Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When industry pride and arrogance hinder ...

Occasionally, engineering specialist can be their own worst enemy. I know from first hand experience. We become arrogant in our engineering functional discipline and believe that our specialized field has the corner on cutting edge technology and product development. We discount "outsiders" and their experiences because their work is not as regulated, or not as technical, or too different than our own. For instance, aircraft companies hire only aircraft engineers. Any other engineering experiences are tacitly marginalized and not as valued. The rationalizations are limitless. 

A little over eight years ago, we began a grand experiment. We decided to mix engineering specialties in order to penetrate a large market segment. In reality, we learned each engineering discipline has valuable experiential knowledge that can benefit other industries. We found that knowledge shared across industries will spur game changing creativity for each industry. For example, we found a mix of aerospace experience with automation design developed a "leap frog" improvement for the rail industry. 

To achieve these benefits, we need to create a new environment. Each engineer need to lose their arrogance, respect other's knowledge, and seek to collectively learn from outside experiences. This will result in a blend that is better than the sum of the parts. Reese's developed a great new taste by blending peanut butter and chocolate. Similarly, we need to blend engineering ingredients. It's time to blend the best engineering knowledge from fields like aircraft, automotive, and automation to develop a more complete engineering experience we call "Mobility Engineering".

KTM Solutions has developed a blended engineering environment and it has proven effective for product and manufacturing development. This environment yields practical, innovative, and creative engineering solutions that would not have occurred with the traditional "engineering specialty silos". We are looking for others that want to join us in taking the best of these great experiences to develop a new way of thinking.

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