Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and the World of Innovation

Submitted by: Laurie Riedman, Xerox public relations consultantUrsula_Burns_World_Innovation_Forum_2010

I wanted to highlight what Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns said about innovation when she spoke earlier this month at the World Innovation Forum in New York.  While many other bloggers have posted comments about her keynote,  I thought it would be remiss if we didn’t do the same here on this blog.

Speaking to top innovators, Ursula talked about the ‘roller coaster ride” we’ve been on for the past 10 years including shifting our business into document management and business process while bringing to market over 80 new products in the past 3 years alone.   Now that’s a lot of innovative thinking.  How does Xerox do it?

Well much of it comes from the  Xerox Innovation Group and its four R&D centers located across the globe, including the wholly-owned, but independent  Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) which not only conducts Xerox research but also partners with other companies to do independent research projects.  Ursula mentioned some great work PARC is doing on solar energy – which incidentally has come from Xerox core competencies in printing!    By the way, besides the four research centers, the company recently opened an innovation hub in India to focus on projects specific to developing markets.

Ursula talked about our  collaborative innovation approach including  how we  ‘dream with our customers,’  in other words,  getting closer to our customers so we can truly invent products and services that meet their specific needs.   She also addressed how important it is to ‘roll with the punches’ and embrace change.  For example, Ursula sees crisis and the need for change as a great motivator because when everything is uncertain – it gives you permission to do something differently.   Palo Alto Research Center, a wholly-owned Xerox subsidiaryPersonally, I like that kind of thinking because if you don’t embrace and welcome change – you can’t have innovation.  How do you innovate?  I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime — check out what the Innovation Playground had to say about Ursula’s talk or some great pearls of innovation wisdom from all 13 presentations from Blogging Innovation.

— Laurie Riedman, Xerox public relations consultant

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12 Comments

  1. Paul Edwards July 2, 2010 - Reply

    Laurie,
    As the saying goes, “Where’s the beef?”
    Where are the specifics? PARC…Solar…everything is uncertain…who needs permission to do something differently?
    What’s new here? What’s innovative? This is all fluff.

  2. Laurie Riedman July 7, 2010 - Reply

    I hear you Paul. Yes, everything is uncertain and it is hard – especially in this economy — to not only find (and fund) the “beef” but get it to market. Xerox — and PARC — are working hard to continue to innovate within and with our customers and sometimes looking for any way we can accelerate time to market of our innovations. Check out Sol Focus
    http://www.parc.com/services/case-studies/2200/accelerating-time-to-market-and-increasing-cost-efficiency.html It’s one example of a PARC clean tech venture that has already put our breakthrough solar technology into the marketplace. I find what they are doing in solar innovative. Hope you do too.

  3. edi_gluk July 16, 2010 - Reply

    it was very interesting to read.
    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
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  4. Joanne Fowler July 22, 2010 - Reply

    how can i send a letter (ink on dead trees) to Ms. Burns ? I have a story my son my son wrote in1992 when he was in grammar school that she would enjoy it is about Xerox.

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  6. Charles Mac Arthur August 19, 2010 - Reply

    I have had a phaser 8560dn for almost three weeks, quite a change from the Xerox #4 Camera I ran 50-60 years ago. But I have yet to really use it, lacking basic training from the field people. It would be nice if there were an English language operators manual, but no one seems to know where it might be.
    I would like to be able to run this one periodically off the grid from my inverter. Times are slow and it doesn’t help if I sit here twiddling my thumbs while Rome burns.
    Like having a new Prius but no keys.

  7. JenniferC, Xerox Support August 24, 2010 - Reply

    @Charles: Thanks for your note. I will send you an email to see how we might be able to address your problem.

  8. Sal (occasional stockholder) September 21, 2010 - Reply

    09/21/2010
    Hello Ursula Burns,
    I just viewed your interview on CNBC while you were talking of seeing things in color with Xerox. Why not create a commercial campaign using the song “Color My World” from the rock group Chicago? This could lead to a very catchy advertising piece for the company moving forward.
    Good Luck…

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