I am helping to moderate a panel 7pm Mon-Mar-3 at IEEE-CNSV on “Innovation: Work and Life of the Engineer in Japan and Silicon Valley” The event takes place at Agilent Technologies, Inc. in the Aristotle Room, Bldg. 5 located at 5301 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95051. There is no charge to attend and the event is open to the public.
The event is organized by Takahide Inoue, the Global Outreach Director for the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at UC Berkeley.
The panel members are:
- Takashi Yoshimori, Toshiba Semiconductor
- Laura Smoliar, Independent Consultant, Signal Lake Venture Capital
- Tom Coughlin, IEEE Region Six Director-Elect, CNSV member and Independent Consultant
- Kim Parnell, Past Chair, IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, CNSV member and Independent Consultant
- Brian Berg, Past Chair, IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, CNSV member and Independent Consultant
Here are some of the questions I hope the panel is able to address:
- What are innovation lessons from Silicon Valley?
- How does Silicon Valley do so many innovations?
- What are innovation lessons from Japan?
- How do Japanese engineers sustain their interest in a topic to achieve mastery instead of moving on to the “new hot thing” or next “bright shiny object?”
- What makes an innovative culture? What can other areas do to create an innovative culture?
- In Silicon Valley, we tend to celebrate the individual over the group. For Silicon Valley engineers how do you give back to your community?
- The Japanese say that “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” For Japanese engineers, how do you disagree constructively with your peers to foster innovation?
- What advice do you have for engineers for finding an idea that can inspire them to work on for several years before it becomes a reality?
- How do you see the work of the engineer changing in the next five to ten years?
I hope you can join us tomorrow night. Here are some background material on Silicon Valley’s innovation culture you may find relevant.
- Soul of New Machine by Tracy Kidder
- Regional Advantage by AnnaLee Saxenian (and her follow up “The New Argonauts, Regional Advantage in the Global Economy“)
- Accidental Empires by Robert Cringely
- Understanding Silicon Valley: Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region (Martin Kenney, ed.) in particular the “”Silicon Valley Came to Be” chapter by Timothy Sturgeon that offers the key insight that Silicon Valley is at least 100 years old if you date it–correctly, I believe–from the founding of Federal Telegraph in 1909.
Here are five related blog posts about Silicon Valley it’s entrepreneurial culture
- In “Steve Blank on the Secret History of Silicon Valley” I suggest, based on Sturgeon’s analysis, that while World War 2 activities contributed significantly to the growth of Silicon Valley it’s founding can be dated to Federal Telegraph in 1909 (as noted by California Historical marker 836).
- Finding Silicon Valley in Two Passages from E. B. White’s Here Is New York
- Federated Entrepreneurship
- Federated Entrepreneurship: Evangelizing Entrepreneurship
- Federated Entrepreneurship: Play Your Own Game
Finally Tom Wolfe wrote “The Tinkering’s of Robert Noyce” about the founding and early culture at Fairchild and Intel for Esquire in December of 1983 and updated it for Forbes ASAP fourteen years later as “Robert Noyce and his Congregation.” (Aug-25-1997).
The text of California Historical Marker 836:
PIONEER ELECTRONICS RESEARCH LABORATORY – This is the original site of the laboratory and factory of Federal Telegraph Company, founded in 1909 by Cyril F. Elwell. Here, Dr. Lee de Forest, inventor of the three-element radio vacuum tube, devised the first vacuum tube amplifier and oscillator in 1911-13. Worldwide developments based on this research led to modern radio communication, television, and the electronics age…California Registered Historical Landmark No. 836..Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the City of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto Historical Association, May 2, 1970
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