Innovation on Showcase

Published in MIT News by Audrey Resutek, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Undergrads present research at the SuperUROP Research Preview.

Innovation is about solving the right problem at the right time, Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox’s chief technology officer, told an audience of students participating in the School of Engineering’s SuperUROP program on Thursday.

“You have to focus on who is the user for your technology and what is the right problem to solve,” said Vandebroek, who is also president of the Xerox Innovation Group. “In the early 1970s, we had a color copier. It was amazing technology. There was just one problem: There were very few color originals.”

Today, Xerox sends experts into hospitals, schools, cities, and other environments to observe users, she noted — making sure the right problem is solved early in the innovation process.

This lesson was one of many learned during her 25 years at Xerox that Vandebroek shared in her keynote speech at the SuperUROP Research Preview. Earlier in the afternoon, the 180 undergraduates in the program presented a sneak peak of the research projects they have been working on since September...

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