Aviation Week Publishes Grundman Opinion, “Rethinking Innovation”

5 February 2015 • 0 Comments

Writing in the Up Front column of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Steve Grundman observes that because “[i]nnovation is back in vogue at the Pentagon . . . the time is right to consider the propensity of the aerospace and defense industry to innovate and the aimpoints on which industry’s response to the Pentagon’s call should be targeted.” Recounting the key findings of a white paper on innovation in A&D that he had supervised at Charles River Associates, Grundman observes that “the state of innovation in A&D is not in crisis; instead, it is undergoing a transformation that requires detachment from the iconic style of aerospace’s 20th century achievements and reformation around a collection of practices better suited to the 21st century reality of customers, commerce and capital.” Accordingly, he concludes, “the contemporary problem of innovating in A&D is not primarily technical but what Harvard University’s Ron Heifetz calls an adaptive challenge, which involves organizational learning and individual change more than authoritative expertise. To be sure, inspired science and engineering will be needed to achieve 21st century innovations. Moreover, we can welcome the increased government spending on innovation-targeted R&D that was unveiled this week in the president’s budget request for fiscal 2016. Money and engineers certainly count, but what will differentiate companies confronting this adaptive challenge will be the quality of leadership to engage talent that excels at new rules of the A&D innovation game.”


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