A Learning and Rewarding Experience
Interview with IdeaConnection Problem Solver Liebmer Trauschein
Liebmer Trauschein is a mechanical engineer who works as a product developer and project manager for a Switzerland-based company as well as running his own firm which is focused on product development for small businesses.
Here he talks about his profession and his successful experiences as a problem solver with IdeaConnection.
With my company we are looking for problems that we can solve as well as looking for good ideas for products - to improve them and bring them to the market in a cost effective way. We also do product development for select customers and there we are mainly focused on idea creation.
What do you like about your profession?
I like to develop. I’m a technical guy and I like to figure things out and solve technical issues and problems.
Were you one of those children who took things apart to see how they worked?
Yes that was how I was when I was a child. Now it’s changed a little, I try to avoid breaking things.
Would you say you are a creative person?
Yes I would. I try to do many different things besides engineering. For example, I also do product design, layouts, I play music and I try to paint a little.
Please, tell me about the music.
I play guitar, ukulele and drums. I was a drummer in a band for several years, but now it’s complicated to take part in practice so I jam with friends of mine when I can.
Turning now to IdeaConnection, how many challenges have worked on?
This was the first challenge for me. Most of the projects on IdeaConnection are biochemical and physical, but I was attracted to this one because it was quite a technical problem, it really appealed to me.
Did you find any parts of it difficult?
The idea is quite good to bring together people with experience and creativity, but I think it’s sometimes a little complicated to work together as a group when there isn’t a constant dialogue with the seeker. I like to ask questions, because sometimes the seeker is not able to bring his problem to paper and it makes sense for me to understand the background to the problem to be able to create a feasible solution.
What did you like about the process?
I did like having the facilitator there to keep the project running, schedule meetings and keep up communication between the team members.
And it’s good that on the teams expertise is shared among several people, although the best effects are only achieved when the group works together. I find it attractive because together we are able to bring new and completely different ideas for a solution.
Did your group work well together?
Yes, and this is crucial. All the team members did their best to achieve a successful solution. The willingness to work on the project, especially when it’s in our spare time is important.
Did you have an idea of what the solution might be before you embarked on the challenge?
I think I had the idea quite soon about how this problem could be solved, and so I had to convince the other team members how it would work. Ultimately we gave the seeker a number of solutions and he was especially interested in two of them. He then asked for more detailed information about those two. Every solution had its own advantages and disadvantages and after the seeker came back to us the team worked really well as a team for the two solutions.
What did you learn from the experience?
Language. I’m knowledgeable about the development of products and this was a spare time activity where I could bring in my experience and my creativity. The learning process from that point was communicating with the team. English is not my native language; my native language is German.
We only worked on Skype and emails and for engineering this is quite a complicated situation because sometimes it’s quite hard to show and demonstrate ideas on paper, and it’s even harder to make people understand what you are thinking and imagining about a solution.
I learned about communicating in English and communication for a development process in a team environment like this when all the team members are apart.
Would you like to work on more challenges?
It depends on the challenge. If the challenges are interesting to me I can imagine working on them.
How did you feel when you received the partial award?
It was a nice pat on the back to be recognized for your work and ideas. It’s like the winning feeling when you take part in team sports. The seeker was convinced our idea could work and wanted a design for a prototype so we have submitted that and are hopeful for the rest of the award.