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The latest in Systems Thinking and Project Management

Title image for IEEE SoSE Paris - Our Take-Away

IEEE SoSE Paris - Our Take-Away

Paris was, indeed, a good idea.

By Raphy Mendoza, 3/7/2018

SoSE in Paris: Our Take-Away

This year, we were proud sponsors of System of Systems Engineering conference. The theme this year was “Systems of Systems Management and Control: Frontiers between Cyber, Physical and Social Systems.” The event featured 83 presentations about current and emergent Systems Engineering topics to include data driven engineering, systems thinking in various industries from healthcare and railway management.

It was a great event and we came home with a few unique insights that we’d like to share with you. So, without further ado, here they are.

CUSTOMER-DRIVEN INNOVATION

A common thread throughout each of the presentations was innovation focused on customer-centric benefits: what do our customers need and how can we innovate products, services and systems that address those requirements?

From the 50+ conversations we had with attendees and presenters alike, that end-user driven problem solving is of paramount importance is obvious. This means that delivering innovative products is in high demand. Innovation attracts complexity in systems, which in turn means that systems thinkers and engineers who can navigate and manage those systems are in demand.

That means you, systems engineers and thinkers alike, are in demand. As it happens… our courses are designed to optimise your skills so that you can be an efficient and effective systems thinker, equipped to take on leading roles in complex system developments – regardless of your industrial domain.

EDUCATION

We were met with some surprise by people representing universities, because we’re a training company that isn’t structurally affiliated with a university (although we have some partners such as Hochschule Luzern).

Universities are indispensable. Before you can effectively break rules to create innovative products or integrate systems thinking into existing paradigms, you need a solid understanding of the underlying principles. There is no replacement for a university education as far as this is concerned.

On the other hand, our courses are led by professional experts predominantly working in their fields. What they offer is a contemporary and experiential understanding of the challenges and opportunities that are emergent in their industry, and thus pragmatic solutions for implementing systems solutions within it.

Furthermore, the vast range of backgrounds and expertise within our team of presenters means that you can choose a combination of courses that’s truly tailored to the needs of your role and industry. As a systems engineer, your day-to-day life is interdisciplinary. You are in close liaison with project managers, design and development engineers, verification and validation engineers and quality assurance management. This means that to effectively optimise your skills, you need a holistic overview of the systems process, and a little know-how on how those other departments function. We can help you with that.

Course Map

We see the continual professional development training we offer as complementary to the higher educational infrastructure in Switzerland and Europe. As such, we have partnered with Hochschule Luzern to deliver a One-Year Post-graduate Certificate of Advanced Learning in Systems Engineering.

You can read more about that here.

INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRY AND DIVERSITY

The great thing about Switzerland, particularly Zürich, is that it’s an international city. There are lots of people here from all over the world. This fosters diversity, which in turn fosters creativity and innovative solutions.

People from different cultures, educational background have different ways of seeing and thinking about a problem. Get them all working together, and you can quickly create highly effective solutions. Pitfalls you’re blind to can be identified by someone else from a great distance away, ultimately because they’re not you. So, you waste less time trialling a product or concept just for it to fail on a factor you didn’t account for.

We believe this is crucial.

Many of our conversations with attendees was about the difference in working and thinking cultures in various countries; USA, UK, France… Switzerland. Conferences are an excellent opportunity not just to network and meet new people, but to really understand the vast diversity that exists in multi-national industries.

We viewed many students’ presentations. We believe it’s important to hear from the younger emerging engineers among us, because they have an astute awareness of a different generation and a different world. Therefore, they can see opportunities and challenges that might otherwise be missed. As well, it was brilliant to see competent young women presenting their work. We’ve already talked about diversity, right? Increasing diversity in project teams is a clear application of systems thinking, for by increasing the range and number of unique perspectives, we are more likely to fully understand problems. In this case, we see it applied in an engineering context. But, more broadly, the concept is applicable to any problem: sociological, economical etc. Therefore, diversity is essential to be able to realise significantly more effective solutions.

So, there we are. The conference brought together so many people we found inspiring, and it’s great to know that the industry is alive with new ideas and creative spirit.

Now, about those courses… where can we take you?

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