PARC Innovations Update (2010 #2)

This is the archive entry for our e-mail newsletter, PARC Innovations Update. [subscribe]

  • Spotlight: Ethnography in industry series
  • In the Marketplace: Mobile recommendation service in Tokyo
  • Case Study: Developing a high-value, low-cost, custom flexible electronics solution
  • Engage with Us: Defining innovation; Strategies for finding, getting, and managing outside technologies
  • PARC In the News: creating innovation; driving PE; cleantech edge; handheld HIV detector; what’s in a tweet & information overload; machines & human speech

Links are not provided for older items in the archive.

Spotlight: Ethnography in industry series

Ethnography can be seen as a strategic weapon enabling companies to gather new insights and thus gain advantage over their competition. This first post in our blog series on ethnography attempts to clarify its practical applications for commercial objectives, particularly those involving technology and workscape innovation…

PARC is hosting a special Forum speaker series on ethnography this summer. Scheduled speakers include Genevieve Bell, Fellow and Director of Intel’s User Experience Group; Paul Dourish of UCI’s Informatics program; Gentry Underwood, head of IDEO’s knowledge sharing domain; Stephen Barley of Stanford’s School of Engineering and Center for Work, Technology and Organization; Steve Portigal, founder of Portigal Consulting; and PARC ethnographers. When permitted by the speaker, PARC Forum videos are now livestreamed at, and can be watched online anytime at, as well as at Sign up for PARC Forum announcements and other information at…

In the Marketplace: Mobile recommendation service in Tokyo

Publishing company Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) has been collaborating with PARC to extend its existing content assets with a new digital media technology platform. The company recently ran final user trials of the resulting context-aware mobile recommender system in Tokyo’s Ginza and Yurakucho districts. Currently available as a downloadable iPhone application called “Machireco” (literally, “city” + “recommendation”), the system provides activity recommendations based on location, history, user likes/dislikes, time of day, and other contextual information. DNP plans to offer the service for all smart phones later this year. Download currently available in Japan only. More…

Case Study: Developing a high-value, low-cost, custom flexible electronics solution


To prevent traumatic brain injury in soldiers and emergency responders, the U.S. government’s DARPA required an early detection solution that could monitor and record the intensity and frequency of battlefield blasts – without requiring additional maintenance or personnel in the field. PARC developed a printed and flexible blast dosimeter tape that could be mounted on and conform to the irregular shape of helmets. It could sense and record various data in the field yet be robust enough to be read back later, and could also be discarded once read due to its very low cost. PARC’s printed and flexible electronic expertise used in developing this sensor can be adapted for consumer health electronics, manufactured packaging, and electro-mechanical sensing in a broad range of biomedical applications. More…

Engage with Us: Defining innovation; Strategies for finding, getting, and managing outside technologies

Innovation is a sorely overused word. Yet we are constantly asked to define it. A number of theorists and practitioners have offered up their variations: product innovation, business model innovation, technology innovation, design innovation, radical innovation, incremental innovation, disruptive innovation, open innovation…and so the list goes on. All are useful; none are complete. But however it is defined, innovation is a valuable change, unconstrained by the way things are. (An abridged version of this post by PARC CEO Mark Bernstein also appears at The Economist’s Ideas Economy blog.) Share your comments! More…

Finding “potentially interesting” technologies is easy. Finding great business opportunities is not. As companies increasingly look outside for opportunities, it becomes even more important to have clear practices associated with each step of the technology scouting process. In this follow up to part 1 shared in our last e-newsletter, we share strategies for how companies can find what they’re looking for, how they can go about acquiring it once they’ve found it, and how to manage it once they’ve got it. More…

PARC In the News

Creating Innovation in the PARC — Blogging Innovation
PARC helps drive innovation in PE — PE Now
Scaling, collaboration are keys to maintaining U.S. cleantech edge — EE Times
Tech helps fuel green businesses — CNET News
Building a handheld HIV detector — Inside Science
What’s in a Tweet? — Technology Review
Palo Alto researchers create tool for dealing with Twitter’s “information overload” — ReadWriteWeb
Why machines do not understand human speech — BBC Click [includes video]


 Editor: Sonal Chokshi

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