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Some of the best-engineered ideas are born out of an individual’s ability to challenge, others’ ways of thinking. Tell me about a time when you were successful in do this.

I have many experiences that I overcome my challenges through my individual's ability. I want to know if someone else have same experiences as me. #computer-software #engineering #mechanical-engineering #civil-engineering #software-engineering #industrial-engineering

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Hyunkyu L. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

My answer is somewhat similar to Larry's. As I write this response to your question in the year 2020, the exponential growth in the use of data and data analytics can be felt in virtually every corner of society. In my case, I was faced with business partners who were not comfortable with how to use data to guide decisions. More specifically, individuals who were comfortable in being "fed" on results based on data but uncomfortable on building their own knowledgebase on the use of data to gain insights. In some instances, individuals were afraid of "coming to the wrong conclusion". To be clear, data interpretation is something that can take time to understand. I have been working in data and data analytics for many years....and I am still learning :).

Understanding the vastness of what data can bring, and how it can be misunderstood, I took on the task of creating a space where individuals could ask their questions without being judged ie "there is no such thing as a stupid question". As time and trust began to build, I could see that partners that were, at one time, fearful, gained confidence and began to ask and dig more into why things are happening and sought to find answers to their own questions...and then felt comfortable in asking for other's input.

Hope this response is helpful in your journey and best of luck to you!
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Glenn’s Answer

Most of my projects stem from others saying "you can't do that" or "it's impossible". I've developed and engineers short of a hundred solutions for the US Air Force in theater and in garrison, ranging from office-level impact to Headquarters-level (agency, organization, MAJCOM, etc). Most of these solutions started with a problem. A problem that I can observe at my level that had widespread impact across my trade. I would map the problem to an oeganizational objective and start my prototyping.. I would always ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Get my assigned work done faster and better than all others l, use slack time to prototype new programs, scripts, database designs, weapon system capabilities, etc. In hindsight, not all of them were perfect, but over the years I've gotten to the point that I can develop perfectly engineered solutions to some of the biggest impact issues. I will never be a developer because i see what constraints the devs go through to see a project to completion. They are not allowed to have pet projects. I, on the other hand, can work mine in my free time, even at home. What I come up with is quantifiable benefit to an organization with a clear training and sustainment process. Those solutions last the best. But I'll tell you what, even as recently as this year (2018), I get a lot of push back--I like to call them barriers--to my ideas. That only strengthens them. And I'm starting to see failures occur less and less. It's at the point that whenever somebody else has a great solution, they come to me to figure out how to make it a long-lasting successful one. I don't know everything and I still make mistakes but I live to overcome challenges. That is the cheese I chase.

Glenn recommends the following next steps:

Challenge the status quo, but understand what your own human motivations are. Accept others' motivations as well.
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Peter’s Answer

My most memorable challenge was not a new engineering idea. Rather my superior wanted me to leave out information in a report I prepared that stated that a project I was working on was having some serious environmental impact that no one had anticipated. I strenuously objected because this not only violated my professional engineering ethics, but was potentially illegal, as well. Others soon saw the wisdom in my standing my ground and the Superior's objection was withdrawn. Sometimes conscience, as well as an unconventional engineering approach, must stand firm when others want to find an easy way out.


Pete Sturtevant, PE

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Larry’s Answer

I once worked for an apparel company with plants in the southeast US. Many of these factories would spend a lot of labor thoroughly ironing their finished garments. Others would only touch up iron the garments. The rest would not even apply any ironing. All of these garments were then folded & stored until they were ready to fill orders from retailers.
My assignment was to come up with a standard way to iron these garments. After removing samples from factories using the 3 methods, I realized that it made no difference as they all looked the same. Management was immediately converted to accept the no ironing method based on the new data.
My advice is to use data driven proof to sell your ideas.

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