After Action Report:
APL’s Parsons Auditorium once again filled with systems engineers and their guests on March 19th, as Dr. Mark Maier presented “Lessons From Revolutionary Systems,” to INCOSE Chesapeake. Dr. Maier keyed on two revolutionary systems in particular – the Douglas DC-3 aircraft, and the Global Positioning System.
Maier prefaced his discussion of the DC-3 with a historical background, including a mention of the Boeing 247. When these planes were being designed in the 1930’s, Maier noted, the primary market for airline companies was federal mail delivery. Understandably, Boeing designed their 247 to be “optimal for mail delivery,” and largely succeeded in this goal. Douglas, however, focused on an alternative concept of operations for its DC-3: mass transport of human passengers. The co-evolution of technology and CONOPS not only led to the DC-3’s unprecedented success – but ultimately a societal transformation. Maier highlighted two more lessons in addition to the co-evolution: thresholding; that moderate technological improvement can have massive practical implications, and intentionally uncertain architecture; that decisions are deliberately made without specific knowledge of the thresholds. GPS is another exemplar of these three tenets, and Maier described how the convergence of transit, timation, and the Air Force played a central role in bringing the system to life.
To take a closer look at the innovation and transformation associated with revolutionary systems, view Dr. Mark Maier’s slides (link below). And don’t forget to join us next month, for a presentation on “The Architectural Roots of Large System Failures.”
Speaker: Dr. Mark W. Maier is an author and practitioner of systems architecting, the art and science of creating complex systems. He is co-author, with Dr. Eberhardt Rechtin, of The Art of Systems Architecting, Third Edition, CRC Press, the mostly widely used textbook on systems architecting. He has also authored more than 50 papers on systems engineering, architecting, and sensor analysis. Since 1998 he has been employed by The Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit corporation that operates a Federally Funded Research and Development Center with oversight responsibility for the U.S. National Security Space Program, where he holds the position of Distinguished Engineer.
Lessons From Revolutionary Systems – Slides Here!