HP Labs

Creativity and innovation light up HP Brazil R&D’s 2018 Spark Day

December 12, 2018

This fall saw the fourth iteration of Spark Day, a national showcase of HP innovation and creativity organized by HP Brazil R&D.

Attended by some 200 HP employees and over fifty professionals and researchers from Brazil’s wider R&D ecosystem, the late September event featured keynote presentations, workshops, a poster session, and a demo fair.  The aim was to share ideas and foster synergies across the many HP project teams that work under the HP Brazil R&D umbrella, says Alexis Cabeda, event co-organizer and program manager for external collaboration for HP R&D Brazil’s PMO (Project Management Office).

“Over the last four years, Spark Day has proven to be one of our most powerful tools for sharing the wide range of ideas generated by our R&D teams and for identifying opportunities for collaboration between different people and projects,” Cabeda notes. “Sometimes it’s important to just stop your daily work and talk with each other.”

HP Brazil R&D is a cross-company organization with members from HP Labs and R&D groups in HP’s business units. It is also closely connected with Brazil’s extensive R&D community. Indeed, the group is based at PUCRS University, a highly regarded private research university located in southern Brazil, and held its Spark Day at the PUCRS Crialab, an HP-sponsored research lab that focuses on experience design and innovation.

This year’s Spark Day was opened by José Gontijo, Director of Science, Technology and Digital Innovation in Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication. Keynotes and workshops, presented by both HP and external experts, covered topics as diverse as the future of manufacturing, experience design for IoT environments, real-time object tracking for augmented reality, Machine Learning-as-a-Service, and reinforcement learning.

HP innovation was also highlighted in a poster session featuring projects developed by 19 different HP Brazil R&D teams and a demo fair showcasing prototypes for new technologies and user experiences. A design for a real-time photo kiosk that works with the HP Sprocket photo printer won the “best prototype” award at the fair. Three HP professionals were also recognized as “Inventors of the Year” for making outstanding contributions to HP Brazil’s invention disclosure filings over the past twelve months.

“One thing that really distinguishes our work in Brazil is our emphasis on creativity.” 

Alexis Cabeda, Program Manager for external collaboration for HP R&D Brazil’s PMO (Project Management Office)

Spark Day concluded with a musical celebration in which attendees were encouraged to let their hair down and share their own musical talents. While in other geographies that might be viewed as just an opportunity for some post-event socializing, Cabeda suggests that it was also part of deliberate and specifically Brazilian approach to innovation.

“One thing that really distinguishes our work in Brazil is our emphasis on creativity,” he says. “Sometimes when you are working on a hard problem, you need an opportunity to step back from it for a little and have some fun – that’s often when you have an insight that takes you towards the answer you are looking for.”