Tell me about your problems...
No, no - not those kind of problems - I’m no psychotherapist, although there have been times in the past when that skillset would have been useful. Obviously never at Inzpire though.
The kind of problems I’m talking about here are those which stop an airborne mission being achieved in a safe and effective way. Solving these kind of problems is what Inzpire’s products team does. Whether the problem is associated with performance, time or cost - or more typically all of these factors - Inzpire has a proven track record in delivering solutions. At the heart of these solutions lies our research and development effort but, in common with many aspects of life at Inzpire, we tend not to follow convention.
At Inzpire, research and development is not something that happens in a darkened room in isolation from reality. Our research and development efforts are highly focussed, are usually a response to a real world problem and are designed to be moved rapidly into production. Examples of our research and development activities include:
The research and development carried out by Inzpire's mission support specialists has led to GECO being one of the most intuitive mission planners available today
So, what are the ingredients for successful research and development? We think there are three.
First, a clearly defined objective is required…what problem are we trying to solve? If we can’t figure out what the problem is, the solution is going to be tricky.
Second, is resource - research and development cannot be undertaken as a ‘side-project’ or by an individual. Sufficient resource across a range of technical disciplines is required. It’s often tempting to task talented individuals to try to solve problems alone. This is great in the short term, but can be problematic come the move to production. Without early involvement of disciplines such as safety, security and those responsible for product sign-off it can be difficult to capitalise on all that great early work.
Finally, patience is required. Lots of patience. Making new stuff is tricky and risky and, guess what, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Whilst I trumpeted some of our successes earlier, I have to admit that there has been the odd failure along the way. But that’s fine - patience is part of Inzpire's wider culture where it’s ok to fail and ok to take longer than planned…making new stuff is tricky.
As for what’s next…who knows. I’m not smart enough to be able to predict what our next big thing will be. I know some of the problems that are out there and I can help to generate the environment and support a working culture that may solve them, but I leave the really tricky stuff to our experts. We’ve got some interesting thoughts on the possibilities of automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning in the air environment…and so has our safety team! I’m sure we’ll find a way through that little conundrum.
So, these are some of my thoughts on research and development…Inzpire style. I welcome your thoughts, challenges and wisdom. Oh, and if there are any psychotherapists reading, I’m sure you can help too!
This blog is written by Jonny Smith, who leads Inzpire's Products Operational Business Unit. You can find out more about Jonny here.
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