Our blog is dedicated to a global discussion about the ideas, actions and technologies changing the world as we know it.
Siobhan manages philanthropy and corporate responsibility initiatives aligned with Applied Materials’ core value of making a positive social contribution in communities where the company operates and its employees work and live.
I was a bit hesitant when encouraged to interact with a gigantic, spiked, helium-filled orb. But punching and pushing the transparent balloon to, literally, leave my mark – in charcoal on the white walls, ceiling and floor of the exhibit - at the opening of the Zero1 Biennial was actually great fun!But not until the creator of the kinetic sculpture, Karina Smigla-Bobinski, explained to me that the work, named “Ada,” was actually an analog interactive installation linked to both Lord Byron and Charles Babbage did I start to see the giant globe as living at the intersection of technology and art.That is what Zero1’s “Seeking Silicon Valley” is all about. The Festival runs from September 14 through December 8 both online and at venues throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Check out the solar phone booth at Gore Park, visit the Computer History Museum to learn about Google Doodles, enjoy live performances and public art, and be sure to go meet Ada at the Garage!
In our highly-connected daily lives, the loss of a smart phone is a catastrophe. Disrupted electricity in the aftermath of a storm is a major inconvenience. And, low power warnings on a laptop can send colleagues scurrying for cords and wall sockets. Access to technology-based information is a given for most of us. But for millions of people in developing countries around the world, the ability to gather information is a challenge because of lack of electricity, high illiteracy rates, and geographic isolation. How do you get vital, relevant information to rural communities that will allow residents to improve their livelihood?
It was a sweltering 110 degrees on the roof, but that didn’t deter the Applied Materials employees who volunteered to install solar panels on two homes in a modest San Jose neighborhood recently. Gallons of water, ample sunscreen, and plenty of breaks under highly-coveted shade trees fortified the volunteers who worked alongside students from local solar job training programs.
The languages were different but the lessons learned were similar. Finding innovative solutions to complex problems requires creatively, experimentation, and teamwork. And, the process of converting a concept – as clever, timely, and intriguing as it may be – to a prototype for public display can be overwhelming. Sometimes a brilliant idea is helped by a ready supply of duct tape, late night calls to mentors, last minute tweaks to wiring systems, and a presentation that includes a bit of theatrical magic!
Recently, women from some of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley left their cleanrooms, computers, and cubes to immerse themselves in the world of art … and discovered that inspiration and creativity are traits shared across sectors, industries, and disciplines. The reps from Yahoo! Women in Tech had an amazing time as stated in a recent post.Visiting the San Jose Museum of Art exhibit by Joan Brown, guests were challenged to examine how an artist – or any innovator – grapples with the complexities of a problem. They explored the results of bold experimentation and risk-taking leadership. The art prompted conversations on authenticity, cross-cultural communication, and opportunities that bring people of diverse backgrounds together in shared experiences – at work and in the community.
We arrived in the rain and the dark. We stretched with giant glittery turkeys. Some were fast and young. Others were not. We ran, we strolled, we hobbled. But, we prevailed!On Thanksgiving morning, it was announced that Applied Materials has retained its title as the Fittest Firm at the annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot! An amazing 514 employees and their family members registered to participate in the event … pushing our numbers way beyond any other company in our category.With victory in the air, Applied representative, Mark Walker, accepted the highly coveted award from Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Dennis Cima, and vowed to return next year!
Some are serious runners; others are out for a leisurely stroll. Hundreds will be dressed in appropriately themed holiday outfits and others just can’t let go of that favorite Halloween costume. They will arrive by train, on bikes, via large parking lots, many before the break of dawn.And, all to participate in the 7th annual Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in downtown San Jose on Thanksgiving morning – an event that is fast becoming a family-oriented tradition in the community.