It is well-known that most academies across the world are less than 20% female, similarly on industry. Every MRS Meeting we have the Women in Materials Science & Engineering Breakfast, one of the initiatives by Members Engagement towards the increase of women in MSE.
This MRS Spring 2016 Meeting Dr Dianne Chong, Boeing's Engineering Operations and Technology, explored what is a real "innovation" (from Latin: innovo + -atio). "To innovate means to renew", which is mandatory for the success of any business in terms of economic growth, customer needs, global/societal needs, and to attract investors, employees and customers.
According to Dr Chong, "If your cool new thing doesn't generate enough money to cover costs and make a profit, it isn't innovation...it's art".
How to do things better than they are? How think things different? How to manage innovation when you have so much diversity?
Dr Chong mentioned that is is estimated that we will experience 200 times more technical progress in the 21st century than we did in the 20th century. She suggests that a successful innovation should consider the product, the process and the business model. That includes materials, parts fabrication, system level of integration, final integration and post-delivery. For that, she suggests: new approaches/perspectives, people engagement, filter of ideas, ways to facilitate people to be listened, team and not solo work.
As she further explained, for a successful innovation one should consider the paradoxes of innovation wherein a balance of conflicting objectives are urged, such as:
Examples of such: to create new products and keep some features, or to be relentless curious and risk taker with deadline/budget constrains. According to Dr Chong, it is necessary for organizations to create the process and culture that allow the necessary competing objectives to coexist, and create processes/metrics that stimulate both creative ideas and their transition into value creation.When Dr Chong was asked by one of the participants "from the education point of view, how to prepare the new professionals to be successful innovators?, she considered the following two aspects necessary: to train the future professionals to be flexible, and to have good judgement.