Innovation Backstage Pass

Team reviewing written plans on a board
July 11, 2022 Xperi

Get a glimpse of the innovations that are happening at Xperi with Mark Johnson, senior vice president of product development.

The word “innovation” is very broad. What does it mean when we use it at Xperi?
Innovation, in general terms, means introducing something new or different. In business, that can refer to unique products or technologies coming to market, but it can also refer to new business models, workflows or processes that allow a business to grow and succeed. At Xperi, all of this counts, though our business inherently centers around technology-led innovations that drive extraordinary experiences around the globe.

Why is innovation important to Xperi?
Innovation at Xperi is key to our company’s ability to sustain long-term strategic advantage. The markets we operate in, ranging from automotive to consumer electronics to Pay-TV, are highly competitive and evolve quickly. Therefore, it is imperative that we proactively seek new, unique and different solutions that help us maintain relevance in these rapidly shifting markets. Technology moves so quickly that a given product will quickly become obsolete if we are not proactively seeking ways to improve or expand on it.

However, it’s not just about the technology. Much of our traditional business has been focused on licensed technologies that directly generate revenue through those licenses. The nature of that market is changing and directly licensing technology is not as profitable as it used to be, particularly as many of our own customers are becoming competitors, developing their own in-house solutions. A principal challenge for Xperi today is to find ways that our extraordinary technologies can add value to new business models based on services.

What is being done in Xperi to facilitate innovation?
Last year, a task force was formed with the mission of assessing, prioritizing and resourcing long-term innovation initiatives. This group is composed of representatives from most of the major business units, each bringing unique perspectives and experience with implementing innovation.

We also formed a new product development & standards team, which I currently lead. We take the concepts from the innovation task force and do the necessary market research and investigation to assess the concepts working closely with product and technical leads and various other teams. We take the lead on developing cross-market concepts.

What are some of the most common misconceptions about innovation at Xperi?
There may be an assumption that innovation solely occurs with our Research & Development groups and that it occurs at a large scale (i.e., millions of dollars of investment). In fact, meaningful innovation can occur at any level of scale and anywhere within the organization. It’s important to recognize that the success or failure of a product can often pivot on seemingly small differences that best address our customer’s needs.

Can you explain what “short-term” and “long-term” innovation mean and how they’re different?
Similar to the issue of scale, innovation can also be subdivided based on the time required to bring a particular innovation about. This is often, but not always related to scale simply because larger innovations tend to be more complex and require more investment in time and resources. Such long-term innovation requires a more systematic approach to assessing and prioritizing ideas because there is usually more at risk should the innovation not prove successful. Short-term innovation, on the other hand, can typically be adopted quickly because there is often less risk involved in doing so.