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An Interview with Matt Fox, CEO of Sparta Engineering
Matt Fox, CEO of a leading Canadian engineering firm, talks about how a culture of efficient adaptation and systematic innovation is revolutionizing the design process. Watch the video here or read the transcript below.
Introduction – The Process of Innovation
Sparta Engineering started as a design firm for agricultural related items. This includes anything that pertained to agriculture in small town Alberta. This was a great place for feeling that creative bug [for being innovative] and getting those ideas out there. Farmers are open to new ideas. From there it evolved into mobile equipment for oil and gas and well servicing. Particularly, well-servicing equipment for the fracking industry, the drilling industry, wells, and well servicing industry. The main part of what we did or what we had a lot of success in, was taking what we had learned from the agricultural component and moving it into the oil and gas industry. It was that creativity that allowed us to develop a process of innovation and that proved to be very valuable and very useful.
Sparta is made up of some highly adaptable individuals. We group them together into elite teams. We empower them to operate at a very high level. They are not just efficient at general engineering tasks, they are efficient at adaptation. They can adapt quickly and on the fly as technology changes or as requests for different products change. The new normal is designing a highly customized product. Getting it into service fast and on a tight margin. We can fight this and waste time fighting it, but what we really want to do is take that time and invest it in finding better ways of doing it. We want to get the product to market faster and we want to get those highly customized options. We want to get all that put together in a product so that we can do it economically and efficiently. We feel that our culture of efficient adaptation is a cornerstone to this process. If I had to steal a quote from a guy I really admire it is from former general Stanley McChrystal from the US Army: “Speed isn’t a choice anymore, speed isn’t an option” and I really believe in this.
We combine our teams with another high value individual – our customers. We take select people from our customers and we combine those together. We empower them to work together to set these high value parameters, very thoughtful parameters. Then a truly innovative concept can be developed with them quickly. The foundation is laid for a process to continue in parallel with other support services like manufacturing. Working this system in parallel allows us to maintain that no more options of speed – we can accomplish that. No more working in series where the perfect plan is put in place and then a product is developed. I want to define what true innovation is for us because it is a little bit different. Simply, it’s ideas that need to be altered to have a positive economic benefit in reality. It is taking that unknown and making it into a real product that has a real affect on our corporation and our company. This is group of people with a culture for adaptation armed with a proven system that yields true results. This is Sparta Engineering.