FlexTech Alliance recently awarded its inaugural Industry Leadership award to Dan Gamota, Ph.D., Jabil’s Vice President of Strategic Capabilities, for his outstanding dedication to driving awareness of advanced flexible hybrid and printed electronics. This distinct honor spotlights an individual who has demonstrated commitment to building awareness around the advanced flexible and printed electronics sector. "I was honored and humbled when I received the FlexTech Alliance Industry Leadership Award,” said Dan. “I have been fortunate to collaborate with teams of thought leaders in the emerging field of Flexible Hybrid Electronics across the world in various standards and roadmapping organizations.”
Dan is a recognized thought leader in the fields of manufacturing, microelectronics, nanotechnology and flexible electronics, for which he was named an IEEE Fellow. His work has positioned Jabil as a thought leader with strategic capabilities that align closely with it’s customers in markets such as healthcare, industrial, packaging, and defense. With 47 U.S. patents to his name, Gamota is an established innovator who understands what it takes to move an industry forward.
Heidi Hoffman, Managing Director at FlexTech Alliance,
presents Dan Gamota with the FlexTech Alliance Leadership Award.
In manufacturing, a digital transformation means solving customer challenges in new and novel ways. Emerging technologies will inevitably improve quality, speed and efficiency. But, to truly succeed with digital transformation, an organization must start with leadership.
George Westerman, Author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, emphasizes the need for a people oriented approach: “Digital transformation requires changes to processes and thinking—changes that span your internal organizational silos. The clear delineation between technical skills and leadership skills is blurring fast.”
Dan’s leadership within the industry includes visionary team development and preparing the next generation of engineers with the collaborative tools required for a successful digital transformation.
For example, 18 months ago Dan and his team instituted a new project designed to leverage the wisdom of the crowd. By tapping into the collective mindshare of Jabil’s 2,000 engineers, these ideas add value by solving some of the company's biggest engineering challenges. The process is straightforward. The results are anything but.
Dan starts by challenging his team to come up with new ways of solving a tough engineering challenge — one that may have a huge number of possible solutions. Once the challenge is disseminated to the engineering teams, the results start pouring in. The Strategic Capabilities team then collect the ideas and collaboratively choose the best ideas. The results are impressive and clearly illustrate the kind of thinking necessary to navigate a digital transformation.
“By using crowdsourcing we have come up with a great way of energizing the teams, coming up with answers and solutions that are novel and in some cases become intellectual property,” says Dan Gamota.
Aside from crowdsourcing, Dan challenges his teams to add value across three specific areas. First of all, Dan’s team practices continuous innovation thinking to challenge the status quo for established assembly processes by constantly considering possible future technologies that are currently considered science fiction. Second, strategic recruiting initiatives such as internships and research partnerships provide a great talent pipeline. Familiarity with Jabil processes and culture helps with seamless onboarding and project ramping. Finally, Dan’s teams engage strategic industry researchers to help solve tough technology challenges. By creating these partnerships, Jabil assembles the most capable teams within industry, academia and national laboratories.
Science is the foundation upon which Dan’s team develops industrialized processes for digital manufacturing. That’s why it is so important for the Strategic Capabilities team to work closely with top research institutions. For example, Dan’s team is a member of the MIT Media Lab that allows Jabil engineers to collaborate with the best and the brightest in science and technology right alongside our customers.
And to push the envelope on what’s possible with material science, the Strategic Capabilities team is also an IPrime member, a public/private University of Minnesota industry research consortium.
Then, there’s the collaboration between Jabil and the recently established NextFlex, the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute. NextFlex is charged with developing the most enabling technologies for flexible hybrid electronics and Jabil, as a Founding Member of Flex Tech Alliance, prepared the winning proposal for the funding and establishment of the NextFlex Manufacturing Innovation Institute. In August 2015, Ashton Carter, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, announced that FlexTech Alliance was selected to receive funding to establish a National Manufacturing Innovation Institute for flexible hybrid electronics (NextFlex). Under Dan’s leadership, his team will develop design, manufacturing, packaging, reliability, and testing innovations to guide Jabil’s digital transformation.
Not quite. A recent study commissioned by the Harvard Business Review found that companies who rated highly in both digital leadership and management, have better results (profit margins and revenue growth) than their peers. While nearly all survey respondents understood the gravity of digital transformation, less than one fifth fell into the category of “digital leaders.” The rest fell into the “followers” and “laggards” category.
What are the keys to success? Asking for help and not getting too hung up on the technology.
The world's most innovative brands are doubling down on core competencies and relying on the scale and expertise of their manufacturing partners to progress their digital transformations.
In fact, 93% of Jabil customers said they look for manufacturing partners who actively support their digital transformation and enable their strategic business goals. From a manufacturing perspective, this includes building for demand instead of inventory, increasing customization capabilities, and reducing time to market.
The second key to success is maintaining a balanced approach between technology issues and people issues. Jay Dettling, managing director, Accenture Interactive, and North America digital commerce lead, advises that although leaders will be making a significant investment in technology, that shouldn't be the only consideration: "If you're a business leader and you think that's (technology) the main point of emphasis, you're going to be missing the other legs of the stool. The best way to support business alignment is to make sure the digital strategy tactics support the business strategy."
All of this requires leadership. Leaders who inspire their people to reach beyond what’s possible end up driving entire industries forward. Dan Gamota is one of those leaders.
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