By Jeff Sili, Vitech Principal Systems Engineer
Silicon Valley icon and industrial designer Steve Jobs had a favorite dictum when he spoke to young audiences. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
By way of introducing myself, I’d like to take you along as I reflect on my journey through the wilds of systems engineering, an adventure that has brought me to where I am today—the newest team member in Professional Services at Vitech.
I’m Jeff Sili, and I’ve been a systems engineer for nearly three decades. I hail from the "Rust Belt" near Cleveland, Ohio and had a great time growing up in a big, blue collar neighborhood. The community was interesting and diverse—a place where first and second generation grandparents were still speaking languages like German and Italian. My dad was a machinist-mechanic, and he gave me my first taste of what it was like to "take it all apart and put it back together again." As a teenager in the ’70s, I watched the collapse of the economy in big cities like Cleveland, the demise of steel and other industries and with them, jobs. More...
The beginning of any creative activity always involves the generation of ideas. New concepts are created as the creator begins to fill out the solution to a problem or the thing being created. This is true whether the object of the creative process is a painting or a tree house, a novel or a system solution. The artist or writer or engineer always begins with the seed of an idea and expands it into a fully-realized object.
This is true of groups as well as individuals. In fact, the collaborative creative process may actually depend even more heavily on idea generation in order to reach a shared vision for the creative product. Synergies emerge through the idea generation process to become realized products of collaborative thought.
A critical piece of the idea generation phase is the means to make those ideas tangible. Everyone does this by first creating a mental model of what is being created. That model must then one way or another find its way to a tangible form in order to be efficiently developed. That is the source of sketches and drafts, of storyboards and scripts – all of which memorialize ideas so that they are not lost and can be built out into bigger, better ideas.
With groups, these tangible artifacts are even more important because they align the thinking of the collaborators. They help create a common pool of meaning and minimize misunderstanding.More...