Case Detail

Case Summary

BP's Office of the Chief Technology Officer: Driving Open Innovation through an Advocate Team

Case Number: 5-407-752, Year Published: 2007

HBS Number: KEL366

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Authors: Robert C. Wolcott; Michael J Lippitz

Key Concepts

Open Innovation Model, Technology Discovery, Organizational Navigation, Business Unit Engagement, Managing Technology Suppliers, IT Team Innovation


The case describes the evolution between 1999 and 2005 of an unusual innovation team within the office of the Chief Information Officer of BP. The team leader, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Phiroz Darukhanavala (“Daru”), eschewed a large group and a venture budget in favor of a small, lean team intimately engaged with BP’s business units. The case described several mechanisms created by the CTO office during its early evolution, aimed at expanding executives’ appreciation of emerging technology capabilities, building a network of relationships through which emerging technologies are scouted and vetted, and providing structured mechanisms for technology transfer. In late 2005 the CIO’s Advisory Group challenged the CTO office to “keep reinventing yourselves.” Students are asked to assume Daru’s role and suggest new processes and structures to continue the evolution of the CTO office. The teaching note describes what the team actually did, and addresses questions raised at the end of the case.

Spanish and Portuguese translations available.

Number of Pages: 14

Language: Spanish

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Entrepreneurship, Management, Organizational Behavior, Technology

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: U.S./UK/Global

Industry: Energy: Oil and Gas

Organization Name: BP, p.l.c.

Organization Department: Office of the CTO

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: CTO

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2007