Hats Off to Risk Takers

By, Laurie Reidman, Guest Blogger

Just heard some great innovation news that I had to share!  Xerox just received a 2011 National Award for team innovation from The American Chemical Society for its super toner (see video featuring the winning Xerox team).   I also just learned that Xerox was also recently named to Thompson Reuters’ list of the World’s 100 Top Innovative Companies

If you’ve read any of my posts on this blog then you know why Xerox is on the list.  You see, I work with Xerox innovators across the globe to get the word out about their innovative thinking and cool projects.  So it wasn’t a surprise to me that Thompson Reuters’ recognized Xerox among the world’s best innovators.  

I believe – like the folks at Thompson Reuters – that innovation is more than the quantity of patents you file.  It is truly about being a global innovator, the amount of influence you have and collaboration (or what Henry Chesbrough  has coined as “open innovation”). 

The invention machine inside Xerox exemplifies all these qualities.  But the one I’d like to highlight is – for some – an uncomfortable one — taking risks. 

Risk taking is the heart of invention and has been a cornerstone of innovation at Xerox from the moment in 1938 – in a makeshift laboratory in Queen’s N.Y. — when Chester Carlson invented the xerographic process that has become the foundation for Xerox’s success.

Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox’s chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group believes that a good part of Xerox’s success is due to taking a risk or two by continually seeking and taking new approaches to innovation.   “At Xerox we encourage change, push the limits of the unknown and explore new approaches to innovation,” she has said.

So, hats off to all of the companies named to the World’s Top  Innovative Companies list and a special tip of the hat to those risk takers at Xerox who  discover new approaches  to solving our customers’ real business problems – one invention at a time!

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