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world's best industrial research lab (wbirl) program

HP Labs 1997 Celebration of Creativity: The Conversation Continues
Walk Thru Time
Reader's Theater Script
Presented Earth Day, April 22, 1997

Readers

Jason Brown, Joan Gallicano, Sid Liebes, Laurie Mittelstadt, Jim Sheats, Shalini Venkatesh, Richard Walker and Barbara Waugh

Morning Plenary Session
Link to Bristol Established

(We want to establish up front an informal, conversational, personal spirit. This is not a "state dinner with the nobility" atmosphere, but a "beer bust with all the folks hanging out together" atmosphere. This "script" embodies this spirit, but may not reflect the exact words we speak when the time comes.)

Barb: Welcome Folks! I'm Barbara Waugh, a member of the Celebration of Creativity design team, and manager of our initiative to become the Best Industrial Research Lab IN the World and FOR the world. Brian Barry, an HPL financial liaison, who helped get all us here in Palo Alto into the tent, and I will be your emcees for the rest of the day.

Today is Earth Day around the world. For HPL it begins in Bristol, moves to Palo Alto, and concludes in Japan. For the next 1/2 hour, Bristol and Palo Alto are live-linked, and 1300 HPL employees are celebrating together.

Now Joel will greet us all under this cyber tent, this virtual tent, this roof that is the sky itself...

Joel - 5 - 7 minutes, ending with transition to Bristol/John Taylor:

Joel: ... So John, how did it go in Bristol?

John - 5-7 minutes, ending with transition to Readers' Theater:

John: "... So some of our folks were wondering, exactly how did we all get to this day?"

 

Readers' Theater in 3 Riffs

Riff 1 - Our Image; Vision of HP for the World

This section should move quickly, with voice overs, and interruptions... to kick off the momentum and get us going. It's quick and upbeat, in contrast to the next riff, which is more thoughtful, and not as relentlessly positive.

Joan: Sid, Howard Taub wants to use our image of HP for the World to kick off a talk he's doing with Southern Sales...he suggests putting it on the Web where everyone can get at it.

Sid: (interrupts) Sounds great! Steve Bicker can easily do that

Joan: (voice over interrupts) And Carol Anderson has called from the company store to know if they c an use it for mousepads, and T-shirts and coffee cups - she thinks they'd sell 50, 000 in a year...

Jason: And it's on display in the lobby of HP's European HQ.

Jim: And the lobby of the new HP Institute in Ontario, Canada.

Rick: It's in HP Marketing Demo Center in Mexico.

Shalini: HP Toronto made a wall mural of the image and took it to a trade show.

Sid: Lew Platt presented a framed poster of it to the CEO of Canon as a gift.

Joan: It is the centerpiece in Corporate Government Affairs' "Good Government" Campaign.

Jim: HP Paramus Sales used it in ads in County Crime Prevention Handbook and Borough of Paramus' 75th Anniversary Journal.

Rick: It was featured as an insert in Canada's largest daily newspaper, the Globe and Mail.

Jason: It was at IDC's European IT Forum in Paris.

Sid: HP Saint Paul Sales took 2000 shirts for the HP booth at HP World '96.

Shalini: Corporate College Recruiting and Corporate Staffing groups use Bill and Dave posters at conferences.

Joan: It was at the HP exhibit at the National Urban League Conference.

Rick: (visual of the credit card on the TV screen) And the credit union wants to launch a visioneers' card, encouraging people to save rather than spend .

Jason: (visual of the Xmas card on the TV screen ) (interrupts)And HP Sweden wants to know if they can substitute fir trees for the rose bushes and cover the whole lot with snow and call it the HP Sweden Holiday Greeting card...

Shalini: Measure magazine wants to do an article on the day and the image!

Jason: Well, when you think about it, hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to the idea of HP for the World by now...

Barb: Several consultants I've talked to see this as a unique example of the grassroots creating a vision for a whole company...

Laurie: Yeah, I just got interviewed for a book on R&D...

Barb: And I've gotten calls from 3 different authors that want to feature us in their books...

Jim: Kind of begs the question of what HP for the World really means for each of us, for all of us...

