Diversity, Innovation and Fly Your Ideas

During the latest Fly Your Ideas challenge, Airbus asked teams to consider the importance of diversity. This reflects Airbus’ own efforts to consciously build more diverse teams across the company, because more diverse teams are proven to be more innovative and collaborative.  Simply, diversity is better for business.

See what Jacqui Chan, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Airbus and Airbus Group has to say about the ‘diversity of diversity’ and the business benefit that more diverse teams deliver.

Diversity, Innovation and Fly Your Ideas

During the latest Fly Your Ideas challenge, Airbus asked teams to consider the importance of diversity. Over 3700 students from 104 countries registered to take part in 2015 with 518 teams coming from 104 countries submitting an idea and with an all-female team in the final five – the most diverse edition yet!

Before submitting their ideas and team selections for Round 1, students were reminded that all previous winning teams had a mix of gender or academic profiles amongst members. This reflects Airbus’ own efforts to consciously build more diverse teams across the company, because more diverse teams are proven to be more innovative and collaborative. Simply, diversity is better for business.

So what does diversity look like at Airbus? Jacqui Chan, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Airbus and Airbus Group, says that, “For our business to succeed, we want the best possible talent at every level in the company. Our people should represent the communities that we serve too. That means recruiting and retaining people from every background and profile.”

Throughout Fly Your Ideas, teams are encouraged to actively seek different points of view to help improve their ideas. For some, this meant choosing an Academic Mentor from a different academic background. In the case of Team Multifun, it meant working in a non-traditional way as a ‘virtual’ team as they were based in four different locations around the world. Other teams overcame language barriers and cultural differences in their efforts to refine and improve their ideas and designs for the sustainable future of aviation. 

Jacqui Chan describes how diverse thinking led to a better design for Airbus Helicopters. To develop the new H160, the company created a completely new interdisciplinary team with staff from engineering, production and support, and also drew on new techniques from the automotive industry. She calls this an example of the ‘diversity of diversity’ – and the kind of open mind-set that results in better design.

For more stories and updates on Fly Your Ideas, check our website www.airbus-fyi.com


THE FLY YOUR IDEAS AND UNESCO PARTNERSHIP

Sharing our ambition to encourage more young people to pursue careers in engineering and STEM areas, UNESCO and Airbus have been formal partners in Fly Your Ideas since 2014, and working together since 2012.

Find out more about the partnership, and see highlights from the recent gala evening honouring the 2015 Fly Your Ideas finalists here!

  • Fly Your Ideas 2015 – The Top 10

    Here’s our Fly Your Ideas 2015 Top 10 – a round up of the highlights, achievements and most memorable moments from this edition. Catch up on all the action, now!

A Truly Global Competition

For the 2015 challenge, 3721 students from 500 universities in 104 countries registered.

A Truly Global Competition

A Celebration of Diversity

One all-female team made it to the final and 2146 students from over 90 different nationalities took part in Fly Your Ideas 2015.

A Celebration of Diversity

A ‘Virtual’ Team Take The Top Prize

Team Multifun: 5 team members in 4 countries and 3 continents meet all together for the first time at the final event.

A ‘Virtual’ Team Take The Top Prize

The Video Competition

Over 15000 people voted for Team Emeals from Georgia Tech, USA, with viewers from all around the world showing them their support.  

A Distinguished International Jury

A high flying jury panel of industry professionals shared their passion for engineering and innovation.

A Distinguished International Jury

Airbus Internal Support

100+ Airbus employees’ volunteered to support Fly Your Ideas as team Mentors, Assessors and Experts. 

Airbus Internal Support

Five Impressive Finalist Teams

From 500, five teams were selected for the final stage of Fly Your Ideas.

Five Impressive Finalist Teams

A Memorable Final

We had an unforgettable experience at the Airbus’ Hamburg facility, where many people work on innovation and new technology every day.

A Memorable Final

A Celebration at UNESCO, Paris

Top academic leaders and Airbus Group delegates joined us for a night of celebration at a gala event in Paris, to celebrate Fly Your Ideas 2015 – see highlights here.

A Celebration at UNESCO, Paris

An Invaluable ‘Real World’ Experience

Students had a once in life time opportunity to innovate directly with Airbus and apply their classroom learning to real life aviation challenges.

