Countering the Braindrain Threat to Engineering

Presented by: Kiho Sohn, (former) Chief Knowledge Officer at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

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Fundamentally, the most valuable asset of an engineering organization is it's knowledge because that's what design decisions are based on. However it seems like that asset is more threatened than ever. A swath of the most tenured engineers, the baby boomer, is nearing retirement. And the remaining GenX and GenY engineers switch jobs like hats. How should an engineering executive address this problem? This session will talk about Knowledge Management (KM) in engineering organizations.

KM comprises a range of strategies and practices to create, organize, transfer, and utilize critical knowledge leading to improved performance, innovation, design effectiveness, and competitive advantage of the organization. He will cover the good, bad and ugly in terms of practices.

About the Presenter...

When Mr. Sohn was the Chief Knowledge Officer at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR), nation’s premier provider of space propulsion and power systems, he was responsible for developing strategic planning and implementation of Knowledge Management (KM) and Innovation processes for the company. This KM program focuses on the overall process of mapping, capturing, organizing, transferring, and utilizing the tribal knowledge for the company. The Innovation process at PWR focuses on problem solving and product improvements through unique workshop approach. Mr. Sohn has integrated KM into Innovation process to support the company’s rapidly growing need. This unique approach has led to be recognized as one of the best practices in industry, and has been benchmarked by many organizations around the world such as NASA, Boeing, Raytheon, Nestlé, and Rolls Royce.

Mr. Sohn now works as an independent consultant helping organizations develop innovative solutions and manage their information and knowledge resources. He has taught and lectured in many universities and has given over 100 speeches at conferences and organizations internationally.

Mr. Sohn received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA in 1986 and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1983. He has also earned an innovation master certification from Invention Machine Corp., and was the first one to be inducted into Boeing Technical Fellowship in the field of KM and Innovation.

Mr. Sohn’s technical affiliation includes: faculty at California State University at Northridge (CSUN); Chairperson of the Knowledge Leadership Forum; and a co-founder of the Southern California Aerospace KM Exchange Forum. In addition, he volunteers his time to serve on the Editorial Board of KM Review magazine; the Editorial Board of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business Report; and Invention Machine’s Customer Advisory Council.


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