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SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION

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Title: SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION


1
SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION LECTURE 10 HOW TO WRITE
AND EVALUATE RESEARCH PROPOSALS -- ENGINEERING
RESEARCH ILLUSTRATION SONY INNOVATES TRANSISTOR
RADIOS FREDERICK BETZ PORTLAND STATE
UNIVERSITY
2
TYPES OF RESEARCH INQUIRIES
PROFESSION INNOVATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
NATURE
MARKET
ILLUSTRATION SONY INNOVATES THE
TRANSISTORIZED POCKET RADIO
3
CASE STUDY SONY INNOVATES TRANSISTORIZED RADIOS
Akio Morita described how Sony innovated
transistors in radios in Japan. Sonys founders
were Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka (Morita,
1988). In 1944 in the last years of the World
War II, Morita was finishing his education and
developing his interest in the new technology of
electronics. Morita was a university student
studying applied physics under Professor Asada at
Tokyo University. Asadas laboratory was
performing research for the Japanese navy in its
war effort. Morita worked for him on
electronics. Physics applied in the technology
of electronics is an area of applied knowledge
and in the interface between science and
technology. It is in such science/technology
interfaces that advanced technologies are
created. Morita was being trained by Asada
with a scientific orientation but motivated to
create advanced technology. This provided a
lasting influence on Morita as a basis for his
future technological innovations in business.
4
The post-war world in Japan was one of grim
survival. Morita was leading a research group in
a Navy laboratory during the war. The war ended
with the destruction of two atom bombs. The
Emperor ordered the surrender, and American
occupation forces arrived in Japan without
incident. Morita waited at the station for days
without orders. Finally Morita received the
order to close the project. He bartered
equipment for railway tickets and sent the staff
home. The Morita family business was a brewery
run by Morita's father. Although elder sons,
such as Akio Morita, were expected to succeed
their father in the business, His father was
still healthy and robust and did not yet need
him. Besides Morita's interests were in
advanced electronics, and he accepted a position
to teach physics at the Tokyo Institute of
Technology. There he looked up his friend Ibuka.
Ibuka was starting a new electronics company.
Morita did not really want to teach. He wanted
to create new technology. He decided to join
Ibuka in founding a new company. He left the
Institute and worked with Ibuka. His father
invested in the new firm, which first they called
Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Company (and
later renamed Sony).
5
Morita's partner, Masaru Ibuka, had been born in
1908 in Nikko City, north of Tokyo. His father
was an engineer, but he had died when Ibuka was
only three years old. His mother was a graduate
of Japan Women's College (Nihon Joshi Daigaku)
and had taught kindergarten. Ibuka was
inventive and had always been fascinated with
technology. As a boy, Ibuka had liked radio and
built one using three vacuum tubes. But since
vacuum tubes then were expensive in Japan, Ibuka
had fabricated his own tubes. Then Ibuka went
the Waseda University and studied engineering.
He patented the first of his many inventions
while a student. During Ibukas whole life, he
continued to invent and design. At the age of 83
in 1991, he had acquired 104 patents. He would
design Japans first transistor radio,
transistorized television, a videocassette
recorder for home use, the Walkman personal
stereo, and a compact disc player.
6
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
The partnership was especially productive because
Morita had a family background in business
(commercialization) and was educated in a science
research tradition. Ibuka came from an
engineering background and was educated in
engineering. between them, they appreciated the
perspectives of science and of engineering both
of which would be necessary to innovate the
transistor.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES INVENTED FROM A SCIENCE BASE
REQUIRE BOTH SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING
DESIGN TO IMPROVE THE NEW TECHNOLOGY.
7
In 1946, when Morita and Ibuka formed their new
firm with 500, they did not even have a product
plan. They searched for a product to produce
and they considered producing radios. But
Ibuka decided this was a bad commercial strategy,
since he was certain the existing large Japanese
electronic firms would soon produce radios and be
unwilling to sell components to others.
Moreover, the radio was then a standard
technology and could not provide their new
company with an innovative competitive edge. A
small firm has a chance against bigger
competitors only with strategic leadership in
technology and knowledge. But what
competitive edge? What product? Immediate
products were necessary for cash flow survival.
