Innovation In The High Tech Industry

On Sunday night there were several presentations divided up by industry. Working for Siemens PLM, I had a bit of flexibility in choice. I originally headed for the machinery discussion but as you might guess, I’m kind of a “high tech guy” and couldn’t get past the room where Microsoft, Intel, and Siemens (the big part) were talking.

The topic was innovation in the high tech industry. Needless to say, these are big, serious companies working in areas where innovation is critical to long term success. I know there is debate on where innovation is coming from in today’s world but it was very clear that these companies are thinking long and hard about innovation and how to manage it.

Following the individual presentations, there was a panel discussion and Q&A lead by Erica Simmons from Siemens PLM’s High Tech Industry Marketing team. I must say, I really enjoyed the discussion on past innovations (computer, TV, medical) and what some of the new innovations might be – think Blade Runner type innovations – bots and virtual reality.



Wes Shimanek – Intel – Workstation Strategic Marketing
Bill Geourald – Microsoft – Managing Director of High Tech Manufacturing
Dr. Ulrich Eberl – Siemens – Senior Director, Siemens Technology Press and Innovation Communications

Some customers asked some excellent questions about multi-core/multi-CP technology and how to make CAD which is historically more single threaded work well. Being a former CAD developer, it’s a problem that comes up a lot. Wes discussed some of the work being done in this area between Intel and Siemens (rendering, interference) so progress is happening and there are real numbers to back this up. More general CAD solutions will still require more years of research. Wes Shimanek also the felt the focus needs to be more on “megatasking” such as doing CAD and search at the same time.

Bill Georaud had a nice demo of the Microsoft Surface but what hit home for me was the part of his presentation talking about social media (probably because I just blogged about it earlier in the day). I’m sure neither he nor I are saying to go force you employees to get Facebook accounts but it is set of technologies that will be important to business in the future.

It will be easy to say I am bias, but I really felt having Dr. Ulrich Elberl from Siemens as part of the presentation added a lot. Erica said that the original plan was to have another major company present but, for whatever reason, this did not work out and she ended up looking internally. Dr. Ulrich is an innovation expert at Siemens (the big part) and wrote the book “Innovative Minds – A look Inside Siemens’ Idea Machine” which reveals how innovations take shape at Siemens. It tells the story of 30 innovators from all the Siemens Groups and many of the regions, who have produced some of the most successful innovations of recent times. These range from piezo injection technology for cars to the latest tomographs from the medical engineering sector, from the halogen lamp to industrial automation systems, from the gas sensor for building systems to the gas turbine for the supply of power.

I thought this worked out better than expected. I felt good about the long term commitment Siemens has toward innovation and how this would affect Siemens PLM. I hope customers got the same “vibe”.

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