All turn around backs to the audience. end of Riff One

 

Riff 2 - What Has Happened Since Last Creativity Day?

Barb: Let's look at Jim's question, "What does HP for the World mean to HPL? " Has the notion of HP for the World really affected the technology agenda in HPL? I mean are we working on different things, or working on them in different ways than we did before we had this vision? I'm personally not that interested in "feel good" days that don't result in changes in the fundamental nature of things...

Jim: Well, remember Education emerged as a big concern in the Town Meeting? Many of us feel HP should try to make a difference there. And Joel made it one of 5 areas to be investigated and discussed at the Bristol offsite. It did get a thorough investigation. But I believe we concluded there really isn't a profitable contribution out there for HP yet....

Shalini: Well, if you'll remember, there was a lot of feeling about medical care for the world in that town meeting. I've talked to Tad Simons and Pete Melton, and they believe work accelerated on the remote medical care project because of the deep feeling in HPL that we should be doing more there...

Sid: Well remember the idea emerged that HP should do more for the environment. I've been in some good discussions about the possibility of a world wide sensor - net, that would monitor real-time, the health of the earth - an extension of the concept of a personal health monitor.

Barb: But is this enough of a difference? Have our priorities fundamentally changed?

Jim: But Barb, maybe they don't need to change. Maybe we just need to develop and execute them with more consciousness of their potential and effect on the world.

Barb: I really like that idea Jim. You know Stan Williams told me that our light bulb project over there in SSTL could reduce our power needs to the point that we would no longer need nuclear power. That it's maybe the most powerful HP for the World project we have!

Rick: What if we added a "For the World" value to our Values/Risk Analysis when we assess our projects? Not to decide on them one way or the other, but to factor into the equation?

Jim: Well just about all the miniaturization work would have a high value... and that would be just fine!

Rick: But I hear Barb asking, "Did our 1995 Celebration of Creativity make a difference in how we do things in HPL. And I think you can't draw strict cause and effect like Barb is trying to do. HP is a complex system in a very turbulent environment. You can draw loose connections, and state probable causes of things. But I believe, as an engineer affected by our celebration, that the day influenced both what I work on and how I choose to work.

Joan: How, Rick?

Rick: Well, I was amazed at who we are, and what we care about, and I've been a lot more available to talk to and connect with others in other labs and functions. Plus, I'm up here front and center, aren't I? I was in the back bleacher last year!

Jason: Well, in the loose coupling of cause and effect that Rick puts out, I believe the Open Day, as we called it in Bristol, led directly to the project to web the Bristol offsite. And engineers on both sides of the pond were surprised and even shocked to have senior management put all their materials on the WWW, and then post reports and photos during the off-site so we could follow what they were thinking and get our own 2 schillings in...

Jim: Weren't there 13,000 hits on the off-site web page in just one day?

Shalini: Yes, and there was another cause and effect I can think of. The Community Forum really began with the workshop on during our last Celebration of Creativity. And since then its come into being and produced a monthly newsletter .

Joan: with a Technician's Corner! if you please, and a speakers' series,

Shalini: and we're about to put an events calendar on the Web...

Jason: and it's spreading to Bristol, where we're having conversations about next steps toward community for engineers on that side of the pond.

Jim: Isn't there another PA-Bristol-Japan project since last year? George Hopkins' Tech Transfer project?

Laurie: Yeah, I heard Chuck Tyler say that project has turned up some of the hottest stuff going in HPL about what works and what doesn't...

Shalini: I love their idea of transparent transfer - where the boundaries between HPL and the divisions would be invisible and we'd work as a team throughout the project...

Rick: When you think about it, it's the only way for HPL to work in Internet Time.

Laurie: Well our Celebration of Creativity caused me to find out what HPL thinks its doing. Did you know our mission, and role and annual goals are posted on the WWW?

Rick: Goals? What are they?

Laurie: First, to prioritize our investments to maximize our financial impact on the company while continually improving customer satisfaction and scientific contributions;

Shalini: Second, to provide the high quality management and leadership that will enable all HPL employees to realize their full potential for HPL and for HP;

Jason: Third, to improve the quality of our work environment and our productivity;

Jim: But how to pick the right technologies to invest in? This is the critical question for HPL. And we can't answer it without asking, "What kind of company should HP be?" Our Celebration events, and our town meetings are part of an ongoing process for answering this perpetual questions for all of HP....

