Newsletter 42

Learning From Animals and Experience

Nature, and unusual animal abilities in particular, can inspire engineering innovation, but what exactly gets inspired by the ability of a goldfish to drive? Clearly not all innovation leadership is effective. Are cracks in systems and cultures easier to rectify than cracks in steel components, or merely a reflection of crackpots within the system? Not all cracks are problematic though. Happy reading.

Harnessing the Mechanical Strength of the Mantis Shrimp

Harnessing the Mechanical Strength of the Mantis Shrimp

Beware of antagonizing a shrimp. It might give the biggest thump you'll find, pound-for-pound of course. The fast punch comes through a four-bar mechanism, with a point of no return. Once you over-center, it's going to happen.

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ASME, October 2021


Cracks: A Fact of Life

Cracks: A Fact of Life

“Nobody can claim to have fixed a problem if they don’t know why it happened.” Welding a crack is typically not a long-term solution. “Valid permanent solutions usually involve some element of redesign.” Some cracks are just fine though.

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Rail Engineer, August 2021


Five Rules for Effective Leadership in Difficult Times

Five Rules for Effective Leadership in Difficult Times

Although the biggest disruption for 2022 is likely to still be the current pandemic, these guidelines apply in any time of uncertainty. Communication of the right vision is key. Adaptability is key, as is creativity. It looks like an effective leader needs a key ring.

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The Conversation, January 2022


Goldfish Trained to Drive Cars on Land

Goldfish Trained to Drive Cars on Land

The real engineering story is the development of drivable fish bowls. How much was led by the customer focus groups? Sometimes with a brilliant idea you just think: “How could nobody have thought of this earlier?”

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CBC, January 2022