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Wannabe Innovator – Part 2

October 1, 2010

When last we left the story, I had just exposed myself (figuratively… come on now…) by sharing an “invention” idea to one of our engineers on how to redesign the technology he patented.  After my excited pitch, his first words were “that’s pretty interesting”.

So I’m thinking, ‘interesting’?

‘Interesting’ like when my 9 year old daughter takes the time to explain to me why she needs a cell phone and I say, “hmmm… that’s ‘interesting’.”

But sensing he actually thought the idea was intriguing, I went on to explain all the other reasons I thought the idea had merit (novel concept, strong business case, etc.), even suggesting the structural integrity benefits of the proposed process (don’t worry… NOTHING will ever get out the door at EWI based upon the CFO’s concept of structural integrity).  Matt added some comments and additional thoughts.  I hung up the phone and was thinking we may really be on to something.

I’ll pause here to stress the point we.  Now it’s clearly not typical that an accountant is coming up with technical engineering ideas.  But what is typical working at EWI is the benefit of having a group of creative people motivated to solve real-world engineering challenges.  The fact that I could talk with the guy who’s name is on the patent that, oh by the way, is being mentored by the guy who helped invent the technology… That’s a pretty nice thing.  The fact that I could discuss alternative ways of solving the same industry challenge with experts in “competing” joining technologies who sit two rows over is an amazing benefit.  The fact that the CFO (or any member company for that matter) can explore something like this with EWI associates is really very, very cool.