MRO Innovate London 2017 – Innovation yes, but how?

“Five emerging technology companies have established a collaborative relationship to provide innovative solutions within the MRO industry.”
This is the first line of an article about MRO Innovate. During the RSVP event, which took place last Monday (2nd of October) in London, around 30 attendees were inspired by and discussed today’s innovations.

The event was the start of a week filled with MRO events during which the talk on innovation continued at MRO Europe.

During their presentation at MRO Innovate 8Tree mentioned the definition of innovation. Let’s get on the same page when it comes to this “charged” word.

Innovate – ˈɪnəveɪt verb
“make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.”

Making changes in a market stuck in reliability, air worthiness and strict procedures is exactly where most problems start. The question is not if the industry needs to innovate/change but HOW?

We all know the saying: “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” What do you think, is innovation really an elephant? Why is it that we see an elephant and not a mouse when it comes to innovation? And why do we always seem to mention the bears on the road and make the challenge bigger instead of smaller? Surely it must be some form of fear that leads towards this behaviour?

So, back to the initial question. How can corporates start innovation today?
In my opinion the biggest opportunities lie in the collaborations between start-ups and corporates. Of course I see challenges there as well. So, here’s some thoughts on how to break down collaboration.

1.    Break down goals

If a solution is not meeting goals it is not a solution. So, before collaborating

make sure you have exactly the same idea on your solution’s business goals. A process that takes time but is worthwhile. Goals could also mean ownership or intellectual property of the solution.

2.    Agility

Don’t try to build a castle in one day. Prioritise your goals and break them down into smaller “sub-goals” that are feasible within 2 weeks. If goals are too big to achieve within 2

weeks, break them down again. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t achieve your goal or that your goal needs adjustment. However, as you are working towards smaller goals, you can move on quickly without having to completely breakdown your complete castle.

3.    Start-up mentality

People who work in a start-up are generally flexible, focussed and dedicated. This will result in three benefits that will generate a true feeling of collaboration.

  1. Fail fast: Working in 2-week sprints means that you will quickly discover what works and what doesn’t. This is especially important in an innovative approach since the way of the technology is not paved yet.
  2. Embrace change: Start-ups face changes all the time and are used to adaptingquickly and moving in any direction as long ……
  3. ….. As it is Business case driven. As their existence depends on it, start-ups take being responsibe for and achieving their goals very seriously.

“Start-ups create 80 procent of all innovations” says KLM

So, working with start-ups is a huge opportunity as long as both parties respect each other. Respect means taking each other seriously, not stealing each other’s ideas and recognizing the source and being aware of the fact that humans are working on business goals. All this seems like common sense but unfortunately our own experiences have thought us that this is not always the case for everyone.

On this note, I would like to wrap up with a suggestion for Aviation Week. Would it be cool to create an event where airlines and MRO companies hear success stories about working with innovations and start-ups.  It would be like a breath of fresh air! ?

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