iNSIGHT

Why Design Dies: Microsoft closes Palo Alto Labs, Xerox PARC lives

The famous Xerox PARC Labs Keg Parties? Microsoft Labs Barbecues? Sony R&D all nighters out? Maybe how R&D labs make “innovation” but why? Freedom. But not at Microsoft anymore. Here’s why.


Recently  Microsoft announced the closing of one it’s most important R&D centers right in the heart of silicon valley. This signifies one of the fundamental shift from a firm of leaders to a firm of followers. In the case of previous economical governmental regimes, the idea of trickle down economics the argument was that tax breaks for the rich assisted the poor. While the governmental economical tax model argument rages on, there is no need to even question the validity of Trickle Down R&D which shows us not only the validity but the necessity to foster design, invention and fail fast fail often model. With of course a specific model of learning and commercialization built in. 

When the precursor to all modern computers came from the Xerox PARC labs, the founders of SUN Microsystems, and of course some of the how biggest leaders in silicon valley venture capital, it cannot be denied that R&D thinking and commercialization is the basis for major breakthroughs as the New York Times reports. That and a lot of fun and freedom to make the mistakes necessary to make this happen. Let’s hope Microsoft does not go the way of Bell Labs. 

 

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