Thunder Thinking: How Innovation Happens at HSI
Brainstorm: The unrestrained offering of ideas or suggestions by all members of a committee in an effort to find a solution to a problem, generate a new solution or develop a new product. Here in Oklahoma, taking reference to our NBA team, I prefer to call it “Thunder Thinking.”
HSI Sensing is widely known for innovative product designs in both switches and sensors. Whether it needs to be extremely small, handle high voltage, sense steel, carry RF signals or anything else, we pride ourselves on our ability to innovate. As much as we would like it too, innovation does not happen just like magic. It takes collaboration, imagination and effort.
We periodically schedule a block of time for our Thunder Thinking Team to collaborate on new solutions to existing real-world problems. A product may already exist for a given application, but we work to develop a solution that is better, faster and more cost-effective. My 5-year-old granddaughter was coloring in a book with her grandmother (who colored outside the lines). The 5-year-old advised her, “Gammy you need to color with confidence.” The same goes with brainstorming or Thunder Thinking. We need to offer unrestrained ideas and suggestions with confidence. We know that no idea or suggestion is unworthy as it may not be the solution, but the thought thread connects us ultimately to a very viable product or process.
These teams are comprised of more than engineers. They feature employees across our manufacturing line (depending on the goals of the session). HSI Sensing has processed many initiatives to improve manufacturing and develop new equipment and products. Efficiencies across the plant have improved, and we currently have two patents pending with a third nearing submission.
Work as a Team
Leave the “ownership” mentality at the door because we are all winners when the ideas flow. The best ones are vetted and processed into potential real solutions. Then the proper staff personnel move the design initiative into the research mode to get real-world cost and/or return on investment.
Thunder Thinking is a wonderful process. It can be stormy and noisy, but when the lightning strikes and the storm has passed the result is often beautiful and refreshing.