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CableLabs Taps HP's Pape as VP Innovation

CableLabs has recruited former colleague Christian Pape, a 24-year veteran of Hewlett-Packard and former colleague of CableLabs president and CEO Phil McKinney, to run the R&D consortium’s nascent innovation office that is trying to sow seeds that flower into new cable tech projects.

Pape, who started at CableLabs about six weeks ago, most recently was strategy and planning manager in the CTO office of HP’s Personal Systems group. That’s where he worked for McKinney, who joined CableLabs last June after serving as CTO of HP’s Personal Systems group.

“The thing beyond R&D we are driving is innovation,” McKinney said in an interview. “The innovation team, their focus is on early experimentation -- high-risk, high-reward programs. We’re looking for validation of ideas and hypotheses… that are really outside the scope of any of the R&D areas.”

Pape will be based in CableLabs’ new Silicon Valley facility, slated to open in late summer 2013. McKinney said CableLabs is close to selecting a final site for the outpost, which will incorporate the San Francisco office that opened in late 2011.

Currently, Pape is heading up CableLabs’ seven projects on the innovation team. McKinney declined to identify what any of them concern (“I’d have to shoot you,” he deadpanned) but said that “in the area of innovation we expect a high failure rate.”

“The whole purpose is to create a robust innovation pipeline… so you have a regular sourcing of new ideas, through a true portfolio-management process,” McKinney said, adding that it takes about two years to get to the point where ideas can progress into R&D projects.

According to CableLabs, a large number of people applied for the job to lead the innovation team. Pape brings "years of proven experience with innovation portfolio management," the consortium said in a statement.

Earlier this year, CableLabs hired another former HP exec, Wayne Surdam, as vice president of communications. Surdam previously was vice president of media and influencer relations at HP.