The organizers of the 3rd International Symposium on Engineering Systems asked me to provide a brief story of my journey to engineering systems — how I came to be at this Symposium on this June evening in Delft. The idea is to stimulate your thinking and perhaps motivate you to share your stories during dinner [...]
Posts Tagged ‘Technology’
Change tends to be very difficult, but it does happen. Technology is one of the key drivers of change. Technologies enable new possibilities, such as typing this post on my iPad early Sunday morning, sipping coffee and listening to the rain. The iPad means that I can be productive any time, any place. This capability [...]
So, the game plan, according to me, is to create the future. Who is on the team? You might think, based on my last post, that the team is all engineers and scientists. But, that is not how it has worked in the past.
Regardless of the technology — steamboats to automobiles to computers — the [...]
I am a student of history, particularly economic history. Lately, I have been immersed in reading about technological innovation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Transportation was transformed from stagecoaches and steamboats to railroads, automobiles and airplanes. Electricity transformed communications from mail, telegraph and telephone to radio, television and now Internet.
In the process, [...]
A few months ago, a colleague asked me, “What if our big idea does not get approved by the powers at be?” I said, “We will start an insurgency and just do it anyway.” We are still waiting for approval, and may get it, but we are quickly progressing despite the lack of formal blessing. [...]
Much of contemporary analytics focuses on tabulating and portraying characteristics of existing systems, whether they are for energy supply, health delivery or a wide range of other complex systems. This type of analytics addresses “what is” or in many cases “what was.” This approach is backward looking, which makes a lot of sense if there [...]
I recently read John Lynch’s Simon Bolivar: A Life (Yale University Press, 2006). Bolivar played the central role in freeing six Latin American countries from Spanish colonialism. The eventual domination of his armies and his subsequent nation building destroyed the old colonial order. However, creating the new order was a much more daunting task than [...]
I am in Beijing and Shanghai for a few days. The reason for my being in China is to chair the International Review Board at Tsinghua University where we are reviewing the Department of Industrial Engineering.
The basic statistics are chilling. In the U.S., 4% of undergraduates matriculate in engineering. Of those that graduate, 12% continue [...]
Our graduate seminar on “Transforming Academia” started this week. We focused on the roots of the modern university in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and The Enlightenment. We debated the interpretation of developments in terms of transformational versus evolutionary changes.
Also of central interest were the causes of change. The plague, printing press and paper all had [...]
Invention is the creation of a new device or process. Examples include computers, software products, chemical processes, junk foods, and kitchen gadgets. Innovation is the introduction of change via something new. Cable television and video rental stores were innovations, as were overnight mail and communication via fax and the Internet. Each of these innovations took [...]