PARC blog

  • Lawrence Lee & Pete Pirolli, PARC
    25 May 2011 at 10:15pm ·

    Thanks, Dwayne, for the nice build – and provocation!

    We agree that choosing domain experts to generate solutions within their domain of expertise is not as likely to generate creative inventions as great as those that come “from the periphery”. Indeed, we were arguing that people in domains (e.g., lasers) outside the domains of the problem (e.g., printing) are more likely to see creative opportunities if they have true expertise. Our argument was for the need to exploit both individual expertise and collective diversity to maximize the potential for creativity. [There’s plenty of research suggesting that those who “broker” ideas from one area to another are more likely to be the sources of good ideas, and this implies that a healthy dose of diversity in the collection of people attacking the problem is important. PARC’s social computing research team has done some theoretical work in this area — for example, Social Information Foraging — that explicitly tries to address these phenomena (this also builds on the social network work theories of R.S. Burt and the computational studies of cooperative problem solvers by former PARC scientists Bernardo Huberman and Tad Hogg).]

    What we were implying was that brokering ideas “from the periphery”  — say from lasers to printing, or from African art to Cubism — becomes increasingly likely with expertise… and especially for those who gain expertise in “mashing up” ideas across domains. At PARC, we try to create conditions that stimulate broad perspectives to generate creative ideas informed by expertise. First, we look to hire those rare people who are both experts and broad thinkers, who are curious and knowledgeable in many fields in addition to being deep in one. Then we surround them with such people across a wide range of scientific disciplines, and encourage them to collaborate both formally on projects and perhaps more importantly, informally through hallway and lunchtime conversations…

    By doing so, we may limit our range of innovation opportunities to primarily the areas that we know well. But that’s critical in the age of open innovation. You need to understand where you have world-class capabilities, and where you don’t. And in those areas where you are challenged, it’s nice to be able to leverage outside resources — whether it’s from expert partners or crowd platforms — to pursue new opportunities.

  • […] From Creation Myth to the Reality of Innovation Today […]

  • Bill Jackson
    2 June 2011 at 4:51am ·

    Hi Sonal and colleagues: Great piece! This discussion about innovation and creativity has been especially interesting to us at Scarsdale Public Schools as our efforts have been focused on developing critical and creative thinking. [Sonal, I left Paterson Public Schools and came to Scarsdale three years ago to help implement Singapore Math and lesson study to pursue this goal.] BTW, my dad was once president of Xerox and knows Gary Starkweather… Take Care, Bill Jackson

  • Invention or innovation | Strategyaudit
    19 June 2011 at 1:57pm ·

    […] but have a different meaning that I have mumbled about from time to time. This post on the PARC blog in response to Malcolm Gladwells article in the New Yorker is terrific articulation of the […]

  • Dorophone
    25 July 2011 at 1:47pm ·

    […] But the story of Apple and Xerox PARC is also that of a design philosophy meant to empower people diverging into one meant to entertain them or to sell them things. […]

  • […] role in computing’s development. He got several things wrong, PARC’s managers say, and they wrote a rebuttal on their blog about how the lab innovates and why it plays a key role in Silicon Valley even […]

  • […] Como já escrito antes , a invenção não é o mesmo que inovação – inovação requer trazendo a invenção para o mundo. Eric falou sobre o empreendedorismo como uma história dramática que tem lugar em três “atos”, com a Lei II como a fase chata entre o “Eureka!” Momento do Ato I e as riquezas realizado no Ato III. […]

  • Quora
    18 October 2011 at 8:52am ·

    Who invented the drag-and-drop paradigm?…

    Yes! And here’s some commentary — from PARC and others in response — on the topic as well: