Alumnus and Silicon Valley veteran shares his insights on innovation, excellence with Ohio University
"Innovation and engineering excellence comes standard at Ohio University."
Surinder Amrit S. Bedi, MSISE, ought to know. The Silicon Valley veteran at electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors spoke on "Product Development Lifecycle: A Strategy for First Time Right," to an overflowing lecture hall of Russ College of Engineering and Technology faculty, deans, graduate students, program directors and administrators at Ohio University's Athens Campus this spring.
Bedi has been a driving force of innovation and excellence in Silicon Valley, advancing the technology and business transformations that permeate our present-day lives.
The crux of Bedi's message to the OHIO community is that innovation is not a random event, but rather a process that can be learned, practiced, perfected and commercialized.
“It was a great honor to be invited and to speak at Ohio University, and it was truly to inspire the next generation of innovation and engineering excellence. When I left OHIO, one of the things I carried with me was product innovation, to bring people together to solve complex problems—all to make this world better.” Bedi said.
He encouraged students entering the workforce to pay attention to innovation and excellence. By applying creativity and new thinking in their roles, engineers can spark novel ideas that will help their companies leap ahead of their competitors.
After graduating from the Russ College, Bedi went to California's Silicon Valley, where he studied “Managing Technology and Strategic Innovation, Executive Program” at Stanford University and worked for large corporations like National Semiconductor, Hewlett Packard (which later merged with Digital Equipment Corporation), Applied Materials and SunPower. He has earned numerous awards, including the New Product Innovation Excellence Award from Frost & Sullivan in 2018, Intel's Quality Leadership Award, Applied Materials’ President Gold Leadership Award, The Philippine State Quality Award and 12 U.S. Patents.
Bedi's work at Lucid Motors includes the development and implementation of Advanced Product Quality Strategy and Best Practices for "First Time Right" ensuring product quality, manufacturing risks are properly identified, triaged, and mitigated throughout the product development lifecycle.
"I have seen many companies in my career who have done [product development] First Time Right and been so successful and market leaders. And I've seen many companies who have not done it right and are constantly reworking [the product] ... until the customers don't want it anymore," Bedi said.
Companies who don't attend to the requirements of a First Time Right approach are "not only putting the product at risk, but putting the entire company at risk," Bedi said.
Bedi emphasized key ingredients to an innovation mindset: dedication to engineering excellence, collaboration to solve complex analytical problems, and continuous learning.
"Part of the product design is the innovation," he said, noting that a dedication to innovation is a crucial component of a company's success, along with collaboration. "Early adoption of innovation technologies can have a positive impact to market leadership and business outcomes. Innovation brings together people who are involved in engineering and technology, who are working with customers, manufacturing side, and working in the field as well."
And continuous learning demands curiosity for engineering excellence, Bedi said. "Keep this with you all the time: You have to be curious."
Ohio University has been providing education, research and support for businesses in the state and region for more than 200 years. The University is working closely with businesses and new industries to fulfill this promise, as Bedi's visit demonstrates.
"It was a privilege to host Surinder Bedi, one of Ohio University's most distinguished alumni, in Athens. The key to successful innovation at OHIO is our ability to bring real-time laboratory research to the marketplace," President Hugh Sherman said. “The global impact of our faculty and alumni cannot be overstated.”
The Russ College of Engineering and Technology has a long tradition of preparing students for careers in industry. The college's curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning experiences and provides students with opportunities to work on real-world projects with industry partners.
Bedi will meet with university faculty and leadership later this fall to explore opportunities to connect OHIO students with emerging technological and product development learning with EV Industry.