Solving puzzles at work

Skellig Blog Humans Tool Builders
As engineers, one of the main things we signed up for with the job is solving problems. We want to work on big problems… I imagine few engineers would disagree.
The best way of getting to work on and contribute to solving big problems is to solve little ones first. When you solve small problems, you become worthy of solving bigger problems.
The amazing American physicist Richard Feynman had a lot to say on the topic of solving problems.
“No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it” – Richard Feynman
As engineers I believe nothing is as important as making progress on improving the industry we work in.
Being in pharma and biotech its often important to remember how reliant people around the world are on you solving the problems in front of you… Every day, with gusto and urgency. It’s not exactly in your face every day as you show up to work but it’s real. Your work has meaning. As engineers, when we get our projects done on time people’s lives are improved and, in some cases, saved by the result.
The FDA and similar bodies often publish lists of drug shortages… Yes shortages. One of the reasons that can happen is when there is a problem manufacturing. If we solve problems we can control, then we can contribute.
Remember no problem is too small, if you can do something about it.
Think about the little or big problems in our industry. Just follow your curiosity. Look at these problems in different ways. Richard Feynman liked to think of them as unsolved puzzles. He worked very hard to first simplify the problem. He asked basic questions. For example, what’s the simplest example of the issue? How would I know when I have the solution?
Learn what works in similar industries or situations as you see it. Learn a new methodology, then see if it fits your unsolved puzzle.

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Paul O'Sullivan

Paul is an automation engineer and founder/owner at Skellig, an engineering company providing automation, process, instrumentation, and project solutions in the biotech & pharmaceutical Industries. Paul, with his team, is building Skellig to be more real, more personal, and more human.