Nurturing creative talents in the electronics industry

31st July 2023
Harry Fowle

As the electronics industry continues to modernise, creative minds are becoming increasingly able to express themselves within their fields.

To enforce this, however, the industry must continue to streamline its processes to not only improve productivity and efficiency but also nurture these creative minds.

To explore these ideas, Electronic Specifier spoke with Tobias Pohl, Co-founder & CEO of CELUS, to learn more about why streamlining processes, nurturing creative talents, and modernising the industry is integral to growing individuals, businesses, and the overall industry.

The importance of streamlining processes

At its core, streamlining a process is designed to get the task in question done in a more efficient and effective manner, freeing up time to be utilised elsewhere, this is precisely what Pohl believes should happen more within the electronics industry. “Whether you’re a one-man show or an organisation with thousands of engineers and designers, the process is important.” As much as many in the industry would love for processes to be set out in a lovely “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 system,” the reality is never as simple and streamlining must factor in this. Sometimes a schematic might be great on paper, but when it comes to creation, you might find yourself taking two steps back before you can take another forward. For Pohl, this is what needs to be addressed through “utilising the mess” that comes with the various processes. By capturing some of “the iterative nature” of the electronic component design process and tailoring the system to connect the various stages of design rather than treating them as strict separate fields, a more streamlined and creativity-enabling design process can be created, explains Pohl.

“Having measures in place that can automate some of the more mundane processes at various stages to give you some time back will instantly allow more engineers and designers to be freer to create,” says Pohl. “The more you invest beforehand, the better the end result.” Fundamentally, Pohl believes that engineers should be allowed to be as creative as possible, “allow for some ambiguity, allow for some unknown in the process again.”

“The more rigorous and structured a process is, the harder it becomes to innovate. Innovation is never structured, it is random by nature,” expressed Pohl. “By making the process have more support, more agile flow, we can make small adjustments much easier and go back and forth through the various steps freely.” This in turn will give time back that can be used to explore better outcomes or completely different innovative products.

Pohl also raised the point that this more streamlined system would allow for a much better environment for junior engineers/designers to flourish, being more able to explore their ideas and pick up skills from the more experienced fellows around them.

In order to streamline processes, one must first look internally, identifying what works for them, what doesn’t, and what could be – this applies or the individual or organisational level. In the space that Pohl and CELUS are working, its all about building a tool that can bridge the gap between the different stages of the electronics design process to make it far easier in the long run. “If you’re wanting to increase the iterative flow between components selection and schematics, having a tool that connects them into a unified stage with the design in mind makes your life a lot easier,” examples Pohl.

When it comes to streamlining, “you never want to see people bounce against your workflow, but a clear path only works once it is tried and tested in the field,” says Pohl. Anything that works to make that flow simpler and easier to navigate will allow you to optimise and improve.

Unlocking potential

There are multiple different ways you can go about streamlining, do you simply want to maximise results, or would you rather free minds to innovate and get creative? Streamlining processes in the manners discussed can create an environment that allows you to extract the most from a worker, but is this the best case? For Pohl, this is a “result-oriented mindset, rather than an explorative one,” which certainly has its place but is something he feels is too close-minded. “You want to make everyone you have as creative as possible because that is what you hired them for. I think it’s always sad if you have people sitting there doing exactly what they’re told and just getting targets done – you’ve lost their ideas,” he says. There’s very little to be lost from sharing ideas, even bad ones, however, that one-in-a-hundred good idea makes it all worthwhile. As Pohl puts it, “If you’ve bogged down 90% of your room for ideas, then you’ve bogged down 90% of all the good ideas that may have come from that.” This isn’t just good for the individuals, who get to flex their creative minds, but also from an organisational/business standpoint can be quite fruitful in the long-term.

Concluding thoughts

In the rapidly evolving electronics industry, nurturing creative talents is a crucial aspect that must not be overlooked. The process of streamlining plays a significant role in enabling these creative minds to flourish. Tobias Pohl, Co-founder & CEO of CELUS, emphasises the importance of allowing engineers and designers to explore their ideas and be as creative as possible. While streamlining processes for efficiency is essential, it should not stifle innovation. Embracing a more agile and supportive workflow will empower individuals to make small adjustments and explore better outcomes freely. Moreover, a streamlined system creates an environment where junior engineers and designers can thrive, learning from experienced colleagues and contributing their fresh perspectives.

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