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The Case of the Blind Venetians
PARC Forum

series: Invention and Innovation

28 October 2004
George E. Pake Auditorium

about PARC forum


It is fashionable, but premature to write off the future of the US info tech sector. The dot.bomb collapse and offshoring are quite real, but hints of the path forward are hidden in the history of Silicon Valley and the tech sector. And the secret is this: innovation advances from failure to failure, not from success to success. The time has come to understand and embrace this hidden source of the US' technological dynamism, lest we end up like Venice in it's last century, trapped by old habits and sinking beneath the sea that once sustained it's economic and innovation miracle.


Paul Saffo, Director and Roy Amara Fellow, Institute For The Future. Paul is a forecaster and strategist with over two decades experience exploring long-term technological change and its' practical impact on business and society . His essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Business2.0, Fortune, The Harvard Business Review, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times and Wired. Paul is Chairman of the Samsung Science Board, and serves on a variety of boards and advisory panels, including the Stanford Advisory Council on Science, Technology and Society, the Long Now Foundation as well as the boards of several public and pre-public companies. He is also an advisor to the World Economic Forum (which in 1997 named him one of 100 "Global Leaders for Tomorrow"), a Distinguished Advisor to the Government of Singapore, and is a Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. IFTF is a 30-year old foundation that provides strategic planning and forecasting services to major corporations and government agencies. Mr. Saffo holds degrees from Harvard College, Cambridge University, and Stanford University.