David Paranchych: Opportunistic Invention
David Paranchych has a knack for using technical skills to create innovative solutions, so it’s no surprise he found his way to Intellectual Ventures as an engineer, and of course, an inventor. His belief in creativity is simple and straightforward: creativity helps us improve and understand our world a little bit better. Driven to create new things from a young age, he was inspired by his uncle to delve into the field of invention. His journey to IV is unique, and his plans to foster innovation in the future are nothing short of inspiring.
What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation is the process of moving technology forward. It can be a brilliant single insight that fundamentally changes the way something is done, or it can be a thousand small improvements that together make a big difference. It’s the gradual process of making the world better, bit by bit.
What kind of inventor are you?
I would say I’m an opportunistic inventor — it’s something I enjoy doing, but I need time set aside to work on it. I look for projects in technical areas that might have a space for me to contribute new innovations.
What do you do and how did you get involved with IV?
My technical background is in the area of cellular wireless communications. For 10 years I worked at a communications technology company, first working to analyze and improve the performance of base station controller products, and then representing the company in various wireless cellular standards organizations. I got a call from an IV recruiter in early 2008 and was excited by the idea and the people behind the company.
What have you invented and what was the process of developing your ideas?
One of the things I invented was an algorithm for adjusting base station transmitter power levels for the channels over which packet data is sent in early CDMA cellular networks. It was an invention born of necessity, like so many are. I started with some ideas of what seemed to make the most logical sense, and then tested the algorithms with computer simulations. When I reached an algorithm and a set of parameters that performed well, I wrote it up and worked with the product developers until eventually it became part of CDMA infrastructure product.
What’s your invention process?
Although every invention is unique and follows a different path, I find the basic process begins with a flash of insight that there is a possibility for an improvement in an area I’m working on or thinking about. And then the rest is all the hard work — discussing my ideas with co-inventors to clarify the details, experimenting, trying simulations and building prototypes, and then refining the ideas until it seems complete enough to call finished.
What inspires you to create something new?
Inspiration comes as a natural outcome of trying to understand how things work, especially new products or technologies that I’m working on as part of my regular job. I think it’s similar to hearing a great new song on the radio and wanting to hear it again and again to absorb what’s new and exciting about it.
Who inspired you to become an inventor?
My uncle was a university professor, and I had a couple of mentors in my undergraduate engineering days that inspired me to want to work among inventors and to be one myself. Then when I started working in communications technology, I was in a group that was actively inventing, which gave me an opportunity to learn how the process worked and to benefit from working alongside people who knew what they were doing.
How do you keep motivated through the long process of bringing an invention to the market?
Generally I have not been the one doing the hard work to bring products to market, but rather have done inventing at the system level, which then gets incorporated by product developers later down the line. By the time the technology space I invented in has come to market, I have long since moved on to the next generation! In the one case where I was involved in shepherding one of my inventions through the product development process, I actually found it was easy to stay motivated, since it is very rewarding to see your idea realized in an actual product.
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