Editor’s Note: PARC recently announced the next “PARC Innovation Lab: A Blueprint for Innovation Leadership,” taking place September 16-17, 2014 here at PARC. Now you have the opportunity to come behind the scenes at PARC to learn the Business of Breakthroughs.
While there is a lot of “innovation training” on the market, we sat down with Innovation Principal Jeremy Clark to learn more about why this experience is different and how attendees will walk away with new perspectives and skills. Early bird pricing ends June 30.
What is unique about PARC’s mission and approach to the Lab?
“As an open innovation leader and since we work with a broad array of organizations, we see the pressure to hit ‘home runs’ increasing as the market advantage of incremental product variations becomes more easily replicated by competitors. We believe that repeatable, breakthrough innovation performance can be learned and applied, and that’s the bold exploratory spirit we are infusing into the PARC Innovation Lab.”
Why is the PARC Innovation Lab (“the Lab”) different than all the other innovation training out there?
“Depth and Authenticity: Participants should think of the Lab as the ‘201’-level class. Most professionals with innovation responsibility have been through some entry-level training: many companies now offer survey courses covering, for instance, design thinking or Lean Startup methods. These classes provide a good understanding of fundamental innovation principles, and the Lab will build on that foundation by exploring next-level frontiers for innovation. For example, we will explore going beyond simple ’empathy’ exercises to understand deep human needs for technology interactions, and how to innovate when the solution contains significant system-level complexity (e.g., new hardware and new software).
“Innovation Practice Transformation: We have designed the Lab with a fairly narrow niche market in mind: senior managers with innovation management responsibility. These leaders will come from companies who are in a technology-centric business, and also from companies whose operations and innovations depend heavily upon technology. These leaders share a common objective to understand the workings of what we call an Innovation Practice—the system of innovation skills, tools, metrics, incentives, and so forth that must be made to work effectively within a short-term focused operating business. The Lab puts all that PARC has learned about innovation management into the context of transforming innovation practice over time.
“‘Well, it’s PARC!’: A visit to PARC is a common ‘geek bucket list’ item for many of us. This is a fascinating place that has and continues to define the technology industry. Other tech company campuses may grab the headlines for quirky design and hot and cold running gluten-free snacks, but this place is where networking, personal computing, smartphones, tablets, and many other can’t-live-without innovations came to life. It’s unique, and we’re pulling back the curtain for Lab participants to see it all.”
What will attendees walk away with after the training?
“They will walk away with a robust, repeatable method for human-centered technology innovation, and perhaps more importantly an understanding of their organization’s Innovation Practice transformation agenda: their action items for upgrading their innovation capability.
“In terms of the format of the Lab itself, participants should expect short theory lectures balanced with team-based practice and group discussions on practical application in their organization. My colleagues and I are veterans of many conferences and training sessions, and we know people don’t want to sit and be lectured for hours. We believe that a big part of the value from the session will come from group interactions and, of course, a rich networking opportunity with peers from other high-performing organizations.
“As the host for the event, I look forward to welcoming you to PARC!”
Why is PARC doing innovation training now?
“Quite simply, our customers have been asking for it! We recently concluded a very successful PARC Innovation Lab this spring. PARC has trained customer teams in the context of research and development projects since our inception in 1970, of course, but since we were incorporated in 2002 that demand has grown in breadth and depth. I think it’s because our customers increasingly see in PARC the future of their own organization’s innovation center: open to collaboration on breakthrough innovation projects not only with the parent but with a wide array of commercial partners. In a world where the best ideas, skills, and capital can come from anywhere, the notion of the captive innovation center is too risky for most large corporations. Learning how to thrive in an open world, they are keen to learn from a pioneer in open innovation.”
Read PARC’s new white paper “The Camera Doesn’t Lie: Rapid Observation to Create Better Customer Experiences“