All of us have a competitive streak. Participating in a contest or a challenge to find out an innovative solution is something that inspires individuals. In a business scenario too, such an initiative acts not only as a great motivator but it also speaks volumes about the personality of an individual, who decides to jump into the fray! Sometimes, an exercise to compete when one finds the ‘deadlock’ situation throws up profound knowledge that is beyond one’s imagination.

Consider this example. GE, a front-runner in technology and innovation got a taste of success from an unexpected quarter. Today, using new technology can help in reducing the weight of an engine that in turn leads to fuel efficiency. But there was a time when the global enterprise was grappling with a problem of reducing the weight of the engine of 737 aircraft. On the surface, the engine manufacturer looked as if the team involved in the project had managed to crack the code. For, though it managed to do so by 3,000 pounds it still encountered a problem.There was a ‘weighty’ bracket that held the engine to the ring and the engineers saw no breakthrough to reduce the weight. Unable to see any solution, the company decided to experiment by announcing a $20,000 open contest using the GRAB CAD crowd sourcing platform.

Guess what? The problem got resolved not due to the academic brilliance as it was not a person with doctorate or the one with other credentials who succeeded. It took a mechanic from an Asian country to use his ‘hands-on’ experience to resolve the matter! Using his years of experience and practical knowledge, he cleverly reduced the weight of the bracket, originally weighing 3500 pounds,drastically to 384 pounds!! Now, that is a matter which is inspirational and also the approach that the Fortune 100 organization took to get out of the spot it found itself in! Raghu Krishnamoorthy, CLO at GE gives out this and other nuggets of experience in an engaging conversation with The Economist – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-GShemC6xo

Another instance is the incorporation of a ‘game’ model to make the induction experience in an organization interesting. One of the ways is to put up a process in a puzzle format. For the inductee, from a technical perspective, the completion of certain steps is what enables him/her to move to the next level. By solving them in a time-bound manner, the preparedness of the inductee to solve a problem is assessed apart from other evaluation aspects. Such a game format also challenges the curiosity quotient of the new entrant!

Business environments would do well to embrace the ‘contest and compete’ approach since such an effort would engage learners besides giving them an opportunity to be remain tuned, clued and glued to advancements in a rapidly progressing technology era.

References

3D Printing Design Quest: Redesign the Aircraft Engine Bracket

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130611-ge-challenges-makers-to-design-jet-engine-parts-3d-print-complex-components.html

GRAB CAD crowd sourcing platform

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GrabCAD

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