Laurie: So what are our drivers? How can we make HP more flexible? Able to organize across lab and department silos? Across the separations of oceans and divisions? How can we pull out all the stops on our collective intelligence, imagination, passion and commitment for HP's future?

Laurie turns around counter clockwise, and all follow...

 

Riff 3 - Walk Through Time

This riff is upbeat, spirited, in places thoughtful... and concludes with a segue into the Bristol feedback about their day just ending

Sid: (turns around) Hey, Barb. What a Day! that Celebration was last week. It somehow stirred up a dream of 25 years ago? In a letter to the editor of the Stanford Daily, I proposed a mile-long WTT to celebrate the world's first Earth Day...

Barb: Whoa!, Sid, what happened 25 years ago?

Sid: Well it was 26 years ago, and the Earth's first Earth Day. I felt that much of our negative behavior toward one another and other life on this planet reflects a lack of perspective. I felt that the visceral experience of walking through a book unfolding the scientific understanding of our evolution from stardust might heighten our appreciation of the wonder of it all. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Stanford Daily to propose such a Walk Thru Time and...

Barb: Sid, how did you ever have this idea then?

Sid: Well, I grew up 15 miles from here, in the 30s. When I was a boy, I would hike for miles through endless fields of California poppies and eucalyptus forests that surrounded our home. El Camino had no traffic lights, and today's San Francisco International Airport was a gravel runway called Mills field... When my wife and I returned from Princeton to St anford in the mid 60's, the changes in the Peninsula hit me hard. The rate of obliteration of the natural beauty overwhelmed me. I initiated several successful local environmental initiatives but I was haunted by the pending death of the world's megafauna and megaflora that would result from the world's population explosion.

Laurie: (turns around, interrupting Sid) I grew up around here too, Sid, later than you, but still, it's changed so much.... you can really see the difference human beings have made... So what happened when you proposed the Walk 26 years ago Sid?

Sid:Well, no one was crazy enough to join me on it, and I wasn't crazy enough to go it alone. But now, I'm thinking of applying my energies to making the Walk a reality. I'd like to create a magnificently attractive Walk Thru Time for unveiling as a millennium celebration of life. I'm gonna retire from HP, raise private funds, and do it!

Barb: Wow, I love your idea, Sid! But I've gotta tell you, it feels awful to me that you have to leave HP to follow your dreams. What if HP is big enough for our dreams? What if HP requires our dreams to stay great and profitable? What if we could do the walk here at HP?

Sid: Here? I don't see how we could do this at HP.?

Jim: Well, Sid, recall the "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity," in 1992? You quoted it yourself last Creativity Day. A remarkable document. 1600 scientists, including over half the living Nobel laureates in science, assess the state of the planet and , paint a grim picture of where we're headed, and conclude by saying,

All: (All of us read in unison, as if we're the scientists): " If vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated, a great change in our stewardship of the earth is required."

Laurie: And then they go on to list 5 things we must do, including "eliminate poverty and ensure gender equality." And they cast action not as "altruism," but enlightened self-interest: quote, "whether industrialized or not, we all have but one lifeboat" unquote. They ask for the help of the world's business and industrial leaders. What about HP? Could we lead business in responding to these challenges?

Jason: We're among a precious few companies that have the core values needed to lead the corporate sector. Today should be about exploring how we go about this...

Shalini: Remember Jim Collins' book, Built to Last? He points out that HP was the radical in the 40 s and 50s. It was unheard, then, to share the profits with all the workers, have open doors, and limit the number of defense contracts so as to prevent lay-offs.

Joan: And Dave said throughout the decades that the purpose of the company is to advance science and contribute to the welfare of humanity. Profit is not the purpose. Contribution is the purpose. Profit is the proof you've made a contribution, and the means to make greater ones in the future...

Jim: Well, I'd like to help with this Walk. I believe HP could and should be doing a lot more to be responsible for the environment. HPL could learn some things from other HP divisions in recycling and , and HP could learn a lot from other companies.

