The Lean Aerospace Initiative:
INNOVATING TRANSFORMATION by Deborah Seifert Nightingale
At 100 years, there have been many celebrations of the rich history of the aerospace industry and many speculations of what the
In the excitement of exploring
future will hold. The industry is characterized by highly
new territory, pushing limits and
complex technical innovations and spectacular firsts. Recent focus
expanding boundaries, aerospace
in the industry has been on continuous process improvement.
systems have focused on technical
Many aerospace organizations have responded by applying lean
excellence, striving for higher,
principles focused on creating value and eliminating waste.
faster and farther. The complexity of these systems lies not only in
their technical designs, but also in their political and social contexts. These contexts are inextricably linked to the success and failure of many aerospace programs. Although the Cold War united societal, governmental, and industrial aerospace priorities, the resulting pursuit of performance regardless of cost became readily apparent and unacceptable following the Cold War. Cost overruns and schedule delays brought about more government oversight of defense programs. Commercial aircraft As indicated by the timeline above, much product innovation has occurred in the 100-year history of the aerospace industry. This focus on improving technology has recently been augmented with an emphasis on process innovation and continuous improvement.
The Lean Aerospace Initiative: Innovating Transformation