the designs of "fabless" design companies. The two have a combined global market share of close to 70% of this global business segment. This success was all the more striking because when the initiative began, the country had few of the large-scale firms that could support the R&D and scale necessary to enter such sophisticated capital-intensive industries. There were no firms with the deep technological roots or the skill base to even begin. Yet government planners recognized the challenges of upgrading the nation's technology base and formulated a strategy that entailed the creation of "pilot agencies" that would serve as vehicles to bridge between sources of leading-edge technology (predominantly sourced from overseas) and the commercialization to be carried out by local firms.

    Keywords: Economic Growth; Industry Structures; State Ownership; Business and Government Relations; Competition; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Jyun-Cheng Wang. "Upgrading the Economy: Industrial Policy and Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry." Harvard Business School Case 609-089, February 2009. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  60. Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (A)

    Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

    For Intel Corporation, the processes and priorities that have made it so successful are difficult to overcome as the company tries to diversify away from its core. The case examines the history and evolution of the New Business Initiatives (NBI) group, as the leader grapples with the questions surrounding why so few of the unit's start-ups actually become significant businesses within Intel's existing divisional structure. While a handful have successfully "graduated" and continue to show high levels of promise, these ventures did not represent truly new and distinct businesses for Intel. Rather they were strongly tied to existing businesses, raising the question of whether NBI had simply become a way for existing divisions to off-load budgetary risk. The case examines what worked, and what didn't, and the challenges posed by transitioning new ventures into the mainstream of the company.

    Keywords: Business Divisions; Transition; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Business History; Management Practices and Processes; Resource Allocation; Organizational Structure; Problems and Challenges; Risk and Uncertainty;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (A)." Harvard Business School Case 609-043, October 2008. (Revised December 2010.) View Details
  61. Pandora Radio: Fire Unprofitable Customers?

    Willy C. Shih and Halle Alicia Tecco

    Pandora Radio is at a crossroads. Founder Tim Westergren has just been told by a well known VC to get rid of his unprofitable customers in order to get his costs down, but Westergren is not sure that such actions are consistent with his company's business model. Pandora Radio is the largest Internet music stream site, and its rapidly growing user base loves the free customizable music stream under an advertising supported model. Pandora has to pay royalties for every song streamed, and has other variable costs that scale linearly with hours consumed, but it has taken no steps to restrict the amount of usage among its heaviest and most loyal users. Can Pandora make its model work when a significant percentage of its users cause it to lose money?

    Keywords: Business Model; Customer Satisfaction; Music Entertainment; Venture Capital; Profit; Growth and Development Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Internet; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Halle Alicia Tecco. "Pandora Radio: Fire Unprofitable Customers?" Harvard Business School Case 610-077, March 2010. (Revised November 2010.) View Details
  62. Reverse Engineering, Learning, and Innovation

    Willy C. Shih

    This background reading looks at reverse engineering in the context of piracy and knock-offs in emerging markets like China. It first considers legal aspects of reverse engineering in strong property rights regimes like the United States as a way of unpacking the legal issues. It considers the importance of tacit or unexposed knowledge, and whether modularizing a system facilitates the recovery of design intent. Finally we look at the role of reverse engineering in the development of capabilities and how it enhances a firm's absorptive capabilities. It is intended to be used as a background reading for the case "From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group," HBS No. 610-057.

    Keywords: Crime and Corruption; Learning; Engineering; Innovation and Invention; Intellectual Property; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Emerging Markets; China; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Reverse Engineering, Learning, and Innovation." Harvard Business School Background Note 611-039, October 2010. (Revised May 2012.) View Details
  63. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals: Building Value from the IP Estate

    Willy C. Shih and Sen Chai

    The learning objective of this case is to help students recognize the interplay between intellectual property (IP) rights and corporate strategy. We do this by examining what is a fairly atypical circumstance today in which a single firm is able to secure what it perceives to be a frontier IP "estate" that blocks competitors from "practicing" in a significant part of the field. Those who elect to sign a license agreement must pay a high license fee and therefore help to fund the company's R&D. The company, meanwhile, must balance the immediate benefit of non-dilutive financing obtainable from the license fees vs. enabling a potential future competitor. The case setting is a lawsuit over a seemingly arcane issue: whether one of the co-owners of a key patent application is properly prosecuting the application. Understanding the issue requires students to progressively build up an understanding of some key aspects of U.S. patent law. Then by piecing together the strategy of the company and how it is driven by its IP position, students can understand why the litigation represents such a high stakes gamble.

    Keywords: Patents; Lawsuits and Litigation; Rights; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Biotechnology Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Sen Chai. "Alnylam Pharmaceuticals: Building Value from the IP Estate." Harvard Business School Case 611-009, September 2010. (Revised July 2013.) View Details
  64. Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise

    Willy C. Shih

    This Module Note for Instructors outlines the structure and content of the Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise MBA second year elective course at the Harvard Business School. The course focuses on giving students a solid grounding in the construction of business theory so that they may recognize well researched theories of causality as a basis for understanding why things happen the way that they do. The hope is that they will become not only discerning users of theory, but capable developers of their own theories as well. The note should be helpful to instructors who wish to teach about the theory of disruption and the challenges successful organizations face in responding to change, jobs-based segmentation, and other tenets of strategy formation and implementation.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Business Growth and Maturation;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise." Harvard Business School Course Overview Note 610-099, June 2010. (Revised October 2010.) View Details
  65. From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for 610057.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Transformation; Problems and Challenges; Taxation; Technology; Selection and Staffing; Talent and Talent Management; Corporate Strategy; Acquisition; Technology Adoption; Supply Chain; Motorcycle Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 611-011, October 2010. View Details
  66. Assembling Smartphones: Takt Time ≠ Cycle Time?

    Willy Shih and Ethan Bernstein

    The case was prepared to be used as part of a process review in the first year Technology and Operations Management course at HBS. It offers students an opportunity to discuss the context of a manufacturing process choice, and then examine actual production numbers that resulted from a series of choices. While there isn't a traditional case issue, the discussion should focus on the gap between theoretical process designs and the reality of practical implementations, with the impact of operator variability in pace and the complex intertwining with work scope. The case only meant for one discussion pasture to review the Hayes-Wheelwright product-process matrix, and the impact of variability on line performance. While comparative numbers for the process choices are provided, the hope would be to develop students' intuition around why the numbers change so much.

    Keywords: Cognition and Thinking; Research and Development; Design; Six Sigma; Measurement and Metrics; Production;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Ethan Bernstein. "Assembling Smartphones: Takt Time ≠ Cycle Time?" Harvard Business School Case 611-012, September 2010. (Revised December 2012.) View Details
  67. Quanta Research Institute: Rainforest or Hothouse?

