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Creativity and Innovation Day - Nathan's interview, Innovation engineer

Every year, 21 April is World Creativity and Innovation Day. Creativity is a concept that is often difficult to define, yet it lies at the heart of our evolution and our social progress.

As a designer and manufacturer of innovative extraction solutions to protect welders, ENGMAR also celebrates the creativity of its teams!

So today we're giving the floor to Nathan, one of our Innovation Engineers (and soon to be our new Head of Innovation ;) ), to understand his vision of creativity and innovation.

Hello Nathan! Did you know that World Creativity and Innovation Day takes place every year on 21 April?

Hello, no, not at all, there are world days every day so... :D


What does the notion of creativity in its general sense inspire in you?

For me, creativity is about achieving what you want with the means at your disposal. It's letting your imagination run wild to carry out tasks "in your own way" using the elements around you. And sometimes one idea leads to another, then another, and from there the solution emerges.

When you Google the term creativity, the notions of individuality and group collide: we're talking about interconnecting the ideas of each individual on a group scale to create unique things, and this way of defining creativity speaks to me a lot.


And in engineering?

I'd say it's more or less the same, but with a more scientific side, with technical skills coming into play. For me, this is the freest way of creating and innovating, where each individual seeks to solve a problem in a unique way by combining creativity and technical skills.

Solving a complex problem by making individual creativity the starting point for an entire group is what makes new products so innovative and brainstorming so relevant.


Why did you choose engineering?

When I was growing up, I always tinkered with things with my grandfather in a space that today looks like the ENGMAR lab.

When you're a child, you have dreams. To become a vet, a fireman, a teacher... For me, it was to invent and create. Or to become an "inventor", if you want to call it childish. I've always liked the idea of looking for the solution to a problem and solving it in your own way!

So the world of engineering has always been an obvious choice for me, from a very early age. My personal experiences and tastes have also naturally guided me in this direction.

I want to do my bit and make my mark on the world of creativity. Having my name on a patent would be a great achievement for me.


How do you see creativity and innovation at ENGMAR?

Creativity at ENGMAR is expressed through the richness and diversity of the work we do. The assignments may involve mechanical, aeraulic or automation engineering, as well as some electrical work. There's also an element of prototyping, testing and physical measurements.

In my studies, I specialised more in mechanics because it's the most down-to-earth, and my grandfather and great-grandfather worked in this field. Today at ENGMAR I'm more in a general engineering role. And in the end that suits me very well, because I'm a jack-of-all-trades, I touch on everything!

And brainstorming is at the heart of the way the Innovation department works, so that every idea, even the most audacious ones, can be studied by the whole department. This allows us to draw on all the different aspects of creativity.


What do you enjoy most about your job as an innovation engineer?

What I like most about my job, apart from the variety of tasks, is the autonomy we have over our projects: we are responsible for our projects, from the idea to the production run. And that applies to all the members of our department: our work-study students are given a project to work on and we draw up the specifications together, but then we let them explore their different ideas and delve into the technical issues. We're there to guide them, of course, but beyond that, each person is in charge of his or her own project.


What creation/innovation have you been most proud of/enthused about at ENGMAR?

I've been involved in around twenty projects since I joined [about a year and a half ago]. Each of them has helped me develop and acquire new skills in my field, but two projects come to mind because of their particularity:

  • A project for the design office involving the creation of soundproof cabins for special turbines. It was a large-scale project, which involved quite a few members of the ENGMAR teams, all departments combined, and which took me a good part of the summer of 2023 to complete. I enjoyed leading this project because it was tailor-made, a side project, where we had to rethink a whole new design with new engines, integrating soundproofing and cooling. It was the unknown! And then I was able to go and see the product installed on the customer site about a month ago, which was a first for me, so it's always interesting to see projects come to fruition.
  • The other project that stood out for me was an aeraulic study of all the smoke dispersions in a building (factory). It was something new that we were doing in the company and there were several of us asking questions. We had already carried out air movement studies, but not on such a large scale. We first had to research the appropriateness of the study configuration in order to find the one that would be most suitable, bearing in mind that a simulation takes all day to run. So it was very iterative, and in fact the iterative part was the most rewarding because we validated (or didn't) our ideas little by little. This enabled us to define what we could do in the present, but also in the future! We now have a database that will enable us to get a better grasp of projects of this kind, and to estimate results and timescales more easily and quickly. It's been a great way for all of us to improve our self-taught skills.

Thank you Nathan for sharing your vision of creativity and innovation. We wish you all the best in your new role as Head of Innovation. ;)