CAD Manager's Newsletter (#364)

24 May, 2016 By: Robert Green

Classic CAD Manager: Practice Incremental Innovation

Try this three-step process and map out a workable innovation plan that you can implement now.

Editor's note: Until Robert Green returns, we'll be revisiting a few classic CAD Manager columns and their timeless advice. This column was originally published on June 25, 2014.

I've been thinking and reading a lot about innovation, and recently something struck me: Innovation has become the buzzword du jour in the software industry, much like paradigm shift and collaboration were in the past. Innovation is now bandied about so much that the word is starting to lose its meaning.

Yet as CAD managers, it is our job to implement new work processes, technology, and tools to achieve ever better results for our companies — and isn't that what innovation is truly about? In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I argue that a purposeful program of incremental innovation is one of the best things you can do for your company — and your career. Here goes.

Radical vs. Incremental Innovation

When we hear about innovation, the implication is that big changes brought on by radical new tools or technologies are at hand. This "radical innovation" concept gets all the attention, yet if you think about it, there's no way a CAD manager can make a radical change to company processes. That type of change — such as ditching 2D CAD in favor of building information modeling (BIM) — inevitably entails the following:

  • Big costs. Radical changes in tools cost a lot of money, and therefore require extensive upper management research and support.
  • Extensive workflow changes. Radical changes in tools also cause changes in workflows that necessitate training and staff adaptation.
  • Surprise disruptions. Radical changes in workflows always spawn problems that were unforeseen, but nonetheless must be fixed. These problems can delay project execution and drive up costs. Often the magnitude of the delays and costs can't be known until the change is well under way.

The conclusion is obvious to me: No CAD manager can drive radical innovation on his or her own. Radical innovation requires total support and big investment from senior management staff!

There is a more modest process, however, that CAD managers can execute on their own. It's called incremental innovation, and it allows for smaller changes to workflows that keep risk and costs under control. Let's investigate. Read more »

:: Resources

Pluralsight, GoEngineer Partner to Expand SolidWorks Training Library
Pluralsight, a provider of online training for technology professionals, has teamed with GoEngineer, a reseller of SolidWorks, to create 50 new SOLIDWORKS courses for CAD students of all levels by the end of 2016. Along with annual pricing options, Pluralsight also offers a 10-day free trial. Until June 15, new users can sign up and receive 20% off the annual subscription fees.

Javelin Technologies Offers SolidWorks Visualize Training
Javelin Technologies, a 3D design solutions provider, is now offering training in the SolidWorks Visualize photo rendering tools that are available to every licensed user of SolidWorks Professional and Premium 2016. On May 18 and June 1, 2016, Javelin's Scott Ellery will deliver a free webinar to give users a preview of Visualize's capabilities.

:: What's New at

Femap Tips and Tricks: Model Bolt Preloads in Femap with a Solid Element Approach
With the help of NX Nastran, you can achieve a more detailed stress recovery in and around the bolt locations. Read more »

Video Tip: Line Up Text in AutoCAD
If you've ever needed to align existing text strings to a specific point or distance, then you need to check out the TextAlign command! In this video from Cadalyst and Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen, you'll see how easy and fast it is to get your text in order. Watch the video »

Indovance Predicts Global Growth in CAD Outsourcing
Sandesh Joshi believes that augmenting local teams with overseas design and engineering assistance can help businesses reach their goals — without threatening jobs. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

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