Innovation: It’s all in the question

by, Laurie Riedman, PR Consultant, Innovation Blogger

Questions. I was thinking about them today. Remembering how when my children were young it was through those endless questions they constantly asked me that enabled a greater understanding of the world around them. And as they became young adults it was I who became the inquisitor – sneaking in a question or two whenever I could so I could gain any tiny bit of insight into what was happening in their growing teenage brains.

Questions are how we discover – from philosophical questions that lead to self-discovery to scientific ones.

Just last week I was in a meeting with scientists at Xerox Research Center Webster and it struck me how these extremely talented and educated folks (many who happen to have multiple advanced degrees) are really good at asking questions. Not just any question. The right one at just the right time.

Right now all across all five Xerox research centers our scientists are asking questions – really good ones — like how can we apply algorithms and imaging technology developed to ensure the quality of images printed on a page at split-second speeds to new industries like healthcare. There are teams figuring out how to use this technology that resides deep inside a printer to helping track a baby’s heart rate or deliver vital information from a patient in a rural area of India to a doctor or specialist hundreds of miles away. Other teams are focusing on making our life simple from helping cities use data and analytics to predict when and where traffic jams may occur so a few more trains or buses could be added at just the right times of the day.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of this process of discovering how things can be done differently or how something that is now complicated can be simplified. I can tell you that back when my four year old was constantly asking Why, Why, Why I may not have felt so lucky in that moment – but today I am. I can’t describe how it feels to be in the room with Xerox scientists who are not only asking the really good questions but they are also coming up with some pretty cool answers.

Now that is something. Isnt’ it?

I am a geek at heart and I love working with Xerox scientists around the globe.

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