Seeing Differently: Case Studies of Radical Research


Date Thursday October 14th 2004
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Do all inventors work the same way? How do breakthrough ideas arise? What does an Aha Feel like? How do repeat inventors foster the conditions under which ideas arise? What organization practices or cultures are conducive to invention and innovation?


Ed H. Chi is a research scientist at Palo Alto Research Center's User Interface Research Group. Dr. Chi completed his three degrees (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) in 6.5 years from University of Minnesota, and has been doing research on user interface software systems since 1993. He has been featured and quoted in the press, such as the Economist, Time Magazine, LA Times, and the Associated Press. His current project is the study of Information Scent – understanding how users navigate and understand information environments such as the Web. He has also worked on computational molecular biology and recommendation systems. He has won awards for both teaching and research. In his spare time, Ed is an avid TaeKwonDo martial artist, snowboarder, photographer, and motorcyclist.

David Fork is a Principal Scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rochester in 1987 with degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering. He completed his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Applied Physics in 1991. He has studied and worked primarily on thin film electronic materials and devices. His research activities include complex oxide epitaxial thin films, laser crystallized display materials, organic electroluminescent devices, semiconductor LEDs and lasers, electronic imaging systems, and micro-electromechanical systems. Dr. Fork holds 47 issued US patents and has authored over 100 publications. His honors include the Warren Prize for Science 1983, the Bausch & Lomb Medal for Science 1983, the Bausch & Lomb Scholarship 1983, the John R. Flagg Award 1987, and a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for Community Service, 1997.

Ron Kaplan is a research fellow at PARC, where he manages the Natural Language Theory and Technology area. He is also a consulting professor in the Linguistics department at Stanford. Kaplan received his doctorate in Social Psychology from Harvard University in 1975. He is well known for his contributions to computational linguistics including the formal theory of Lexical-Functional Grammar (with Joan Bresnan) and the mathematical, linguistic, and computational concepts underlying the use of finite-state morphologies (with Martin Kay). He is past President of the Association for Computational Linguistics and a Fellow of the ACM.

Diana Smetters specializes in applied cryptography and cryptographic engineering. She is known for her work on wireless and device security, usability of security, cryptographic tokens and smart cards, practical applications of novel cryptographic protocols, and construction of computer systems using such protocols. Dr. Smetters is a senior member of PARC's research staff. She did her undergraduate work in cognitive science at (The) Ohio State University, and received her PhD from MIT in 1995 in computational and experimental neuroscience.

For each of the speakers, there will be a short video about an invention followed by an interview probing the experience of inventing. The inventors will be interviewed by Mark Stefik and Barbara Stefik. Mark Stefik is a research fellow at PARC, where he directs the Information Sciences and Technologies Laboratory. Barbara Stefik has a doctorate in transpersonal psychology. She is in private practice and helps people to overcome creative blocks. The Stefiks have just published a book with MIT Press on invention and innovation titled "Breakthrough: Stories and Strategies of Radical Innovation."

ABOUT THE SERIES ON INVENTION AND INNOVATION: This is the third in an 11-forum series of talks all about invention and innovation -- hosted by Mark Stefik. The forums will focus on different parts of the "innovation ecology" -- from inventors to VC's, from university settings to corporate research settings, from the here-and-now to big perspectives.

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