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Cultivate Innovation: What Companies, Managers, and Engineers Can Do

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In past blog posts (here and here), I discussed change in the high-tech design workplace.  Today’s blog is about innovation: the driving force for profit in this market.  Companies who deliver the newest, best-performing, most-reliable products to market are almost always the most successful.  This requires an efficient company streamlined to foster, cultivate, and encourage designers to come up with cutting-edge ideas on a daily basis. Read the rest of this entry »

When Engineers Should Embrace Change

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Every CFO would answer the question with, “When it costs less.”  Period.  End of story.  Unfortunately, when dealing with high-tech design, this is blatantly untrue.  There is a plethora of bad technical decisions awaiting every company, from untested software to unproven IP, going cheap (and thus forcing change upon your engineers) isn’t always the best way to go.

As with any real design, balance is the key.  Change is necessary.  If semiconductor designers stayed with the same software they used in the 80′s, our laptops would still be as powerful as handheld calculators.  The goal of the company should be to balance the benefits of change (improved profit margins, more advanced technology), with the associated risks (my recent post: Why Engineers Resist Change & How To Change Their Minds).  Engineers need to embrace change under the following circumstances.

1) “Be a little selfish.”

Engineers should embrace change if it provides an immediate opportunity to increase their own personal skill sets.   This applies to learning new software, new programming languages, new management techniques, and of course new design methods.

It’s true that some companies will force this upon the engineer during times of high stress, causing the engineer to burn up a lot of personal time in the process.  I would argue that it’s probably still worth it.  Bottom line, if it’s something that can be put on your resume and the company is paying for the training, you should do it.

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