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

    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. View Details
  68. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals: Building Value from the IP Estate (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for 611009.

    Keywords: Value; Patents; Corporate Strategy; Competition; Research and Development; Lawsuits and Litigation; Pharmaceutical Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Alnylam Pharmaceuticals: Building Value from the IP Estate (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 611-010, September 2010. View Details
  69. From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group

    Willy C. Shih and Nancy Hua Dai

    As Zuo Zongshen drove the transformation of the Zongshen Industrial Group from an early imitator in the motorcycle business to a company that increasingly focused on innovation as a way to get out of the hyper-competitive commodity business, he continually faced new challenges. The company had become a leader in gasoline powered motorcycles and small gas engines, but increasing taxes and restrictions on the use of motorcycles in congested urban areas had spawned a new industry, electric motorbikes, which posed a threat to the company's core business. Sourcing the technology for these e-bikes, and hiring and retaining the management and creative talent the company needed, were continuing challenges. The case traces the development of capabilities in the Zongshen Industrial Group, how it used the early imitation phase to foster rapid technological learning and upgrading, and how it used a unique corporate structure and listing strategy to finance the acquisition of important technologies.

    Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Learning; Investment; Disruptive Innovation; Knowledge Acquisition; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Competitive Strategy; Manufacturing Industry; Motorcycle Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Nancy Hua Dai. "From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group." Harvard Business School Case 610-057, May 2010. (Revised June 2012.) View Details
  70. Shanzhai! MediaTek and the "White Box" Handset Market (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for 610081.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Hardware; Mobile Technology; Brands and Branding; Market Entry and Exit; Trade; Growth and Development Strategy; Semiconductor Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. Shanzhai! MediaTek and the "White Box" Handset Market (TN). Harvard Business School Teaching Note 611-007, July 2010. View Details
  71. Chet Huber on OnStar, video

    Willy C. Shih

    Chet Huber, general manager of GM's OnStar unit, givbes an update on how OnStar is doing, talks about the job OnStar does for consumers, and reflects on assembling the OnStar team. The video is organized into three chapters so that instructors may use then independently. This video is a supplement to "OnStar: Not Your Father's General Motors,: HBS Case No. 610-029.

    Keywords: Product Positioning; Product Development; Service Delivery; Performance Evaluation; Groups and Teams; Auto Industry; Telecommunications Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Chet Huber on OnStar, video." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 610-716, June 2010. View Details
  72. Delta Electronics Hybrid Power Train

    Willy C. Shih and Jyun-Cheng Wang

    Delta Electronics, the world's largest manufacturer of switching power supplies, hoped to enter the market for gasoline-electric hybrid power trains for automobiles by being a major component and subsystem supplier. While most public awareness of hybrid vehicles fell to the tier one integrated vehicle manufacturers, Delta felt it had an opportunity to enter the market via new automotive market entrants in China who had comparatively fewer capabilities and were willing to purchase major subsystems. Yet the company faced a dilemma -- a major customer wanted Delta to transfer ownership of key intellectual property as a condition of doing business. The case affords students an opportunity to consider whether a technological shift will enable what seems traditionally to be a highly integrated product design to shift to a modular architecture, and consider the implications for appropriability of returns.

    Keywords: Investment Return; Intellectual Property; Emerging Markets; Industry Clusters; Partners and Partnerships; Electronics Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Jyun-Cheng Wang. "Delta Electronics Hybrid Power Train." Harvard Business School Case 610-098, May 2010. (Revised August 2013.) View Details
  73. Tim Westergren of Pandora Radio

    Willy C. Shih and Halle Alicia Tecco

    Pandora Radio is at a crossroads. Founder Tim Westergren has just been told by a well known VC to get rid of his unprofitable customers in order to get his costs down, but Westergren is not sure that such actions are consistent with his company's business model. Pandora Radio is the largest Internet music stream site, and its rapidly growing user base loves the free customizable music stream under an advertising supported model. Pandora has to pay royalties for every song streamed, and has other variable costs that scale linearly with hours consumed, but it has taken no steps to restrict the amount of usage among its heaviest and most loyal users. Can Pandora make its model work when a significant percentage of its users cause it to lose money? This 9:45 minute video may be used to debrief the case; Westergren recounts some of the history and key issues facing the company, and details the outcome of limiting their top users.

    Keywords: History; Business Model; Customers; Venture Capital; Internet; Cost Management; Outcome or Result; Customization and Personalization; Growth and Development Strategy; Music Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Halle Alicia Tecco. "Tim Westergren of Pandora Radio." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 610-714, May 2010. View Details
  74. Carrot or Stick? Getting Paid for Innovation at Tessera Technologies (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for 610085.

    Keywords: Patents; Production; Situation or Environment; Law Enforcement; Lawsuits and Litigation; Technology; Growth and Development; Innovation and Invention; Technology Industry; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Carrot or Stick? Getting Paid for Innovation at Tessera Technologies (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-094, April 2010. View Details
  75. A Giant Among Women

    Willy C. Shih, Ethan S Bernstein, Maly Hout Bernstein, Jyun-Cheng Wang and Yi-Ling Wei

    Few CEOs successfully manage the evolution of their companies from OEM outsourcer to branded manufacturer to expert consumer marketer as well as Tony Lo, CEO of Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd., now the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world. In the mid-1980s, Giant produced over a million bikes per year with the Giant brand on fewer than 15% of them; by 2008, Giant was producing 6.4 million bicycles with 70% carrying the Giant brand. And in 2010, the transition was still in-process as CEO Lo experimented with a new business model for women cyclists in Taiwan and globally--leveraging some of Giant's lessons learned and challenging others. The case explores Giant's historical evolution from OEM outsourcer to branded manufacturer, which relied heavily on Giant's forward integration into the construction of a world-class, global retail organization. Giant's ability to understand the customer and move him/her up-market has driven both sales growth and profitability (e.g., average sales prices in 2006, 2007, and 2008 were $325, $345, and $360 respectively). That sets the stage for Lo's latest challenge: a realization that his products were not meeting the needs of women customers (including particularly his wife). As a result, Lo commissioned his CFO Bonnie Tu to open the first all-women's bicycle store in Taipei (owned by corporate, not the traditional retail organization), and charged her not only with figuring out the needs of women customers, but also mandating that she turn a profit. "Because your only customers are women, if you don't know how to sell to them, you're out of business -period. So you experiment for survival," explained Lo. The case concludes by examining the company's continuing integration into retail stores, looking closely at the Liv/giant pilot and the surprising business model that it developed.