At first, they made shortwave radio adapters to
enhance the medium-wave radios that were widely
owned in Japan. Next they noted that many
Japanese households had prewar phonographs that
needed repair. They began making new motors and
magnetic pickups. American things were arriving
in Japan, and the American swing and jazz records
were very popular. But the parts business was
not a future. They still wanted to produce a
completely new high-tech consumer product.
8
At that time they knew of the wire recorder,
which had been invented in Germany just before
the war. Ibuka found a company, Sumitomo Metals
Corporation, that could make the special kind of
small, precise-diameter steel wire for such a
recorder. Ibuka decided to produce a wire
recorder. But there was a problem. Sumitomo was
not interested in a small order from a new,
untried company and they would not then be able
to produce a wire recorder. U.S. occupation
forces had taken over the Japan Broadcasting
Company, NHK, and needed new technical equipment.
Ibuka was familiar with audio-mixing units and
submitted a bid to make one for the U.S. forces.
He received a contract and made the mixing unit.
When delivering the unit to the NHK station, he
saw a new American high-tech product, a
Wilcox-Gay tape recorder, which the Army had
brought from the U.S. It was the first tape
recorder Ibuka had ever seen. He looked it over
and could see immediately that it had technical
advantages over wire recorders. In the wire
recorder, the wire had to pass over the recording
and playback heads at very high speeds to obtain
decent fidelity in the reproduction of sound.
But the tape of the tape recorder with its wide
size provided a much larger magnetic area for
signal recording and therefore could be allowed
to travel much more slowly in providing fidelity
of reproduction.
9
Ibuka and Morita's first tape machine, which used
their new plastic-based magnetic tape, had turned
out to be very bulky and heavy (about 75 pounds)
and expensive (170 thousand yen). Next they
began learning something about the marketing of
new and expensive high-tech products. Japanese
consumers simply wouldn't buy it. They had to
look for another market. At the time there was
an acute labor shortage of stenographers, because
during the war so many students had been pushed
from school into war material production.
Ibuka and Morita demonstrated their new tape
recorder to the Japan Supreme Court and
immediately sold it twenty machines. It was the
breakthrough sale for their new high-tech
product. They redesigned their tape recorder
into a medium-sized machine (a little larger than
an attaché case). They also simplified it for a
single speed and sold it at a much lower price.
They then sold their modified product to schools
for English language instruction to Japanese
students.
10
By 1950, the new company had products, tape
recorders, magnetic recording tapes, and
intellectual property. In 1952, Ibuka decided to
try exporting their tapes and recording machines
to the United States. He visited the United
States to study its markets. And he had
earlier read about the invention of the
transistor at Bell Labs. He also visited Western
Electric in New York (then the patent holder on
the transistor). Ibuka was impressed by the
new technology. He wanted it. In the following
year in 1953, Morita went to America to purchase
a license to the transistor from Western Electric
(or 25,000 dollars -- a big sum to the new
company in those days). Ibuka had appreciated
the inherently great performance advantage that
transistors potentially had over vacuum tubes.
A transistor could operate at a fraction of the
size and with a fraction of operating current.
Ibuka and Morita knew that any business which
made portable consumer electronics products would
have eventually change from vacuum tube circuits
to transistorized circuits.
11
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
The building of the Japanese economy -- both
before and after World War II -- was facilitated
by importing technologies from outside and then
improving them.
THE SEARCH FOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEEDS TO BE A
GLOBAL ENDEAVOR. SCIENCE IS AN INTERNATIONAL
ACTIVITY.
12
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
Tubes to transistors -- so obvious! Now we might
say that in hindsight. Yet ponder this
strategic mystery. It is a historical fact that
the U.S. consumer electronics industry, which in
the 1950s was the greatest electronics industry
in the whole world, had almost completely
disappeared by 1980! The reason was a failure
of technology strategy. The U.S. consumer
electronics firms failed to transform their
products from tubes to transistors in a timely,
committed manner. That little transistor -- an
American invention (and its follow-on key
invention, the integrated circuit semiconductor
chip) -- was the technical key to the rise to
world dominance of the Japanese consumer
electronics industry and the corresponding demise
of the American consumer electronics industry.