Jason: Do you realize what's happening in Europe with corporations and The Natural Step organization in Sweden?

Sid: Hold on a second. I don't think any of you realize what I have in mind...sever al years of effort, and a lot of money! You've got to write the story, ensure it's accurate, find visuals and create displays for every major point you're making, get copyrights to use existing art...

Barb: We could do a pilot here at HP, but just to add to the doom, have you been getting the company's financial picture? Travel canceled, meeting s canceled, expenses held to the minimum. No way we can do this thing unless we spend half of what we did last time.

Joan: Well, I believe folks know we're in tight times. Maybe they'd buy their own T-shirts this time.

Laurie: And we learned a lot last time. We don't need to be paying the middle man to help us set up; and we can get the tent cheaper, and save on some of the audiovisual set up. We can do it for half, I know it.

Jim: We can make the Walk reusable, in keeping with environmental responsibility... a kind of event in a box, as Roseanne Wyleczuk put it...

Jason: And scaleable. Bristol won't want to do a full mile. With our weather, we'll need to have it indoors.

Jim: But what about the production time Sid says we need?

Laurie: Oh, we'll have enough time. We just have to scale the effort to the time we have! We can do it! We need to get some more people involved, though, as soon as possible...

Shalini: We'll also scale the Walk to the resources we have! I bet the Community Forum would be willing to help out!

Jason: Bristol could get into it! We'd probably aim it towards kids, and involve the folks in the city planning Bristol 2000. Maybe we could work with them to create a virtual reality zoo to go along with the exhibit!!!

Rick: Well, I'm pretty up to speed with environmental awareness web pages, so I can help identify some of the issues, and resources. In fact, I created and maintain an authoritative webpage on carnivorous plants...I can write a UNIX script to automate exhibit panel production.. .

Joan: I'll help on anything at all.... the last time, walking into that huge tent...it was just magic , grand.

Laurie: Fine, Joan, you be in charge of the tent!

Joan: I will! And the AV, and the badges, whatever you need!...

Rick: Hold on a second. You know, some of us are offended by the theory of evolution. It goes against some religious beliefs, including my own at times in my life.

Barb: My beliefs too, for a good part of my earlier life. This day is a celebration of life and its diversity. We don't want to exclude anyone or inhibit the diversity of thought in our own community as we go about this...How can we handle this?

Rick: Well, we've got to stress this is only a scientific understanding of life. Have you seen the Stephen Jay Gould article in the latest Journal of Natural History? He points out that the scientific understanding deals only with scientific facts and inferences. Not the meaning of the facts, or of the meaning of life, or how to live life, or right and wrong. The scientific understanding offers very little information when it comes to belief systems and moral conduct.

Shalini: We've also got to stress that we're not primarily interested in the Walk for its content- scientific theories about the creation of the earth change daily. We're much more interested in the Walk as a context to ask the deepest questions about our own work in HP, HPL, and in our own lives...

Laurie: The WTT will mean something different to each person who walks it. But this is the point: we all have visions and values and choices about the future. We need a context big enough to explore all our ideas for our own lives, for HP and for HPL. By default, or consciously - and we can choose which - we are helping to steer a global company into the future. Institutional relationships between companies, governments and non-profits, and between all the cultures that we represent here today - it's these relationships that will determine the next century.

Jim: I've heard a lot of talk about "amoral cooperate values." In fact many of my activist friends talk like this. but the corporation is not some abstract monster. Ours is over one hundred thousand people, including you and me and us - all with hopes and dreams and choices about the future. Together we are more than the sum of our separate selves, and collectively we can affect the future of the planet.

Rick: I remember last time we quoted the CEO of Monsanto who said, "The world will reward the companies that solve the world's problems."

Jason: And he goes into depth about what he's done at Monsanto in the January issue of Harvard Business Review, beginning with hiring an environmental activist to head public policy, reporting directly to him.

Shalini: You know you can think of environment in a lot of ways. Culture is an environment, and like any environment, powerfully shapes us - in this case, how we think, and the options we believe we have. One dimension of the Walk today is to challenge some of our fundamental assumptions, like the idea that evolution proves the survival of the fittest. In fact, it comes a lot closer to proving the survival of the most collaborative... But also, with Glenna Gerard's help at the end of the Walk and in the workshop, we'll be exploring ways to tease out our hidden assumptions, so we can decide if they serve us and our future.

