February 9, 2018

Colloquium Speaker: Howard Eisner


HOWARD EISNER spent 30 years in industry and 24 years in academia. In the former, he was a working engineer, manager, executive and president of two high-tech companies (Intercon Systems and the Atlantic Research Services Company). In academia, he was Professor of Engineering Management and Distinguished Research Professor in the Engineering School at The George Washington University. At GWU, he taught courses in systems engineering, technical enterprises, project management, modulation and noise and information theory. He has written seven books that relate to engineering, systems and management. He has given many lectures, tutorials and presentations to professional societies (such as INCOSE) and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). In 1994, he was given the outstanding achievement award from the GWU Engineering Alumni.




Colloquium Topic: Thinking Outside the Box, With Examples and APL-related Stories

This colloquium defines and discusses nine areas for “thinking outside the box”, as set forth in the presenter’s book on this subject. These areas are: (1) Broaden and Generalize, (2) Crossover, (3) Question Conventional Wisdom, (4) Back of the Envelope, (5) Expanding the Dimensions, (6) Obversity (7) Remove Constraints, (8) Thinking With Pictures, and (9) The Systems Approach. Several other “thinking” approaches are suggested such as lateral thinking, synectics, and team syntegrity.

Many examples of these ways of thinking are presented, from the worlds of engineering, science, business and management. These include: (1) strategic planning, (2) the integration of stovepipes, (3) measurements, (4) requirements. (5) customer interactions, (6) process re-engineering, (7) system of systems engineering, (8) the grand unified theory, (9) ways to succeed and fail, (10) iterations in building systems, (11) 2,500 percent improvements, and (12) the systems approach.