Techno-Spiritual Practices and New Technologies of Enlightenment (A UbiComp 2006 Postscript)
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John Shen: New Head of Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto

John Shen, former DIrector of the Micro-architecture Lab at Intel, became the new head of Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto, on Friday.  John comes to NRCPA after 6.5 years at Intel, and 18 years before that as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. In his welcome welcoming remarks, John stressed his intention to cultivate a culture of risk-taking and innovation, embrace the lab's mission of renewal and redefinition, and achieve a balance between research reach and recognizable relevance to Nokia's business groups. 

I particularly liked John's allusion to the convergence between computing and communicating devices in characterizing his move from Intel to Nokia: it is increasingly possible to insert a phone capability into a laptop, but the prospects for inserting computing capabilities into phones are even more exciting.

John's arrival capped a busy week for me. I just started my new job as Principal Scientist (or, as Anne so nicely, if inadvertantly put it, Principle Scientist) at NRCPA on Monday, attended UbiComp 2006 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and returned to NRCPA for my second day on Friday. With John's arrival, I suppose I'm no longer the "new kid on the block" ... nor the only Intel alumnus. I had been a bit concerned about joining NRCPA before the new head was announced, but I really wanted to take advantage of the timing of UbiComp 2006, both to reconnect with my colleagues in the ubiquitous computing research community and to help spread the word that there is an exciting and ambitious new technology research lab in the heart of Silicon Valley.  I'm glad I took the risk: UbiComp was all I hoped for (and more), and I am confident that John will provide strong chaordic leadership in growing a research culture that seeks to foster emergent and participatory leadership -- what might even be characterized as a dance of leadership -- across all stakeholders of the organization.

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