segunda-feira, março 12, 2018


Aqui no blogue costumo escrever sobre o fuçar, sobre como os práticos da indústria, sem CV na academia, fazem o que os académicos não conseguem encontrar nos seus estudos. Recordo sempre Daniel Bessa e o calçado.

Matthew Syed no livro "Caixa Negra" conta uma estória muito interessante:
"This was a major problem for the company, not just because of maintenance and lost time, but also in terms of the quality of the product. They needed to come up with a superior nozzle. Fast. And so they turned to their crack team of mathematicians. Unilever, even back then, was a rich company, so it could afford the brightest and best. These were not just ordinary mathematicians, but experts in high-pressure systems, fluid dynamics, and other aspects of chemical analysis. They had special grounding in the physics of “phase transition”: the processes governing the transformation of matter from one state (liquid) to another (gas or solid). These mathematicians were what we today might call “intelligent designers.” These are the kind of people we generally turn to when we need to solve problems, whether business, technical, or political: get the right people, with the right training, to come up with the optimal plan.
They delved ever deeper into the problems of phase transition, and derived sophisticated equations. They held meetings and seminars. And, after a long period of study, they came up with a new design. You have probably guessed what is coming: it didn’t work. It kept blocking. The powder granularity remained inconsistent. It was inefficient. Almost in desperation, Unilever turned to its team of biologists. These people had little understanding of fluid dynamics. They would not have known a phase transition if it had jumped up and bitten them. But they had something more valuable: a profound understanding of the relationship between failure and success. They took ten copies of the nozzle and applied small changes to each one, and then subjected them to failure by testing them. “Some nozzles were longer, some shorter, some had a bigger or smaller hole, maybe a few grooves on the inside,” Jones says. “But one of them improved a very small amount on the original, perhaps by just one or two percent.” They then took the “winning” nozzle and created ten slightly different copies, and repeated the process. They then repeated it again, and again. After 45 generations and 449 ‘failures,’ they had a nozzle that was outstanding. It worked “many times better than the original.” Progress had been delivered not through a beautifully constructed master plan (there was no plan), but by rapid interaction with the world. A single, outstanding nozzle was discovered as a consequence of testing, and discarding, 449 failures."
Lembrem-se do desfile.

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