The Delicate Dance of Innovation

How Xerox harnesses the power of teams to shape the future of technology.


People like to believe that every innovation comes with a “eureka!” moment, when it all finally makes sense – when the call goes through and the light bulb illuminates.

On the surface, the reality is much messier, but no less colorful, says Mark Stefik, research fellow for the PARC interaction and analytics lab. PARC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox.

“An invention is not usually the result of one star with one big idea,” Stefik says. “Usually it’s a team of people, sometimes in a dance. I like to call it the dance between what is possible and what is needed.”

That’s a dance that takes place often at PARC and the Xerox Research Center in Missausauga, Ontario, Canada. The philosophy of the centers is that the “best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

It’s been that way since PARC’s establishment back in 1970, when Xerox was looking for focused research on the office of the future, says Steve Hoover, chief technology officer at Xerox Corporation. The center went on to contribute fundamental breakthroughs undergirding the personal computer, such as the graphic user interface, Ethernet and more.

That enduring spirit continues on, even as Xerox writes its next chapter.

To learn more about Xerox’s Research & Development organization, visit Xerox Innovation.