MANUFACTURING WHITE PAPER: The Young, the Prime and the Wise, Generational Perspectives on Research & Development

The richness of a company’s culture is also found in the diversity of perspectives individual members of the various function teams can bring to the table. The more diverse, the richer the discussion, and the more successful the organisation. In other words, diversity is good for your bottom line. And what better source of diverse perspectives than the age divide?

Here three generations are confronted with general questions about R&D, and their answers are enlightening. Though all matching Homa’s culture and values, a tell-tale sign of good internal communications, they offer some surprisingly interesting and inspiring differences.

Zhicheng Yang, from Zhongshan City in the Guangdong Province, is the wise, being the most senior of the three interviewees. Zhengyu Li from Guigang City in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is an established, authoritative member of the R&D function, and is next in terms of seniority. Our enthusiastic, blue-eyed young newcomer is Dunliang Yang from Ezhou city in the Hubei province.

First, let’s find out what makes them tick, what motivates them to come to work every morning:

The young: combining product planning and performance design into competitively priced products
The prime: I love working with my leader, Simon Wu, creating new ideas and transforming them into new projects.
The wise: Passion, and the love for mechanical engineering. Finding solutions.

Next, let’s discover what they think about what makes Homa different from other companies in the field of R&D:

The young: Respect for all the employees, especially for the elders and the experienced.
The prime: at Homa, the R&D function offers working on important projects. It also has a global vision, working with international agencies.
The wise: Homa is inclusive, and gives you space to think freely. The shorter decision making chain makes it easier to see projects through.

Now they tell us about what in their opinion is the most significant innovation projects they’ve worked on at Homa:

The young: the FF2-695 side by side model with ice and water: a totally new product in terms of performance and design, which also allowed me to cooperate with UP - Umberto Palermo - Design, acting as a go-between. An unforgettable experience.
The prime: cost-saving projects on older products.
The wise: The multi-climate system in the model FF4–730. We were given a total free hand on our design abilities.

Finally, we’ve asked about the current and future challenges facing R&D:

The young: reconciling the need for large scale industrial production and an ever greater level of personalisation
The prime: As pure ODM players, the difficulty of serving client brands’ own distinct personalities while respecting the competitiveness principles of massive-scale production.
The wise: the increasing costs of labour, given a labour-intensive product, combined with the need to provide highly efficient, qualitative and ever more diverse products.

The three recently visited Studio Volpi’s European headquarters in Italy, on one of Homa’s regular international field trips. These trips are part of the company’s will to reach out and meet diverse cultures in the world, in an effort to better understand the different societal backgrounds of its clients and their final customers.

This is particularly important for R&D specialists, as they can acquire precious first hand insight into the mentalities, the aspirations and the needs of the real people for whom the innovations they are working on are destined. They certainly did not miss the opportunity, during the various social occasions, to check out Italy’s gastronomic tradition, and seemed to particularly appreciate pasta-based specialities.

They all had different orders, but sadly we didn’t have time to check out what the preferences of the young, the prime and wise were in this case!

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