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Back to the Basics (and Into the Future)

October 13, 2011

This week I had the extreme fortune of attending the ONR Structural Metallics PI Review Meeting in Washington DC.  For completely obvious reasons, this blog won’t contain any details about the content of the presentations.  What I can say is that it was a great opportunity to interact with some extremely impressive intellectuals, most of whom have spent the majority of their adult working lives studying welding processes and material microstructures.

During these last three days, I have learned a lot.  I must admit that one thing I learned is I probably could have paid just a little more attention in my materials science classes at Ohio State.  Aside from that, I also learned how the work we do at EWI fits in with (and, in some cases, is integral to) this audience’s critical missions.  When we’re stuck into the day-to-day work, it can be easy to lose perspective.  I encourage you to take a few minutes right after you read this blog to do the following:

  1. Put down whatever it is you’re working on (assuming you’re not a heart surgeon reading this blog on your iPad during a surgical procedure).
  2. Take out a pad of paper and writing utensil.
  3. Start walking – heading in the direction of whatever “product” you make.  We all make products.  Who is your customer?  Find them, if you can.
  4. Write down what it is that your work means to them.  Ask them how little changes you could make will make their life easier.

I think this is important.  This will give you perspective.  And at the end of the day, if we have perspective about what’s important (and why), it can make us much more effective – and hopefully a little happier.