Control Data Corp.

By Robert Burgelman
1985 | Case No. BP240
Started as a small computer company in 1957, Control Data had by 1983 become a $4.6 billion company of mainframe computers, computer services, computer peripherals, and financial services. One of the few companies to diversify away from mainframes during the sixties, CDC had also invested early on in some unusual projects such as computer-based education programs (Plato-project), launched a number of ventures to create agricultural and inner-city jobs, set up some 150 business and technology centers to stimulate new businesses, and established a CDC technology institute, all guided by CDC basic business strategy “to apply the problem-solving capabilities of its computer and its financial and human resources to those markets that have evolved from society’s major unmet needs.” Guided by this philosophy, CDC had also over the years facilitated a number of spin-offs in high-technology fields and had recently set up an office to advise employees who wanted to start their own businesses. At the same time, the company was looking for ways to promote innovation within the company—or “intrapreneurship,” as CDC called it.
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