Desert Island Engineering

The concept of Desert Island Engineering limits the selection of materials, techniques, or quantities in a technical problem to those that would make the product commercially competitive. This limitation forces us to think harder about clear, simple solutions. If the “best” materials and equipment are at our disposal we will tend to use them. Unfortunately, the “best” materials and equipment are probably not optimized for the commercial problem.

For commercial development, experiments, designs, and developments need to be optimized to the overall “picture” of what we are trying to accomplish. I have seen it happen over and over again: given enough freedom, in a team effort, each member tries to maximize his or her task performance, ignorant of the overall impact on the project. Simple ideas quickly evolve into complex and costly schemes with the justification that it is better.

The maxim we are trying to achieve is to have each member achieve their minimum results as quickly as possible and feed it back into the overall task. For the dynamics of this project, with individual experiments being cheap and our time being expensive, we want the feedback loop to be as short as possible and done in repetitive cycles. This may sound like cheap science, but if 1% accuracy data is delivered at double the cost and we only needed 10% accuracy, we just wasted our time and money!

We must remember that the money invested in our company is not “someone else’s money”; it is our money! If we succeed, the portion of the success that goes to us will be directly proportional to our efficiency magnified.

Lets do it!
Robert G. Hockaday

  Bob using rubber tires as Solar panel mounts        
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