So we’ve moved past the traditional model of product development into an entrepreneurial, incubator-based approach. We’re bringing together product designers, end-use manufacturers, academics, metallurgists, production team members and others. By working together, we identify opportunities faster, overcome obstacles quicker, iterate and learn together, and are a more nimble team. If this approach sounds like it’s from the tech start-up world, it is. After all, we’re a technology company. We just happen to make steel.
The traditional model of product development in the steel industry certainly lends to that “old-school” reputation. Dozens of PhDs and material scientists locked in a lab, hundreds of miles away from production – and even more detached from customers. That structure worked 50 years ago when the pace of change was decidedly slower. But the world of manufacturing has changed. The pace of innovation now moves in milliseconds, not years. The steel industry has to keep up, with Big River leading the way.