I am a research scientist, inventor, and innovator.  

@ PARC (formerly Xerox Parc)

Mark Design Lab

In the Intelligent Systems Lab at PARC I am a research fellow and manage the TAO group. See Projects for a summary of my current and past projects.

My research at PARC has followed my passions for creativity and impact. It has ranged from design of computer languages, knowledge representation, expert systems, collaboration technology, sensemaking systems, digital rights management, user interfaces, personalized news systems, and now smarter cities and collaborative analysis.

I developed technology for several PARC spin-outs, most notably ContentGuard/Pendrell. I contributed in lesser degrees to Liveworks, UpperCase, and Inxight.  This work has led to building systems, writing papers, and creating a large growing portfolio of patents. My research and patents have led to hundreds of millions dollars in business for Xerox.

I have taken multiple tours of duty at PARC in research management — managing the Information Sciences and Technology Lab for four years, and managing research areas in knowledge systems and collaboration technology, computer security,  sensemaking technology, and now technology for agile organizations.

Invention and Innovation

Lean innovationI use design thinking, lean start-up methods, and agile approaches in innovation. The figure on the right is partly from Nordstrom Innovation Labs. It shows the flow of activities and philosophy that we use in my TAO group at PARC.

Projects start by identifying stakeholders and understanding their goals and values. This is about design thinking and involves fieldwork and creating low fidelity designs. Our goal is to get past the superficial and to probe core needs and values of stakeholders.

Success factor Stool

I like to use a 3-legged stool as a metaphor for understanding the major project success factors of user desirability, business viability, and technical feasibility. Miss any of these and a project will fail.

As we run participatory design workshops, we create higher fidelity prototypes and lean start-up methodology to test solutions with users. We iterate on solutions and pivot as needed. This is about lean start up methods.  What are the biggest remaining risks?  How can we test them quickly?

Beyond PARC

Mark StefikI also take on projects outside of PARC with clients and on subjects that interest me.

Much of my consulting practice has been as an expert witness on patent cases or on helping companies to evaluate patent portfolios. When I file invention submissions at PARC, most invention submissions lead to multiple patents. From an IP perspective, especially when I am in a whitespace  innovation area, my early patents tend to lead to very large forward citations. The figure below is from a 2004 patent evaluation report from Kenyon and Kenyon.

Forward citations



I have a gift for identifying the core of a problem to discern bottlenecks and opportunities for invention and innovation.

My recent projects have awakened my entrepreneurial instincts and are driving me to more curiosity and focus more on business thinking.


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