The Business of Research: RCA and the Videodisc

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The story of the RCA VideoDisc is a rare inside look at a company and the way it conducts the complex process of science-based innovation. For nearly fifty years the RCA name was synonymous with innovation in the industries it helped to build - radio and television broadcasting and manufacturing, and electronics. This book, first published in 1986, presents an absorbing account of how RCA shaped a sophisticated consumer electronics technology in a research and development effort that spanned fifteen years. We see how the company's history, its structure, its technical capability, and its competition all influenced the choices that were made in moving VideoDisc from laboratory to development group to market, and ultimately to withdrawal from the marketplace. Graham's book seeks to examine the nature of science-based innovation as a management problem. It also describes the complex workings of a large corporate R&D organization and the relationship that exists between it and the other components of a major diversified corporation. Above all RCA and the VideoDisc shows that there is nothing innate about the ability to innovate technologically.