Why? Why did not American industry successfulLy
commercial their own basic inventions
transistors and chips over the long term
strategically? Hint! The answer lies in capital
and management strategy.
13
But the transistor invention had to be improved
to use it in a radio. Ibuka had to improve the
frequency response of the transistor to a wider
range for its application in a radio. The
problem with the original transistor invented at
Bell Labs was its poor frequency response. The
original transistors were constructed out of two
kinds of semiconductors, arranged like a
sandwich, in which the middle slab controls the
current flow between the outer two slabs. Since
current in semiconductors can either be carried
by electrons or by holes (holes are unfilled
electronic orbits around atoms), one can design
either hole-electron-hole carrier combinations
(positive-negative-positive pnp) or
electron-hole-electron combinations
(negative-positive-negative npn). The
original Bell Labs transistor had a pnp sandwich
of germanium-indium-germanium. Electrons (the
negative carriers) inherently move faster through
a semiconductor than holes (the positive
carriers). The physical reason for this is
that holes wait for an electron to put into its
empty orbit from a neighboring atom before that
empty orbit appears to have moved from one atom
to another. This is inherently a slower process
than a relatively freely moving electron passing
by one atom after another.
14
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
IN ANY NEW TECHNOLOGY, THERE ARE ALWAYS
BOTTLENECKS TO PERFORMANCE. THESE MUST BE
OVERCOME, IMPROVEMENTS IN TECHNOLGY, FOR
APPLICATIONS OF THE TECHNOLOGY.
15
The first thing the Sony researchers had to do to
make the new technology of the transistor useful
was to speed up the signal processing capability
of the transistor by using electrons rather than
holes as carriers. The Sony researchers
accordingly reversed the order of the transistor
sandwich from a positive-negative-positive
structure to a negative-positive-negative
structure (indium-germanium-indium). The
development of the transistor by altering its
phenomenal basis from hole conduction to electron
conduction is an example of a knowledge strategy.
If Ibuka's and Morita's new electronics firm
had been staffed with only electronics engineers
and without any scientists, they would not have
been able to understand the new physics of
semiconductors. They would not have had the
technical imagination to begin developing the
transistor, knowing they could reverse the
combination to seek a higher frequency response.
Ibuka and Morita had established a firm with
both an innovative electronics technical
capability and also with an innovative applied
physics capability. That's how Morita was
trained. Applied physics underlay Morita's
knowledge strategy.
16
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
OVERCOMING A BASIC BOTTLENECK OF THE NEW
TECHNOLOGY OFTEN REQUIRES A NEW DESIGN BASED UPON
A DEEPER SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE If
Ibuka's and Morita's new electronics firm had
been staffed with only electronics engineers and
without any scientists, they would not have been
able to understand the new physics of
semiconductors. They would not have had the
research imagination to begin developing the
transistor, knowing they could reverse the
combination to seek a higher frequency response.
17
The new firm had good research physicists.
During the course of the transistor research one
of them, Leo Esaki, discovered a new fundamental
phenomenum of physics -- quantum tunneling (in
which electrons can sometimes tunnel through
physical barriers that would bar them, if they
obeyed classical physical laws and not quantum
physics). In 1973, Esaki won the Nobel Prize in
physics. The next problem the researchers faced
was the choice of materials for the bases of the
transistor and its impurities. Without adding a
small quantity of different atoms doping,
neither germanium or indium conducts electricity.
The doped atoms impurities make these
materials semi-conducting, as opposed to
non-conducting. They decided to discard the
indium used in Bell Labs' original version of the
transistor. Indium had too low a melting point
for use in a commercial transistor. They tried
working with the combination of gallium with
antimony as its doping atom. That didn't work
well either. Next they tried replacing the
doping element of antimony in the gallium with
phosphorus. At first, the results were not
encouraging, but they persisted. Eventually they
found just the right level of phosphorus doping.
