Sharing 40 years in Aerospace, Stephen´s vision in bringing change to enable aviation to be Sustainable

By: Stephen Hands

Having spent a career in re positioning businesses to market leading positions and bringing new products to the market, such as the most significant change to the long sought “More Electric Aircraft” by bringing Variable Frequency Power Generation and Solid State Power Distribution Systems to the market on the Bombardier Global Express in the early 1990´s, which later became baseline solutions on all subsequent civil aircraft, Stephen is today focussing on how to drive the biggest challenge in aviation, the achievement of zero emission solutions with the adoption of Liquid Hydrogen Powertrains and Storage Systems.

“Don’t lose sight of your goal, despite the ups and downs, it will be a roller coaster. Enjoy the journey, and realise you can make it happen.”

His 7 main takeaways to achieve the transition to sustainable aviation and position your vision or solution are:

  1. Don’t be afraid to challenge traditional thinking:
    Don’t let others try to blind you by the science or reasons why it cannot be done.
    Learn from the “No Sayers”, as their reasons may be valid and it helps you refine your approach or thinking to find solutions to overcome the arguments.
    It´s not always the technology, it’s the surrounding processes or conservatism that hinders bringing new technologies to the market
    Think “out of the box” about what could impact your end goal or stepped goals during the journey, use this to anticipate problems (not necessarily always technology related) before their arrive and manoeuvre to overcome them in a timely manner.
  2. Be very close to your Customer and where necessary your Customer´s Customer, to help new technology adoption and align perceptions:
    Manage all stakeholders, they may not be obvious, hence be very close to your customer. Decisions taken elsewhere on an aircraft technical configuration can work against you if you are not aware of them before they are set.
    Remember, despite the new digital world it remains a people business, according to Harvard University 53% of buy decisions are influenced by the people in the sales process, not just the price or technology, make sure you budget enough for travel to ensure your closeness to the customers processes
  3. Build a team around you that share the vision and strive for the change as passionately as you do.
  4. Set stretch targets to drive innovation, but be realistic and honest throughout the process.
  5. Be prepared to adapt yourself or solution along the journey as new insights arise
  6. Don’t lose sight of your goal, despite the ups and downs, it will be a roller coaster.
  7. Enjoy the journey, and realise you can make it happen.