    Keywords: Consumer Behavior; Customer Focus and Relationships; Global Strategy; Gender Characteristics; Customer Satisfaction; Product Development; Bicycle Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Ethan S. Bernstein, Maly Hout Bernstein, Jyun-Cheng Wang, and Yi-Ling Wei. "A Giant Among Women." Harvard Business School Case 610-096, April 2010. View Details
  76. Transforming ASUSTeK: Breaking from the Past

    Willy C. Shih, Ho Howard Yu and Hung-Chang Chiu

    What happens when an original design manufacturer (ODM) firm tries to transform itself into a branded goods seller? The case traces the evolution of ASUSTeK from a motherboard supplier, to an ODM of desktop and notebook PCs, through its split into three companies that separately pursue the branded business, ODM, and contract manufacturing. Chairman Jonney Shih has to not only confront the challenges of brand building, but he must also build new organizational capabilities in ASUSTeK, while Pegatron struggles to win business from ASUSTeK's former customers and now competitors. The case offers an opportunity to apply the lens of disruptive innovations to a discussion of outsourcing, examining the consequences for firms like HP and Dell that have outsourced most of their computer product design to ODM firms like ASUSTeK, only to watch them morph into competitors. Students can also examine how organizational resources, processes, and values can shape or limit its ability to move into new areas.

    Keywords: Change Management; Transformation; Disruptive Innovation; Brands and Branding; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Structure; Competitive Strategy; Computer Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Ho Howard Yu, and Hung-Chang Chiu. "Transforming ASUSTeK: Breaking from the Past." Harvard Business School Case 610-041, January 2010. (Revised March 2010.) View Details
  77. Transforming ASUSTeK: Breaking from the Past (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for [610041].

    Keywords: Hardware; Transformation; Contracts; Production; Product Design; Customers; Competition; Management Practices and Processes; Value; Performance Effectiveness; Brands and Branding; Disruptive Innovation; Computer Industry; Electronics Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Transforming ASUSTeK: Breaking from the Past (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-047, January 2010. View Details
  78. The TSMC Way: Meeting Customer Needs at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TN)

    Willy C. Shih and Chen-Fu Chien

    Teaching Note for [610003].

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Chen-Fu Chien. "The TSMC Way: Meeting Customer Needs at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-004, August 2009. (Revised October 2009.) View Details
  79. Low-k Dielectrics at IBM

    Willy C. Shih and Giovanni Carraro

    Innovations at the frontiers of technology carry enormous risk of making wrong choices. This case examines a decision made by IBM in its semiconductor process technology strategy: a material to use as a dielectric insulator in its leading edge silicon chip technology. While at the time of the decision it looked like a good choice, subsequent issues with material properties caused the company to have to switch to an alternative. Though a major disruption, the company was able to recover relatively quickly. The case probes the organizational capabilities and problem solving approaches that enabled that recovery. Missteps when making huge bets at the forefront of scientific innovation are increasingly costly, and the company in effect purchases real options for its R&D strategy by allowing a measured level of concurrent investment in competing alternatives.

    Keywords: Competency and Skills; Decision Choices and Conditions; Technological Innovation; Product Development; Science; Creativity; Semiconductor Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Giovanni Carraro. "Low-k Dielectrics at IBM." Harvard Business School Case 610-023, October 2009. View Details
  80. Intel NBI: Image Components Organization

    Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

    The Image Components Organization (ICO) was an internal venture that was part of Intel's New Business Initiatives. It sought to initially develop and sell a high performance integrated CMOS image sensor module for cellular phones. ICO's opening assumptions were that it could combine externally licensed technology with internal design work, and then manufacture using the company's leading edge manufacturing facilities. Initial implementation challenges led to delays and additional engineering work, but as the designated Intel manufacturing site went to full capacity utilization, ICO faced increasing marginalization. This case complements 609-043 "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (A)" and 609-102 "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (B)." It is one of the failed ventures cited in those cases.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Product Development; Production; Failure; Diversification; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: Image Components Organization." Harvard Business School Case 610-028, September 2009. View Details
  81. ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Eee PC (A)

    Willy C. Shih, Chintay Shih, Hung-Chang Chiu, Yi-Ching Hsieh and Ho Howard Yu

    ASUSTek Computer was the world's largest manufacture of PC motherboards, yet when it tried to launch its new sub-notebook Eee PC, the organization faced challenges in doing things outside of its established processes. Though many of the team members had worked together for years, they had to find new ways of working as they tried to launch the new mobile Internet device category without undermining its existing notebook PC business.

    Keywords: Change Management; Disruptive Innovation; Product Launch; Groups and Teams; Hardware; Mobile Technology; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chintay Shih, Hung-Chang Chiu, Yi-Ching Hsieh, and Ho Howard Yu. "ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Eee PC (A)." Harvard Business School Case 609-011, July 2008. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  82. The TSMC Way: Meeting Customer Needs at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (CW)

    Willy C. Shih

    When L.C. Tu receives an emergency order, he is confronted with a range of production scheduling choices, each of which has unique costs and trade-offs. The case was designed to help students understand job-shop style production and the impact of disruptions and reactive scheduling. Students use two of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's mainstream processes as a vehicle for analysis. The case describes a real situation in which upper management accepts an emergency order. By working through the impact on the production system, students should develop a feel for how shifting demand in a large factory that is structured as a job shop alters the demands on, and utilization rates of expensive capital equipment in a complex way. As bottlenecks shift, students can explore several alternatives, each with different costs and trade-offs. Students may also reflect on the true cost of providing the extraordinary service, and whether management properly takes the impact on operations into account when it makes customer commitments.

    Keywords: Factories, Labs, and Plants; Disruption; Customer Focus and Relationships; Cost; Cost Management; Business or Company Management; Time Management; Network Effects; Production; Hardware; Manufacturing Industry; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "The TSMC Way: Meeting Customer Needs at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (CW)." Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 610-702, August 2009. View Details
  83. Intel NBI: Radio-Frequency Identification

    Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

    The Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) group was a start-up that was part of Intel's New Business Initiatives. It sought initially to develop and sell a high performance Rf fast read rate module targeted at fixed position readers that might be found in loading docks or applications that demanded fast read speeds in demanding applications. When it was first funded, Intel was in the midst of record growth and was seeking diversification. The new business was viewed as synergistic with Intel's Infrastructure Processor Division (IPD) and its XScale processor business. But as the parent company faced slowing growth and financial challenges, it sold off its XScale unit, leaving RFID with no clear "destination." With the venture's future called into question, the unit manager was faced with the challenge of managing a business with a good technology and customer order book but no place to "fit" within the parent corporation. This case complements 609-043, "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (A)," and 609-102, "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (B)." It is one of the failed ventures cited in those cases.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Organizational Structure; Failure; Diversification; Integration; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: Radio-Frequency Identification." Harvard Business School Case 610-027, August 2009. (Revised August 2009.) View Details
  84. Intel NBI: Vivonic

    Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

    Vivonic was a start-up that was part of Intel's New Business Initiatives that sought to develop and sell personal health monitoring hardware and software. When it was first funded, Intel was in the midst of record growth and was seeking diversification. But the company lacked domain expertise, and the unit faced many challenges working with existing Intel processes while it strove to establish its own. This case complements 609-043, "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives," and 609-102, "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (B)." It is one of the failed ventures cited in those cases.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Experience and Expertise; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Product Development; Failure; Diversification; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: Vivonic." Harvard Business School Case 610-025, August 2009. View Details
  85. The TSMC Way: Meeting Customer Needs at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

    Willy C. Shih, Chen-Fu Chien, Chintay Shih and Jack Chang

    When L.C. Tu receives an emergency order, he is confronted with a range of production scheduling choices, each of which has unique costs and trade-offs. The case was designed to help students understand job-shop style production and the impact of disruptions and reactive scheduling. Students use two of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's mainstream processes as a vehicle for analysis. The case describes a real situation in which upper management accepts an emergency order. By working through the impact on the production system, students should develop a feel for how shifting demand in a large factory that is structured as a job shop alters the demands on, and utilization rates of, expensive capital equipment in a complex way. As bottlenecks shift, students can explore several alternatives, each with different costs and trade-offs. Students may also reflect on the true cost of providing the extraordinary service, and whether management properly takes the impact on operations into account when it makes customer commitments.

    Keywords: Disruption; Customer Relationship Management; Decision Choices and Conditions; Cost; Order Taking and Fulfillment; Production; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chen-Fu Chien, Chintay Shih, and Jack Chang. "The TSMC Way: Meeting Customer Needs at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co." Harvard Business School Case 610-003, August 2009. View Details
  86. Intel NBI: MXP Digital Media Processor

    Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

    "Gila" was a high-performance image processor project housed in Intel's New Business Initiatives (NBI) group. NBI was an incubator for corporate entrepreneurs, and it had an established methodology for ensuring a degree of autonomy while these ventures got started. But it faced many questions as the ventures grew and started to win their first customers. How should NBI handle the transition of the venture back to a mainstream division within Intel?

    Keywords: Business Divisions; Business Growth and Maturation; Business Startups; Change Management; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Integration; Semiconductor Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: MXP Digital Media Processor." Harvard Business School Case 608-100, May 2008. (Revised August 2009.) View Details
  87. Intel NBI: Handheld Graphics Organization

    Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

    The Handheld Graphics Organization (HGO) was an internal start-up under Intel's New Business Incubator program. The unit designed a graphics co-processor for the handheld PDA market, to be sold with Intel's Xscale processor. Though NBI ventures were designed for a high degree of autonomy, some of the operating assumptions included explicit or implicit ties back to the rest of the corporation. While HGO met with some early market success, ultimately its fate would hinge on how other parts of the company viewed it and on how the rest of the company was performing financially.

    Keywords: Business Startups; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Resource Allocation; Business Processes; Organizational Structure; Semiconductor Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: Handheld Graphics Organization." Harvard Business School Case 608-098, May 2008. (Revised August 2009.) View Details
  88. Researching a Company

    Willy Shih and Meghan Dolan

    This note was written to help students at the Harvard Business School do a more thorough job of researching a company, utilizing the extensive resources of the Baker Library, as well as other widely available databases. Exhibits provide detailed information on key resources and instructions for accessing prominent databases.

    Keywords: Business Education; Knowledge Acquisition; Research;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Meghan Dolan. "Researching a Company." Harvard Business School Background Note 610-024, August 2009. (Revised December 2012.) View Details
  89. Tokyo Electron Ltd.

    Willy C. Shih and Andrew A. King

    Tokyo Electron Ltd. operates in a constrained innovation environment, defined by modular boundaries that are long standing in the industry that it serves, the global semiconductor manufacturing industry. While the original motivation for these boundaries was division of labor and partitioning of a complex problem into manageable pieces, the company is now faced with a new innovation that crosses these boundaries and offers the opportunity to significantly improve the yield and performance of the manufacturing process. While the technical solution is straightforward, it is not clear that the company's customers are prepared to accept such a change because it would cross organizational lines that manufacturers have established for control purposes. The case frames the technical question and poses the organizational question.

    Keywords: Globalized Markets and Industries; Governance Controls; Technological Innovation; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Boundaries; Manufacturing Industry; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Andrew A. King. "Tokyo Electron Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 609-096, May 2009. View Details
  90. Jieliang Phone Home! (C)

    Willy Shih, Ethan Bernstein and Nina Bilimoria

    At Precision Electro-Tek's mobile phone manufacturing facility in southern China, thousands of operators - bright and capable young men and (mostly) women like Jieliang Hao are motivated to improve line productivity through small innovations for faster assembly and have discovered many ways to increase their performance. Meanwhile a globally-networked team of manufacturing experts led by Marty Cole, the case protagonist, is trying to spread best practice from other sites around the globe. Unfortunately these two processes sometimes inadvertently clash, presenting a management challenge. The case helps students examine the implicit assumptions managers make in organizing work inside a factory. These assumptions reflect theories of worker behavior and motivation in combination with managers' beliefs of what constitutes "best practice." Students are offered an opportunity to dissect these lean manufacturing theories and recognize that in this particular implementation, implementation of best practice without sufficient consideration of the interplay of theories on motivation has led to unexpected outcomes. The case offers an opportunity to explore the link between work design and compensation, and understand the differences between compensation and motivation. The case frames the role of the general manager in setting up work structures and compensation systems in a very traditional and explicit setting, one where linkages should be clearly visible yet assumptions are often deeply buried and implicit. Our expectation is that students will see the lessons generalize to most, if not all, of the organizations where they have worked. There are three cases: the (A) case describes the management view, the (B) case describes the direct labor worker view, and the (C) case details the results of an employee survey that was conducted on two manufacturing lines.

