The Role of Innovation in an Engineering Career
Alyssa Sanders, Associate Director of R&D Engineering at Baxter
Ever wondered how a seventh-grade engineering camp can ignite a lifelong passion for STEM? Alyssa Sanders, Associate Director of Research and Development Engineering at Baxter, is living proof of just that.
This week's episode is a fascinating discussion about the role of innovation in an engineering career. Managing a diverse, global team of engineers, Alyssa is an expert on innovation, product development and manufacturing, and highlights the importance of understanding market needs, meticulous research, and considering manufacturing capabilities in the R&D process.
We also hear a new perspective on the very definition of innovation. Learn how engineers can do so much more than design the next big product to go to market, and discover the value of continuous improvement and never accepting things just as they are.
3 Big Takeaways from this episode:
- Engineering skills are highly transferrable and can lead to a multitude of career experiences in vastly different industries: Students: your first job out of college isn't a life sentence. Especially for engineers, there's potential for you to apply those foundational skills to any number of careers and fields you may not even know about yet. As an example, Alyssa shares how her first job after earning a biomedical engineering degree was in the automotive industry. Keep learning, keep working with cross-collaborative teams and you can build a career of unlimited experiences.
- Innovation isn't just about creating the next big product on the market; innovation is about new ways to improve processes, systems, and products: While an R&D Engineering team does spend time designing new products, they also work to improve current product designs, improve manufacturing processes, and create more efficient systems - all with the goal of making a better experience for the end user. Innovation is about continuous improvement, looking at things with a fresh perspective and never accepting things as-is just because it's how they've always been.
- Engineering on a global scale is a fascinating challenge that crosses multiple disciplines of engineering, different cultures and different ways to think about product design: Working on a global team developing products for many different geographies and markets, Alyssa has learned the value of having a diverse R&D Engineering team. Hear interesting anecdotes from Alyssa and Matt about designing products for different cultures and how thinking through challenges like these are important for today's engineering students.
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