Innovation and Collaboration In Spite of Adversity
We spoke with the Development Manager Brian Bullas to learn what drives the AERIUM Dream Team towards innovation.
In the past year, we have achieved a lot as a company – what do you consider to be 3 major innovative milestones that your team has achieved?
I think that the development of our Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection and Runway Imagery Software were two significant milestones our team has achieved.
The image-based, working and fully automated runway markings analysis allows us to figure out what type and what kind of runway markings are on the asphalt and an algorithm allows us to provide an in-depth analysis of all necessary measurements and ensure compliancy with current rules.
Internationally, FOD costs the aviation industry US$13 billion per year in direct plus indirect costs and can create significant flight delays and cancellations, as well as general schedule disruptions. FOD Detection software use will lead to a reduction in these costs.
What kind of impact will these achievements have on the lives of everyday/regular Canadians? When/where will they notice the most impact?
It will make it safer for airplanes to land and take off, keeping passengers safe. Since FOD detection is applied through drone technology, it will also keep the airport operations crew safe as they perform runway inspections. The inspections can be done more frequently whilst reducing the runway downtime.
In the future, there is potential to introduce this technology in other areas and environments, making our lives safer and more efficient.
As a team leader and project manager, how do you create an environment conducive to creativity, innovation and collaboration?
We make work fun by talking about unicorns and drinking unicorn juice (coffee), making meetings fun by incorporating haikus, gifs and memes, and hosting regular team building events such as online board games and trivia. Additionally, no one has sole responsibility over anything, and no one is on their own. Everything is achieved as a team – working in an Agile environment which creates plenty of opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
With work-from-home and remote-office being the norm, what kind of impact has it had on innovation within your team? What are the challenges you and your team have faced and how did you overcome them?
Of course, there was a bit of an adjustment period in the beginning, but we’ve incorporated digital tools such as OneNote, Teams, Visual Studio to make collaboration and communication easier. Now, most of the team prefers the work-from-home structure, finding that it’s easier to focus and get some space when needed. While there is still a social aspect that is missed from the office model, we’ve been combatting that by hosting morning decompression meetings.
From vision to realization: How do you empower your team to accomplish goals and bring the innovative ideas to life?
We call ourselves the dream team. Just like everyone is working and collaborating as a team towards the same goal, when it comes to decision making, everyone is included. The team is encouraged to explore ideas and there’s no such thing as failure, just learning. Everyone gets sufficient time and resources when they want to try out new methods.