Blended Reality: Riding the Waves of Innovation

A talk given by Shane Wall, CTO, HP

“Innovation is culture,” says Wall to start his keynote in high gear.

 The way you get insight is to understand culture, he suggests, is to look at societal change. Not technology.

At HP labs we are charged with “What’s the future? Where are we going? We don’t look at technology, we look at society—we look 30 years into the future, into megatrends, such as rapid urbanization, changing demographics, hyper globalizations, accelerated innovation.”

“Think about changing demographics. It will be a different world when most of the people on earth are over 50 years old. Most marketing will go after the silver spenders.”

The HP vision is called Blended Reality: the intersection of physical life with digital life. The key is to do it seamlessly. How does it all integrate? It is happening already. Look at medicine—take a diabetic, for example, how insulin pumps work.

First example of a dimension of Blended Reality trend is Hyper Mobility. “Today we think of phones and tablets—things we look at no less than 137 times a day. But, what happens when wearables measure and predict and even fix issues?” The day is coming soon.

The second one is 3D Transformation. “This is nothing less than the next industrial revolution. Consumer will be able to configure everything. Tax laws and regulations will change. Supply chains will change. Manufacturing will change.”

The last one is the Internet of All Things. This is a bigger idea than Internet of Things. Here, every single thing can be connected, even without technology. “Products and packaging can be encoded with patterns that can be read, allowing all types of tracking,” claims Wall.

So, how does HP do innovation? They say that “innovation is culture.” It goes back to the company’s roots as a garage-based start up. It’s native to their story. From this simple garage Silicon Valley was born.

HP’s innovation definition?  The word, Jugaad. It’s a Punjab word meaning innovative fix. The idea is that you have no money but you seek inventive, adaptive intelligence. You see it in India everyday. This is when you don’t have a showerhead, so you take a bottle and poke holes in it and affix it to a hose to create a shower.

You must capture this spirit. You can’t reward it with money and praise. “Rather, leadership at HP embraces change. We work to highlight innovation across the company these ways:


1.    Prepare yourself to recognize new opportunities and act on them, even if they don’t fit your existing business model

2.    Communicate a clear vision, direction—and communicate the vision of where you are going often. Do not let process get in the way of the destination.

3.    Empower everyone to make decisions—and celebrate decision making loudly.

4.    Suspend judgment—this is really critical. Stomp out naysayers. The best ideas often come from people who never heard, ‘We tried that already. We don’t do that, etc.”

Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit to learn more.