    Keywords: Globalization; Compensation and Benefits; Surveys; Innovation and Invention; Management Practices and Processes; Production; Performance Productivity; Groups and Teams; Labor and Management Relations; Behavior; Motivation and Incentives; Manufacturing Industry; Telecommunications Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Ethan Bernstein, and Nina Bilimoria. "Jieliang Phone Home! (C)." Harvard Business School Supplement 609-082, February 2009. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  91. Jieliang Phone Home! (A)

    Willy Shih, Ethan Bernstein and Nina Bilimoria

    At Precision Electro-Tek's mobile phone manufacturing facility in southern China, thousands of operators—bright and capable young men and (mostly) women like Jieliang Hao—are motivated to improve line productivity through small innovations for faster assembly and have discovered many ways to increase their performance. Meanwhile a globally networked team of manufacturing experts led by Marty Cole, the case protagonist, is trying to spread best practice from other sites around the globe. Unfortunately these two processes sometimes inadvertently clash, presenting a management challenge. The case helps students examine the implicit assumptions managers make in organizing work inside a factory. These assumptions reflect theories of worker behavior and motivation in combination with managers' beliefs of what constitutes "best practice." Students are offered an opportunity to dissect these lean manufacturing theories and recognize that in this particular implementation, implementation of best practice without sufficient consideration of the interplay of theories on motivation has led to unexpected outcomes. The case offers an opportunity to explore the link between work design and compensation and to understand the differences between compensation and motivation. The case frames the role of the general manager in setting up work structures and compensation systems in a very traditional and explicit setting, one where linkages should be clearly visible yet assumptions are often deeply buried and implicit. Our expectation is that students will see the lessons generalize to most, if not all, of the organizations where they have worked. There are three cases: the (A) case describes the management view, the (B) case describes the direct labor worker view, and the (C) case details the results of an employee survey that was conducted on two manufacturing lines.

    Keywords: Compensation and Benefits; Job Design and Levels; Business Processes; Behavior; Motivation and Incentives; Manufacturing Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Ethan Bernstein, and Nina Bilimoria. "Jieliang Phone Home! (A)." Harvard Business School Case 609-080, February 2009. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  92. Advanced Micro Devices: Competing in the Shadow of a Giant (A)

    Willy C. Shih and Andrew A. King

    As the only significant competitor to Intel Corporation in PC microprocessors, Advanced Micro Devices faced daunting investment choices. Not only did it have to fund microprocessor design teams, it also had to fund silicon process R&D, and it faced huge capital expenditures associated with constructing its manufacturing facilities. The company was at a crossroads: it had to decide whether to partner with IBM or align with other firms as it tried to keep up with Intel.

    Keywords: Investment; Operations; Partners and Partnerships; Competitive Strategy; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Andrew A. King. "Advanced Micro Devices: Competing in the Shadow of a Giant (A)." Harvard Business School Case 609-002, July 2008. (Revised April 2009.) View Details
  93. Horizontal specialization and modularity in the semiconductor industry

    Willy C. Shih, Chintay Shih and Chen-Fu Chien

    Well-codified interfaces have enabled horizontal specialization in the global semiconductor industry. This Technical Note describes the modern integrated circuit value chain, and the motivation for the reuse of blocks of intellectual property in modern IC designs. It briefly examines ARM Limited as an example of an IP specialist supplier, and looks at the evolution to complete Systems-on-Chip and Systems-in-Packages so that students may examine the evolution of industry structure in the accompanying case System-on-a-Chip 2008: Global Unichip Corporation.

    Keywords: Customer Value and Value Chain; Intellectual Property; Industry Structures; Horizontal Integration; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chintay Shih, and Chen-Fu Chien. "Horizontal specialization and modularity in the semiconductor industry." Harvard Business School Background Note 609-001, July 2008. (Revised April 2009.) View Details
  94. Dollar General (A)

    Willy C. Shih, Stephen P. Kaufman and Rebecca McKillican

    Dollar General Corporation (DG) operates one of the leading chains of extreme value retailers in the United States. 2006 revenues reached $9.2 billion, making DG the 6th largest mass retailer in the country. With revenues growing at 9% annually over the five-year period up to 2005, DG had the distinction of being only one of three retailers to outperform Wal-Mart in both revenue and profit growth in that time. Life in a Dollar General store paints a vivid picture of the roots and historical focus of the company. Opportunistic buying has given the stores an eclectic merchandise mix. Analysts often referred to this category as "treasure hunt" SKUs. Offers an opportunity to examine a company's business model, particularly since DG has been so successful competing with Wal-Mart where so many other retailers have not. While it started out as a family business in the five-and-dime tradition, it evolved to a close-out retail model where its unique low-overhead operations were advantageous. As it added highly consumable categories its mix shifted, but it managed to retain its low-overhead model. Interestingly, the mix shift was likely more an emergency strategy driven by store-level operations than by top-down driven strategy. Frames the growth options available to DG's CEO as he grapples with how to maintain growth.

    Keywords: Business Model; Family Business; Disruptive Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Retail Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Stephen P. Kaufman, and Rebecca McKillican. "Dollar General (A)." Harvard Business School Case 607-140, May 2007. (Revised April 2009.) View Details
  95. Netflix

    Willy C. Shih, Stephen P. Kaufman and David Spinola

    Reed Hastings founded Netflix with a vision to provide a home movie service that would do a better job satisfying customers than the traditional retail rental model. But as it encouraged challenges it underwent several major strategy shifts, ultimately developing a business model and an operational strategy that were highly disruptive to retail video rental chains. The combination of a large national inventory, a recommendation system that drove viewership across the broad catalog, and a large customer base made Netflix a force to be reckoned with, especially as a distribution channel for lower-profile and independent films. Blockbuster, the nation's largest retail video rental firm, was initially slow to respond, but ultimately rolled out a hybrid retail/online response in the form of Blockbuster Online. Aggressive pricing pulled in subscribers, but at a price to both it and Netflix. But a new challenge was on the horizon: video-on-demand. How should Netflix respond?

    Keywords: Business Model; Film Entertainment; Disruptive Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Distribution Channels; Service Delivery; Renting or Rental; Competitive Strategy; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Stephen P. Kaufman, and David Spinola. "Netflix." Harvard Business School Case 607-138, May 2007. (Revised April 2009.) View Details
  96. Opening Pandora's Box

    Willy C. Shih, Stephen P. Kaufman, Melissa Marie Blakeley and Marissa Wairy Dent

    Pandora.com provided a highly customizable online radio service tailored to listeners' musical preferences and had registered explosive growth since its September 2005 launch. But proposed changes in royalty rates threatened to kill off many Internet radio sites, including Pandora. Explores Pandora's business model and whether it can evolve to remain viable.