Jim: Well, for some of us in HPL April 22 is among the holiest days of the year - the first day of Passover. Since we can't change Earth Day, what can we do??

Laurie: Well I've been talking to folks for whom this could be a problem and they've said it would help a lot to have Kosher food an option. Jasmail in the cafeteria has helped us with this. And then several said they can't think of a better way to celebrate life than this walk. They're going to take it in that spirit.

Sid: We've found the most incredible friends from all over the world who want to help with this thing: Lynn Margolis, she's the scientist who proposed the Gaia hypothesis, with James Lovelock. She's become famous for developing the most fundamental insights into the role of bacteria in our evolution and our continued survival. Her exhibit expert colleague, Lois Brynes, has offered to draft all our text and get images for the longest part of the walk spanning the first 3 billion years of bacterial evolution!

Barb: Well consultants are volunteering to help: internally, Jean Tully from PPO, and Geoff Ainscow from ICBD - I mean it's incredible!!!

Laurie: What about Sara and Joe from the Natural Step, in the US?

Barb: And Glenna Gerard, from the Dialogue Group? And Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, hosting a day for us to spend a day at their house, laying out our dreams and fears for the day... and the Lorands, and the

Sid: (interrupting) Then there's the grandson of that magnificent painter, Burian, who owns the Burian copyright. He flew all the way from the Czech Republic to share with us his deceased grandfather's art illustrating the evolution of life. He told us that we could use any of the Burian paintings for "not a penny!" And Jan Sovick, a Czech calling from Canada, to offer use of any of his own fantastic images?

Jim: Huey Johnson, California's former Secretary of Resources for California has just said he'll come and help with a workshop... According to so me of the people I've talked to, this is the first time a company the size and stature of HP has stepped out to ask the business questions in the context of what's happening to and on the earth this way...

Barb: Another reason why we have to build this Walk to be reusable - by other HP divisions, and companies, and non-profits....

Rick: Geoff Ainscow has agreed along with the Foundation for Global Community to host 50 non-profits on Thursday, so they can brainstorm their own uses for the wa lk .

Shalini: And it will be a choice for our daughters on Thursday afternoon on Take Our Daughters to Work Day....

Jason: We're doing it with kids, too, in Bristol. They're going to use all kinds of scientific equipment to measure the health of the earth.

Laurie: Well, we've finally settled on 8 workshops out of all the possibilities. Each one deepens some aspect of our experience toda y as it relates to HP for the World.

Joan: Well don't forget the other exhibits: Rick's "Plants Thru Time" exhibit;

Sid: Then there's the wildlife photography exhibit of Tom Mangelsen. The store, Natural Images of P alo Alto and Los Altos, is exhibiting Mangelsen's magnificent wildlife photographs in the Mariposa dining room for the entire week.

Shalini: and Raahkee Mistry's Book exhibit there too.

Joan: You know, we've got to stop now and get ready...

Laurie: (interrupts Joan) I have one more thing to say. This begins with Sid's dream. But the power of his dream is that it can awaken in each of us our own dreams. As I imagined this walk, just working on it, I remembered a poem from college over 20 years ago, that I hoped one day to embody. This day embodies it for me.

Sid: What poem, Laurie?

Laurie: Thanks for asking, Sid! It's by Rabindrath Tagore and it goes like this:

Joan: The stream of life that flows through our veins
           Here and now

Barb: Flows through all the world
           and dances in rhythmic measures.

Sid: It is the same life that shoots in joy
        Through the dust of the earth

Rick: In numberless blades of grass
          and breaks in tumultuous waves
          of leaves and flowers

Shalini: It is the same life
             That is rocked in the ocean cradle

Jason: Of life and death
            In ebb and in flow

Jim: Our limbs are glorified
        By this world of life
        And our pride is in the life throb of ages

Laurie: Dancing in our blood
             In this moment.

Silence for a few moments. Take a bow together. And file off the stage.

 

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