When our Fly Your Ideas 2017 top five teams arrived in Toulouse, France last May, Alvaro Jara Rodelgo joined a team of fellow Airbus experts to welcome the students to ProtoSpace, where they were introduced to the cutting-edge resources and tools available in this dedicated innovation facility. During this intense final phase of the competition, he worked closely with Team Nevada from Obafemi Awolowo University on their idea for an automated taxiing system for aircraft, helping them develop their idea as fully as possible before the final live presentations.
This was a natural role for Alvaro, who is Head of ProtoSpace in Getafe, Spain. Explaining his day-to-day job, he says that, “I like to say that people enter ProtoSpace with dreams, challenges and problems and my job is to ensure that they leave with a solution! I do not accept that we cannot do it; everything is possible if you are willing to make it happen… the most wonderful thing is to realise that you can make your idea fly!”
So how does Airbus’ network of ProtoSpace facilities work? He explains, “ProtoSpace is dedicated to facilitating innovation and to helping ideas take shape. It is open to all employees and its main objective is to provide a broad range of means and tools to foster innovation, enabling Airbus to become more agile through collaborative work and rapid prototyping.”
For Fly Your Ideas finalists, getting the chance to innovate in this hands-on environment, supported by experts like Alvaro, was an eye-opening experience and a chance to truly understand how large companies like Airbus create and adapt new ideas and technology in the search for better ways to fly. And for Airbus employees who support the competition – over 400 to date – the chance to work with the next generation of student innovators is rewarding too.
Reflecting on the experience of working with Fly Your Ideas students, Alvaro says that, “To see their proactivity, motivation and creativity made me realise that we too can learn from these new and bright minds! It’s definitely a learning opportunity for both sides.” Finally, what advice would he offer someone who wants to work at Airbus? He says that above all it’s important to be curious, and to have a passion for everything that you do. “Success is a consequence of right actions and behaviours. You cannot look for success, success will find you. Explore your world, go outside and discover it.”
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