    Keywords: Business Model; Entrepreneurship; Disruptive Innovation; Intellectual Property; Growth and Development Strategy; Service Operations; Internet; Media and Broadcasting Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Stephen P. Kaufman, Melissa Marie Blakeley, and Marissa Wairy Dent. "Opening Pandora's Box." Harvard Business School Case 607-135, June 2007. (Revised April 2009.) View Details
  97. Intel 2006: Rising to the Graphics Challenge

    Willy C. Shih and Elie Ofek

    Examines the evolution of the PC hardware industry over the span of two and a half decades. The open architecture design of the IBM Personal Computer followed by the rapid appearance of clones drove a high level of standardization and modularity in the industry, and value was distributed along the value chain depending on levels of competition and ability to substitute components at each level. On the hardware side two component segments, the microprocessor and the graphics processor unit (GPU), ultimately became the most valuable parts of the chain. The GPU business had settled into a duopoly with Nvidia, Inc. and ATI Technologies (ATI). Intel had dominated the microprocessor segment, but Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was consistently a thorn in Intel's side. Addresses the prospects of the graphics function becoming integrated with the microprocessor on a single piece of silicon. AMD had just announced the acquisition of ATI and Paul Otellini, Intel's CEO, is faced with the question of what he should do. Should he buy Nvidia, should he continue with his own internal graphics efforts, or should he listen to some of his customers and leave things separate?

    Keywords: History; Customer Value and Value Chain; Decision Choices and Conditions; Hardware; Competitive Strategy; Mergers and Acquisitions; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Elie Ofek. "Intel 2006: Rising to the Graphics Challenge." Harvard Business School Case 607-136, June 2007. (Revised April 2009.) View Details
  98. MP3 Portable Audio Players and the Recorded Music Industry

    Willy Shih

    The emergence of the MP3 file-based music format not only disrupted the market for portable audio players, it also had a huge impact on the business models of major record labels. Modularity, and the commoditization spill-over enabled by modularity in the personal computer industry, was a major force in the development of the market. While Apple's iPod today holds the dominant market position, new forces of commoditization continue to drive shifts in the value chain. The case examines the commoditization cycle and contrasts integrated solutions such as the iPod-iTunes software-iTunes Music Store with emerging competition from other MP3 players and the Amazon.com Music Store.

    Keywords: Customer Value and Value Chain; Disruptive Innovation; Technological Innovation; Information Technology; Music Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "MP3 Portable Audio Players and the Recorded Music Industry." Harvard Business School Case 608-119, February 2008. (Revised February 2014.) View Details
  99. Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation

    Willy Shih and Chen-Fu Chien

    Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation has a horizontal firm structure in an industry that is predominantly organized vertically. While it has been successful in up markets, in the current down market its strategic rationale was being tested. As a capital-intensive manufacturer of DRAMs that had to license its designs from abroad, was it able to compete with large vertically integrated firms that controlled the whole value chain? How did its approach compare to that of its partner Elpida? Can Powerchip and Elpida together make up a "virtual integrated device manufacturer"? The case examines some of the unique characteristics of the DRAM industry, in which manufacturers employ large scale to compete on cost in the production of standardized commodities.

    Keywords: Industry Structures; Organizational Structure; Partners and Partnerships; Competition; Horizontal Integration; Vertical Integration; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, and Chen-Fu Chien. "Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 609-063, July 2013. (Revised July 2013.) View Details
  100. Upgrading the Economy: Industrial Policy and Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for [609089].

    Keywords: Design; Policy; Globalization; Research and Development; Technology; Commercialization; Semiconductor Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Upgrading the Economy: Industrial Policy and Taiwan's Semiconductor Industry (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 609-090, March 2009. View Details
  101. Jieliang Phone Home! (B)

    Willy Shih, Ethan Bernstein and Nina Bilimoria

    At Precision Electro-Tek's mobile phone manufacturing facility in southern China, thousands of operators - bright and capable young men and (mostly) women like Jieliang Hao are motivated to improve line productivity through small innovations for faster assembly and have discovered many ways to increase their performance. Meanwhile a globally-networked team of manufacturing experts led by Marty Cole, the case protagonist, is trying to spread best practice from other sites around the globe. Unfortunately these two processes sometimes inadvertently clash, presenting a management challenge. The case helps students examine the implicit assumptions managers make in organizing work inside a factory. These assumptions reflect theories of worker behavior and motivation in combination with managers' beliefs of what constitutes "best practice." Students are offered an opportunity to dissect these lean manufacturing theories and recognize that in this particular implementation, implementation of best practice without sufficient consideration of the interplay of theories on motivation has led to unexpected outcomes. The case offers an opportunity to explore the link between work design and compensation, and understand the differences between compensation and motivation. The case frames the role of the general manager in setting up work structures and compensation systems in a very traditional and explicit setting, one where linkages should be clearly visible yet assumptions are often deeply buried and implicit. Our expectation is that students will see the lessons generalize to most, if not all, of the organizations where they have worked. There are three cases: the (A) case describes the management view, the (B) case describes the direct labor worker view, and the (C) case details the results of an employee survey that was conducted on two manufacturing lines.

    Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Behavior; Production; Innovation and Invention; Performance Productivity; Groups and Teams; Management Practices and Processes; Compensation and Benefits; Labor; Surveys; Decisions; Manufacturing Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Ethan Bernstein, and Nina Bilimoria. "Jieliang Phone Home! (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 609-081, February 2009. (Revised July 2012.) View Details
  102. AMD Dresden: Copy Inexactly! (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for [609004].

    Keywords: Growth and Development; Production; Management Practices and Processes; Organizational Culture; Investment; Industry Clusters; Groups and Teams; Motivation and Incentives; Competency and Skills; Engineering; Science; Geographic Location; Semiconductor Industry; Germany; Europe; United States;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "AMD Dresden: Copy Inexactly! (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 609-091, February 2009. View Details
  103. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation: 'Reverse BOT'

    Willy Shih

    Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) is executing a strategy that leverages the desires of municipalities in China to build clusters of high technology companies. By partnering with those cities to build new semiconductor fabs that SMIC would then operate under contract, the company could build scale without necessarily confronting immediate large capital outlays. Unlike the Build-Operate-Transfer model that some municipalities were using to build infrastructure like the new subway in Shenzhen, in the SMIC 'Reverse BOT model' a municipality would build a capital-intensive fab and SMIC would operate it, sharply lowering its capital costs. This model gave the company a unique level of flexibility in an industry where capital costs were the major driver of product costs.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Industry Clusters; Infrastructure; State Ownership; Business and Community Relations; Semiconductor Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation: 'Reverse BOT'." Harvard Business School Case 609-062, January 2009. (Revised October 2012.) View Details
  104. Radical Collaboration: IBM Microelectronics Joint Development Alliances

    Willy Shih, Gary Pisano and Andrew A. King

    IBM's "Radical Collaboration" model has been an innovative approach to meeting the challenges of the huge R&D and capital investments that are needed to stay competitive in the global semiconductor industry. This model has required a rethinking of what is proprietary, and what is shared, and where do the boundaries of cooperation end and competition begin. IBM and its partners have managed to stay competitive at, for example, the 45 nm node, at a far lower cost than firms that "go it alone," and there is a large benefit from a larger funnel of ideas and diverse points of view. It also reshapes what firms can use to build competitive advantage, or it necessitates a rethinking at least.

