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In the eighties, HP opened a small production center in Spain, specifically in Sant Cugat, near Barcelona. Starting with 30 employees, over the next 27 years it grew to having a workforce of around 2,000. The site built up its own campus and became the leading knowledge and multi-business center for HP Printing && Computing in Europe, the world leader in large format printing (LFP) and an important reference in Research and Development (R&&D). When HP decided to opt for 3D printing, there was no internal agreement on the issue, despite which, the head of R&&D remained firm in his confidence in it and assigned a human team and financial resources to a project with their own technology. In the summer of 2013, this executive managed to present the business plan in this respect to the HP executive committee in Palo Alto (United States). Just three months later, the CEO of HP announced to the world's press that, by mid-2014, the company would present innovative technology in 3D printing. In August 2014, HP presented the "Multi Jet Fusion" (MJF) technology and announced that, within two years, they would be selling the first 3D printers with this technology. Would the project managers make it a reality within the stated period? It was not an easy challenge. This case exists in a fractionated version A, B, C and D.
The teaching purpose of the case is a class discussion about the technological innovation process of a disruptive technology like 3D Printing followed by HP. It brings elements of discussion around pivot strategies and the innovation journey in a decentralized divisional model vs a corporate centralized model. Moreover, students can assess the leadership and strategic role of divisional general management and its relationship with corporate strategy. Moreover, the case brings a discussion around how to succeed in developing a brand a new technology plus a new product introduction given a stretched top down mandate. Here we can get deeper into different components such as a mission-oriented business, agile R&&D strategy, testing strategy, industrialization strategy, production strategy, organization structure, customer and market strategy and ecosystem business model approach.