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Tom Buzak: Keynote Speaker for ECE Awards Dinner

A Framework for Innovation, Tom Buzak

Keynote talk for the 2013 ECE Awards Dinner.

Abstract

It truly is magical—or at least mysterious—how at one moment you have "nothing", and at a later time you have something of great value—an innovative idea—bridged only by "thought." How can that be? Over the years, many people have talked about environments that encourage innovation. A great example is Thomas Edison, one of history’s most prolific inventors. It has been said that even with the invention of the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and countless other inventions, that Edison’s greatest invention was the modern research laboratory. He was the first to assemble a cross-disciplinary group of experts, machinists, draftsmen and other skilled workers under a single roof—and all focused on invention as their product. He constructed an environment for innovation. What interests me most is the question of whether it is possible, not only to create an environment that makes invention more likely, but to take the next step—and actually propel (or at least nudge) innovation forward though the use of a process.

Background

Tom Buzak is the President of Tektronix Component Solutions and a member of the Tektronix Board of Directors. Tektronix Component Solutions fulfills a critical strategic need for custom components and technology at Tektronix, and also sells components and engineering services externally. Tom’s organization also provides support for Open Innovation, Innovation Processes, Technology Roadmaps, and New Business Incubation.

Tom joined Tektronix in 1981 as a Physicist in Tektronix Laboratories. He rose to the position of Display Laboratory Director before leaving to found Technical Visions Inc., an R&D company developing flat-panel display technology for HDTV applications. After successfully running Technical Visions for 7 years, Tom rejoined Tektronix.

Tom holds a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY at Buffalo and a Master’s degree from the University of Utah, both in physics. He is credited with 50 U.S. patents, and many international patents. Tom’s most notable patent is for the Plasma Addressed Liquid Crystal (PALC) display technology that attracted $250M of investment from Sony, Phillips, and Sharp.