Aerospace Giant Leverages Collective Knowledge & Creativity to Power Innovation Engine
The challenges facing the aerospace industry are many: globalization, industry consolidation, increasing regulation, and a continuous battle to preserve margins. At the same time, aerospace companies must deliver competitively differentiated, complex platforms and systems to an ever-demanding set of customers.
On top of that, more than 50 percent of the engineers and scientists in the aerospace industry are fast-becoming eligible for retirement. With decades of experience in systems engineering and systems integration, root cause analysis and failure investigation at risk of walking out the door and being forever lost, aerospace companies are scrambling to establish processes and tools for harnessing and leveraging their tremendous knowledge capital.
Generating new ideas and solutions are the lifeblood of industry. Yet, what sets successful companies apart is their ability to generate and execute on great ideas – faster. Key to doing so is the ability to harness internal and external technical knowledge and then leverage this knowhow to derive new ideas and concepts.
To address their company’s engineering and knowledge retention challenges, a Fortune 500 aerospace company turned to Goldfire, the optimal decision engine.
Recognizing that knowledge management and innovation are two intrinsically linked disciplines, the aerospace giant understood they could more effectively execute their innovation activities of today by leveraging the collective knowledge and creativity across its thousands of employees.
Spearheading the effort is the company’s Chief Knowledge Officer, chartered with the strategic planning and implementation of Knowledge Management processes and innovation tools across the organization.
As part of this initiative, a team of engineers and scientists implemented Invention Machine's Goldfire as a key component of the company’s innovation and Knowledge Management Program. Goldfire is an enterprise software platform fusing proven ideation and problem-solving methodologies with precise access to corporate and external knowledge. The software automates and facilitates knowledge capture and reuse, enabling engineers and scientists to stimulate creative idea generation to drive breakthrough problem-solving.
With Goldfire, the aerospace company’s scientists are empowered to leverage and build on the experience of their historic space exploration programs which includes hundreds of thousands of documents such as materials, engine performance data, and ground support equipment inventory.
What’s more, Goldfire enables the aerospace manufacturer’s scientists to collaboratively define problem and opportunity areas in a common language and delivers a structured process for inventive problem-solving and concept-generation—critical in aerospace platforms and systems that often comprise interacting subsystems that independently and collectively must satisfy a complex set of performance requirements.
To date, Goldfire has been used in dozens of workshops across the company, generating ideas and solutions for numerous products and projects including two high profile rocket engine initiatives. These rocket engines are complex systems comprised of several major components each of which is made up of countless sub-components. Using Goldfire, the manufacturer’s scientists and product teams were able to generate more ideas and to translate these ideas into products.
In addition to fueling the product pipeline with competitively differentiated products, Goldfire has also delivered significant cost savings to the aerospace giant. Within one year of implementing its Innovation and Knowledge Management program—in which Goldfire played a significant role—the company reported an impressive 10-fold return on investment through cost savings efforts.
The program continues to pay back huge dividends while the
aerospace manufacturer regularly benchmarks and refocuses its Innovation and Knowledge Management Program to ensure its future success.