An Invaluable ‘Real World’ Experience

The Jury’s verdict: diversity, inspiration and innovation!

Find out what impressed the Fly Your Ideas 2015 Jury, and why their global and diverse experiences were a great match for our finalists and their ideas on the future of aviation.

The Jury’s verdict: diversity, inspiration and innovation!

When our five finalist teams presented their ideas to our high flying jury panel in Hamburg, they quickly recognised that this distinguished panel certainly had relevant experience and an in-depth insight into aviation and innovation.

Charles Champion, Executive Vice President, Engineering said that, “For a global competition like Fly Your Ideas, we wanted to make sure that we brought together a jury with diverse thinking and worldwide industry experience. Everybody sitting here today has varying opinions on each of the students’ proposals; this is what makes the competition interesting.”

Representing the Front line of the aviation industry, Mark Watson, Head of Environmental Affairs, Cathay Pacific Airways was struck by the mix of ideas from the finalists. “I was extremely impressed with the quality, delivery and unique insights from the five teams. Dr. Osman Benchikh, Chief of Innovation and Capacity Building in Science and Engineering, UNESCO, underlined the diversity of the ideas. “All the projects were excellent, a mix of long and short-term thinking – and we need both.”


Rana El Chemaitelly, Founder and Managing Director of The Little Engineer, commented, “With Fly Your Ideas, we want students to tackle big problems and then become part of the solution. We’re triggering their interest in the global economy.”

Picking up on the theme of diversity, all Jury members commented favourably on the diverse make-up of the teams. Gregor Dirks, Chief Innovator at Airbus, stated that, “This was the most diverse competition that we’ve ever had. We had teams working together from all around the world, and also teams made up of students studying different subjects. The quality of the ideas was better than ever too.”

Dr. Sandra H. Magnus, Executive Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics applauded the work of all the finalist teams and noted that, “Competitions like Fly Your Ideas give students a chance to take theoretical learning and turn it into something practical. That’s when you really learn. Working effectively in a team – like you’ll do throughout your career – is such an important skill to develop. I’m delighted to be part of Fly Your Ideas, and judging by the teams that were selected for the final stage; the world is in good hands!"

The Fly Your Ideas 2015 edition was a really big success with innovative ideas from all around the world. Keep checking in on our website to catch up on the latest Fly your Ideas news and stories.


TEAM MULTIFUN AT AIRBUS INDIA

Our Fly Your Ideas 2015 winning team, Team Multifun, were invited to a special reception at Airbus India in Bangalore last month.

Former Fly Your Ideas jury member Dr. Ardhendu Pathak, VP & Head of Emerging Technologies & Concepts at Airbus, was joined by the Head of HR Airbus India as well as other Airbus India engineers and scientists. The invited guests were delighted to meet the team, and took the opportunity to ask the winners plenty of questions. 


TEAM MULTIFUN AT AIRBUS INDIA

Our Fly Your Ideas 2015 winning team, Team Multifun were honoured at a special reception at Airbus India in Bangalore last month. Team members Shashank Agrawal and Ajith Moses attended in person, along with the team’s Academic Mentor, Prof. Dineshkumar Harursampath. In true Multifun style, team members Sathiskumar Anusuya Ponnusami, Dhamotharan Veerasamy and Mohit Gupta were ‘virtual’ guests and attended via video conference from three international locations! 

Dr. Ardhendu Pathak, VP & Head of Emerging Technologies & Concepts at Airbus and Fly Your Ideas 2013 Jury member hosted the celebratory event. He was joined by the Head of HR for Airbus India as well as an invited group of other Airbus India engineers and scientists.


Subodh Keshri, Airbus India Innovation Manager and Prof. Harursampath introduced Team Multifun to the audience, and explained how each member contributed to their success in the Fly Your Ideas Final. The team’s own testimony was followed by a question-and-answer session during which the enthusiastic audience took the opportunity to quiz the Multifun students on their experience. One area of particular interest was how the five had worked together as a ‘virtual team’ across multiple continents and time zones. The students explained how careful planning and organization was key, as well as delegating clear roles for each team member.

The event ended with a congratulatory lunch honouring the student’s hard work and well deserved success.

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