Joined Intel in 1983 as a process engineer, Mr. Walden has experience in leading Intel’s Fab/Sort Manufacturing organization as well as acting as VP & GM of the Platform Engineering Group.
Leaders League.From wearables, wireless charging, UAV to robotics, Intel has been quite active in recent years.Where does your innovation come from?
Josh Walden. Most of the innovation initiatives at Intel come from an organization that I run called the New Technology Group (NTG), whose mission is to imagine, explore, nurture and deliver game-changing technologies and products that make amazing experiences possible. Our work includes everything from longer-term research that might sound like science fiction to many people (and it’s not uncommon for us to collaborate with academic researchers on these types of projects) to products that are selling today. Intel RealSense, the Intel Curie module and Intel technologies for wearable devices are all examples of this latter category. A lot of other innovations happen across Intel: probably the most notable is the huge innovation from our Technology and Manufacturing Group, which continues its work on Moore’s Law.
Leaders League. At Intel, how do different project teams cooperate with each other?
J. W. It depends. In some cases, there is a huge amount of cooperation and cross-pollination. For example, our Intel Labs organization spends a lot of time and effort researching technologies that can help evolve Intel’s current products. In those cases, there is a huge amount of joint work and collaboration between the researchers in Intel Labs and the engineers in the product business units. For instance, we partner with the Data Center Group to ensure they have the right technologies, accelerators and systems that continue to delight our customers. In other cases, a small team may be off by itself exploring an interesting technology or business idea. These are essentially little startups within Intel and they may operate fairly independently and, in some cases, may be secretive. An example would be that we recently had an internal venture that was exploring new technologies and business models and, while that particular venture didn’t turn into a business, it opened the door for other opportunities originally not seen. It’s fun to see how ideas evolve and can find use in different areas.
Leaders League. What do you identify as the biggest challenge during your transformation from the PC era to the new digital boom?
J. W. Intel has really smart people working in a range of areas – everything from how to build the most powerful, capable and energy-efficient chips to people with PhD’s in cultural anthropology, studying how people adopt and use all kinds of technology. The mission of my organization is to ensure that we move quickly to explore and realize new opportunities based on emerging trends and technologies. That means trying to get market quickly and iterating off of those initial offerings. That is very much the new Intel and it’s something that CEO Brian Krzanich is very keen on. Intel has the tools and resources to take advantage of new models of computing, communications and experiences which are key to move quickly.
Leaders League. What is Intel's vision for our future tech life in five years?
J. W. Intel wants to make the most amazing experiences of the future possible. Right now we’re looking at three ways to make this happen. First we want to help create a world where everything is smart and connected. You can see this happening in our Internet of Things Group as well as the technologies for wearables, sports, fashion and related markets coming from my group. Second, Intel wants to be at the forefront of adding human-like senses to devices. The Intel RealSense cameras that can see and sense the world in three dimensions are prime examples of this. Intel RealSense technology is being added to PCs, tablets, UAVs, robots and more. Finally, we see the cloud playing a huge role in processing, storing and making use of all the data generated by smart connected devices and by devices that sense the world like humans. Now, all of that said, if I see an interesting opportunity that isn’t part of these categories, I will pursue it immediately. The structure of my organization – which is multi-faceted – can change very quickly, depending on the opportunity.
Jeanne Yizhen Yin