    Keywords: Cost Management; Investment; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Problems and Challenges; Alliances; Networks; Partners and Partnerships; Research and Development; Competitive Advantage; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Gary Pisano, and Andrew A. King. "Radical Collaboration: IBM Microelectronics Joint Development Alliances." Harvard Business School Case 608-121, February 2008. (Revised November 2008.) View Details
  105. Chi Mei Optoelectronics (TN)

    Willy C. Shih

    Teaching Note for [608-123].

    Keywords: Diversification; Technology; Market Entry and Exit; Standards; Industry Clusters; Supply Chain; Production; Experience and Expertise; Biotechnology Industry; Chemical Industry; Taiwan; Asia; Korean Peninsula; China;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Chi Mei Optoelectronics (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 609-040, September 2008. View Details
  106. Tong Lung Metal Industry Co., Ltd.

    Willy C. Shih, Chintay Shih, Chen-Fu Chien, Ho Howard Yu and Yu-Shian Chiang

    Develop its own branded line, or continue as an original design manufacturer (ODM)? Tung Lung Metal Industries Co. Ltd. is a Taiwanese maker of door lock hardware that is faced with the question of whether to continue to focus on its ODM business or start placing more emphasis on its own brand development and growth in global markets. The case explores the bumpy history of the company and raises questions around the downstream consequences of global outsourcing strategies.

    Keywords: Globalized Markets and Industries; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Brands and Branding; Corporate Strategy; Industrial Products Industry; Taiwan;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chintay Shih, Chen-Fu Chien, Ho Howard Yu, and Yu-Shian Chiang. "Tong Lung Metal Industry Co., Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 609-034, September 2008. (Revised October 2012.) View Details
  107. System on a Chip 2008: Ardentec Corporation

    Willy C. Shih, Chen-Fu Chien, Chintay Shih and Ting-Chen Chen

    Ardentec Corporation is a specialist in "wafer probing," a highly specialized niche sandwiched between the "front-end" and the "back-end" of semiconductor manufacturing. Because the semiconductor industry uses modular processes and has standard containers for the interchange of work-in-progress, it has evolved to a highly horizontal structure where specialists like Ardentec can carve out unique market opportunities that are less attractive to integrated manufacturers. The company has grown rapidly, but as it starts to occupy a significant percentage of the total available market, its founders are faced with the challenge of how to maintain growth. Do they vertically integrate more into the back-end, or should they try to do acquisitions in adjacent markets? The case is intended to be used in conjunction with the Technical Note, "Horizontal Specialization and Modularity in the Semiconductor Industry" (608-001).

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Industry Structures; Horizontal Integration; Vertical Integration; Manufacturing Industry; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chen-Fu Chien, Chintay Shih, and Ting-Chen Chen. "System on a Chip 2008: Ardentec Corporation." Harvard Business School Case 609-026, August 2008. View Details
  108. AT&T v. Microsoft (A): IP Litigation Strategy

    Willy Shih

    This case examines a hard fought litigation over a patent that originated at Bell Labs. It illustrates the challenges that technology companies face today innovating in a complex intellectual property environment in fields where there is a high amount of cumulativeness. The case highlights the leverage that good strategic thinking can bring to influencing the outcome.

    Keywords: Technological Innovation; Patents; Lawsuits and Litigation; Conflict and Resolution; Strategy; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy. "AT&T v. Microsoft (A): IP Litigation Strategy." Harvard Business School Case 608-080, January 2008. (Revised August 2008.) View Details
  109. Quanta Computer and the One Laptop Per Child Initiative

    Willy Shih, Chintay Shih and Jyun-Chen Wang

    When Quanta Computer, Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of laptop computers, first joined the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, it faced a challenge trying to balance the cost objectives of a laptop computer targeted at children of the developing world with the escalating content demands from the marketplace and the non-profit OLPC Foundation. It also had to fit the project into its company business model which served global lead PC brands like Apple as a high-volume, low-cost ODM provider. The case is a vehicle for discussing new market disruption and the impact of modularity and the evolution of the value network in the global PC supply chain.

    Keywords: For-Profit Firms; Disruptive Innovation; Demand and Consumers; Supply Chain; Partners and Partnerships; Nonprofit Organizations; Hardware;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy, Chintay Shih, and Jyun-Chen Wang. "Quanta Computer and the One Laptop Per Child Initiative." Harvard Business School Case 608-102, February 2008. (Revised August 2008.) View Details
  110. AT&T v. Microsoft (B): District Court Ruling and Appeal

    Willy C. Shih

    The (B) case follows the course of Microsoft's settlement with AT&T, and its appeal in the issue of foreign replicated software that eventually goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is intended for follow-up the discussion of the (A) case with what happened, examining a next phase of the dispute in which the protagonist employs completely different strategies.

    Keywords: Patents; Lawsuits and Litigation; Conflict and Resolution; Competitive Strategy; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "AT&T v. Microsoft (B): District Court Ruling and Appeal." Harvard Business School Supplement 608-081, April 2008. (Revised August 2008.) View Details
  111. Strategic Innovation Simulation: Back Bay Battery

    Willy C. Shih and Clayton Christensen

    This online simulation allows students to play the role of a business unit manager at Back Bay Battery Company who faces the dilemma of balancing a portfolio of investment strategies across products in the rechargeable battery space. Players have to manage R&D investment tradeoffs between sustaining investment in the unit's existing battery business versus investing in a new, potentially disruptive battery technology. The student must also decide which market opportunities to pursue, each of which offers the student varying levels of market intelligence and differing short- and long-term payoff prospects. Students manage the investment portfolios over eight simulated years. Throughout the simulation the student is forced to address a number of challenges including timing and level of investment across both mature and new businesses, choices regarding market opportunities and inherent product performance characteristics, requirements to meet constraining financial objectives and constant trade-offs between investment options, all in the context of uncertain market information. The entire simulation can be played in 1.5 seat hours. A Facilitator's Guide contains an overview of simulation screens/elements as well as a comprehensive Teaching Note. Hardware requirements: Computer with minimum 1024x768 screen resolution, high speed internet connection (DSL / cable modem quality), Windows 2000, XP, or Vista / Macintosh operating systems, Internet Explorer 6+ / Firefox 2.0+ web browser with javascript and cookies enabled, Flash Player 9+ browser plug-in (Users with earlier versions of Flash will be notified automatically and given the option to upgrade. This is a free browser plug-in), Microsoft Excel (optional). Learning objective: 1. Best opportunities for new products are not visible early on. New applications can appear unattractive, but often represent best long-term opportunity. 2. Timing and level of R&D spending is difficult to gauge. 3. Assessing emerging market opportunities is difficult using standard approaches. 4. Balancing dual requirements for simultaneously investing in core business and innovation is challenging. 5. Constraining financial criteria and an organization's impatience for growth can make innovation difficult. Subjects covered: Competitive strategy, Military R&D, Operations, Product evolution, Simulation. Geographic: United States. Industry: Batteries