Then they had an npn transistor of
gallium-germanium-gallium structure, with just
the right amount of phosphorus atoms doping the
gallium materials. Sony researchers had
developed a high-frequency germanium transistor,
which was commercially adequate for their pocket
radio.
18
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
Improvement of the performance of the transistor
also required getting the model of the transistor
processes right, in the case of doping Next
they tried replacing the doping element of
antimony in the gallium with phosphorus. At
first, the results were not encouraging, but they
persisted. Eventually they found just the right
level of phosphorus doping.
Engineering in a new technology requires models
of the phenomenon underlying the technology and
proper manipulation of the phenomenon.
19
So the radio -- the consumer product that Ibuka
would not produce a few years back (since at that
time the new firm had no technological
competitive advantage) -- would now become a
second flagship product line, the pocket radio.
In 1955, they produced their first
transistorized radio in a small size, as a
pocketable transistor radio. However, since the
radio turned out to be just a little larger than
a standard mens shirt pocket, they did sew a
slightly larger pocket on the front of their
salesmen shirts, when they went out to market the
new product. The development of the transistor
for radio application is an example of the
Japanese acquisition of a foreign-invented
applied knowledge and the subsequent improvement
of that knowledge for commercialization by their
knowledge asset capability of applied research in
science and engineering. This pattern of
acquisition of foreign-originated knowledge and
subsequent improvement of applied knowledge for
commercialization was the common pattern in both
early and later industrial development of Japan
that led to its emergence first as a
world-military power and second as a
world-economic power
20
With their new knowledge strategy of the
transistor and the new product of the pocket
radio, Ibuka and Morita decided to change the
name of the new firm, changing from the Tokyo
Telecommunications Engineering Company to Sony.
When Sony introduced its transistorized pocket
radio into America, they discovered that Texas
Instruments had independently innovated a
transistorized pocket radio. But Texas
Instruments had no strong commitment to the
consumer market, and they soon dropped the
product. Sony was committed to the consumer
electronics market and began their climb to a
world leader in consumer electronics. Sony
focused upon the consumer electronics market and
became an innovative, high-tech, top-quality
consumer electronics firm and a giant, global
company. Sony also introduced the first
transistorized small black and white television
set. In color television, Sony innovated a
single-gun, three-color TV tube. It innovated
the Walkman series of miniature audio players.
It innovated the first home video cassette
recorder (VCR), after the industrial version had
been invented in the United States.
21
LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY
Discovery Bottleneck Theory
Invention ENGINEERING
COMMERCIALIZATION System Standards
Design Processes
The ST capability of Japanese economic
development has lain in an outstanding capacity
for applied research as opposed to basic
research. But this has required the import of
new technologies by basic research in other
nations The development of the transistor for
radio application is an example of the Japanese
acquisition of a foreign-invented applied
knowledge and the subsequent improvement of that
knowledge for commercialization by their
knowledge asset capability of applied research
in science and engineering.
22
SUMMARY LESSONS FOR SCIENCE ADMINISTRATION
THE PARTNERSHIP, IN ESTABLISHING SONY, DREW UPON
AN APPRECIATION OF BOTH PERSPECTIVES OF SCIENCE,
ENGINEERING WHICH WILL BE NECESSARY TO INNOVATE
THE TRANSISTOR.
THE SEARCH FOR NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEEDS TO BE A
GLOBAL ENDEAVOR. SCIENCE IS AN INTERNATIONAL
ACTIVITY.
IN ANY NEW TECHNOLOGY, THERE ARE ALWAYS
BOTTLENECKS TO PERFORMANCE. THESE MUST BE
OVERCOME, IMPROVEMENTS IN TECHNOLGY, FOR
APPLICATIONS OF THE TECHNOLOGY.
OVERCOMING A BASIC BOTTLENECK OF THE NEW
TECHNOLOGY OFTEN REQUIRES A NEW DESIGN BASED UPON
A DEEPER SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE.
Engineering in a new technology requires models
of the phenomenon underlying the technology and
proper manipulation of the phenomenon.
The contribution of ST policy toward economic
development lies directly in capacity for applied
research and indirectly in basic research.
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