Excerpt from World Inc.
HP and the Vast Universe of Consumer Delight
We have seen what Social Response is, and how select business leaders are reshaping their options to catch the wind of that force. We have also seen this in action through the revamping of a traditional company, Toyota. Yet how will this force change the frontier of business in the near future? How will it change the frontier for people across the globe? In this new, near future, how will the two — profits and people — best connect? Let us start this concluding inquiry by looking hard at a new economy leader — HP. This opening quote suggests how:
Ultimately, what we are seeing in today's marketplace is that the winning companies of this century will be those who not only increase profits by maintaining the highest standards, but those who increase social value at the same time — and that more and more shareowners, customers, partners, and employees will begin rewarding companies that fuel social changes through business initiatives.*
— Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO, Hewlett-Packard
When I give presentations to businesses, if I mention HP, many eyes in the audience light up. It is as if you began talking about a relative of theirs: The immediacy of interest is unlike what I experience in talking about other large firms. People are aware of HP and the revolutionary things they are doing for social needs, to great success and profit. This chapter explores the social meaning of HP products.
From Carly Fiorina's opening comment above, you can see HP's interest in fueling social change. Much of their product and corporate literature is about creating a better world. Some of this is because what is good for the world economy is good for the world's largest provider of printers, computing services, and new electronic office gadgets, but there is something more intriguing than simple enlightened self-interest going on at HP. Perhaps this intrigue resides in the concept that a large firm can increase social value rather than exploit or exhaust it (as, traditionally, corporate giants are known to do)....
* * *