    Keywords: Competitive Strategy; Disruptive Innovation; Growth and Development Strategy; Innovation and Management; Investment; Product Development; Research and Development; Battery Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., and Clayton Christensen. "Strategic Innovation Simulation: Back Bay Battery." Simulation and Teaching Note. Watertown, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2008. Electronic. (2656-HTM-ENG.) View Details
  112. System on a Chip 2008: Global Unichip Corp.

    Willy C. Shih, Chintay Shih, Chen-Fu Chien and Yuan-Chieh Chang

    Though much of the semiconductor industry has shifted to a horizontal model, complexity driven by technological evolution is driving a shift in the perceived boundaries in the value chain. Global Unichip sees itself as a "virtual integrated device manufacturer," a throwback to the vertically integrated model that fell out of favor for most chips. The case offers an opportunity to examine a highly modular industry and the impact of technology shifts on those boundaries, with significant implications for the incumbents.

    Keywords: Customer Value and Value Chain; Horizontal Integration; Vertical Integration; Boundaries; Semiconductor Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C., Chintay Shih, Chen-Fu Chien, and Yuan-Chieh Chang. "System on a Chip 2008: Global Unichip Corp." Harvard Business School Case 608-159, June 2008. View Details
  113. Sensors Unlimited: Bringing InGaAs Technology to the Market

    Willy C. Shih

    Sensors Unlimited was a small start-up in short-wavelength infrared imaging. Its learning base came out of Bell Labs, RCA's Sarnoff Lab, and the Rockwell Science Center, and as it built its capabilities and ventured into new application areas, it discovered a “killer app” for optical communications which led to its acquisition at the height of the telecom bubble. After the subsequent telecom meltdown, the founders reacquired many of the assets of the company and focused it on industrial and military applications. The case focus presents a question of whether the company should sell out again, this time to a military aerospace firm.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Business Startups; Applied Optics; Growth and Development Strategy; Science-Based Business; Commercialization; Aerospace Industry; Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Shih, Willy C. "Sensors Unlimited: Bringing InGaAs Technology to the Market." Harvard Business School Case 608-138, May 2008. View Details

    Research Summary

  1. Overview

    by Willy C. Shih

    Willy's research interests reflect the 28 years he spent in industry, during which he logged many questions on firm performance, relative competitiveness, and firm culture as an impediment to change. His primary interests today are in the acquisition of capabilities by firms, and the drivers of industrial competitiveness in high tech and science-based businesses.

    Keywords: strategy; technology; competitiveness; competitive dynamics;

  2. Industrial competitiveness in high tech and science-based businesses

    by Willy C. Shih

    How do emerging economies develop industrial and technical capabilities that overtake those of advanced economies?  Are there some industrial sectors that are especially susceptible to such targeting?  What will it take to restore America’s industrial competitiveness?  Gary Pisano and I have been looking at patterns of international performance in high tech and science-based industries.  I have focused in Asia, looking at multiple technology sectors.  I have been examining the process of capability building, and how firms there have moved from imitation to innovation, in the process capturing leadership positions in industries ranging from semiconductors and notebook computers to flat panel displays and mobile phone handsets.
  3. Factory Performance

    by Willy C. Shih

    We are interested in understanding why different factories exhibit performance differences in productivity, quality, and other key performance measures.  We have been studying factories in different countries that manufacture similar electronics products and looking at the issues like organizational identity, social capital, and team psychological safety.  We have done this by embedding research assistants in the production lines as a way of collecting insights and in depth working knowledge.
  4. Evolution of firm structure in vertical specialized technology supply chains

    by Willy C. Shih

    The global market in many everyday products has been transformed by the internationalization of production.  In many industries, semiconductors and electronic products in particular, a sequential mode of production has evolved in which goods are produced in a series of stages taking place in different countries by “vertical specialists” who pass work-in-progress across borders to the next firm in the value chain.  This multi-country production sequence has been facilitated by inexpensive and rapid communications and the low cost to transport goods, as well as declines in tariff and non-tariff barriers.  A distinguishing feature of this kind of vertical specialization is that imported inputs are used to produce export goods.  These might be components or partial subassemblies, but frequently a product might transit through dozens of firms and cross multiple frontiers before it makes it to a storefront for sale to the ultimate consumer.  We are interested in the evolution of firm structure as technological shifts drive changes in the vertical boundaries.

    Teaching

  1. Overview

    by Willy C. Shih

    Professor Shih has taught the Technology and Operations Management (TOM) course in the first-year MBA required curriculum, as well as Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise (BSSE) and Assembling Global Innovation Strategies (AGIS) in the second-year elective curriculum. In 2012-2013 he is teaching a new course, Understanding Technology Businesses, as part of the second-year elective curriculum.
  2. Technology and Operations Management (TOM)

    by Willy C. Shih

    This course enables students to develop the skills and concepts needed to ensure the ongoing contribution of a firm's operations to its competitive position. It helps them to understand the complex processes underlying the development and manufacture of products as well as the creation and delivery of services.

  3. Understanding Technology Businesses

    by Willy C. Shih

    This course is intended for future managers who will be confronted with understanding the drivers of performance and change in industries in which science or advanced technology play a critical role.

  1. First Place winner of the McKinsey Award with Gary P. Pisano for the best article in the Harvard Business Review during 2009 for the paper "Restoring American Competitiveness."

Media

24 Aug 2013
Economist
19 Jul 2013
Bloomberg TV: In the Loop
15 Feb 2013
Washington Post
19 Dec 2012
Bloomberg TV
04 Dec 2012
First Business
20 Aug 2012
Harvard Magazine
16 Mar 2012
Bloomberg Businessweek
15 Feb 2012
American Public Media: Marketplace
06 Oct 2011
Bloomberg TV
03 Oct 2011
Bloomberg TV