PARC’s Power of 10

‘Xerox PARC’ is so 10 years ago. Today, we’re ‘PARC, a Xerox company’

When PARC was incorporated in 2002 as an independent company, it helped created a bold new model for innovation that moved from “captive” or closed R&D to open innovation. There are quite a few definitions and even more interpretations of what open innovation [updated link] is, but simply put, it means drawing on resources and/or working with people outside your organization to fill in gaps and accomplish your goals… whatever they are.

For PARC today, open innovation means we work with commercial partners, startups, and government agencies in a few different ways. The key is that everyone wins because they’re leveraging all of our experiences and expertise across clients and industries – which allows our clients to de-risk and accelerate time to market, while we in turn benefit from multiple commercialization paths.

The journey

When we first became independent we thought our business model would be providing the “seeds” – basically, a bunch of great ideas, IP, and people. Given PARC’s track record, surely companies would immediately see the possibilities in this amazing a la carte menu of offerings and pay us for what they wanted?

Turns out this wasn’t enough. Because to really impact things, you need to implement ideas in context, towards a particular direction.

Today the innovation landscape moves faster than ever, and there are many more players, each with an important role. To build a big enough lever to really move things and have impact, you often need to connect different capabilities, client roadmaps, business models, and enabling partners: you need to assemble an “ecosystem”.

[See related content on doing this for printed electronics, which can enable electronics everywhere, and on doing this for content-centric networking, which involves open source, government, and commercial players as well as a cross-industry consortium to change the future of networking.]

The Power of 10 event

When we set out to celebrate our 10th “birthday”, we wondered, what was the best way to share some of our insights and experiences in the journey from “Xerox PARC” to “Palo Alto Research Center” to “PARC, a Xerox company”?

Given this new milestone, we felt the focus should be on the business models, the theoretical expertise, and commercialization stories – the process behind the outcomes. So our half-day conference and celebration featured experts sharing their theoretical and research insights on open innovation and disruptive innovation, followed by practical experiences from some of our clients.

Here are just some of the insights the two expert speakers shared:

  • The best people in the world don’t always work for you; how are you going to address this reality? (Henry Chesbrough)
  • Don’t forget the business model or forget to rely on human-centered insights – remember Drucker/Levitt on people wanting holes, not drills. (Henry Chesbrough)
  • Innovation may be best defined as “breaking tradeoffs”. (Michael Raynor)
  • Operational excellence gets you survival, strategy gets you profitability, but innovation gets you growth. (Michael Raynor)

Check out the videos here and below to hear some of our clients’ (HexaTech, Motorola Solutions, Panasonic Corporation, and Thin Film Electronics ASA) commercialization insights following these sessions. Their perspectives represent large corporations to small companies and startups.

This isn’t innovation by happenstance. It’s intentional, it’s repeatable, it’s sustainable… it’s a practice. Here’s to the next 10 years of practicing open innovation!

resources

  • Check out the graphic notes of the “open” session and the “disrupt” session.
  • Join our newly formed LinkedIn group to continue and expand on the above discussions — we will be announcing video excerpts of the expert talks there as soon as they are available.
  • See this recent event press release, which includes announcement of the PARC Innovation Council.
  • Watch the talks in our special PARC Forum invited expert series with 10 speakers on 10 aspects of innovation. You can watch these videos online or attend these free, open-to-the-public events in person; sign up here for advance event announcements. Featured speakers include featuring Clayton Christensen, Geoffrey Moore, and others.