The Corporate Strategy team's purpose is to assist the CEO and senior executives in developing and implementing a company-level strategy to help Autodesk operate intentionally as an integrated, coordinated system. Further, it is to catalyze Autodesk’s long-term thoughts about the industries we serve and synthesize stories that articulate those thoughts and place them in the context of company strategy. One way to catalyze our thinking is to bring in external experts who have a different perspective and point of view.
In pursuit of additional thoughts, Autodesk combined two programs:
The Autodesk Visiting Fellows Program recruits senior-level, industry-shaping talent to help light the future path of Autodesk. Although fellows have a rich sectoral expertise, they tend to focus on defining and pursuing cross-industry issues emerging at the intersection of our traditional markets and technologies.
The Secretary of Defense Executive Fellows program was established by the Secretary of Defense in 1994 as a long-term investment in transforming US forces and capabilities and, as such, is a key part of the Department of Defense strategy to achieve its transformational goals. Fellows get to express a preference as to where they are assigned, and year after year, Autodesk is the most requested destination.
Secretary of Defense Fellow, Colonel Zachary Miller, learned about how we explore, invent, and innovate and shared some of his impressive experience in leadership and building infrastructure in demanding environments. Over the last 20 years, Zachary has served in a number of command and staff assignments, including four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just prior to visiting Autodesk, he was a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne Division where he led a 1,700 person task force in eastern Afghanistan. His command was responsible for the security of Parwan Province and Bagram Airfield, the largest base in the country and home to over 18,000 people.
Colonel Miller is presently deployed back in Afghanistan, this time commanding an advisor battalion embedded with the Afghan Army. His next assignment is running the Army Corps of Engineers district responsible for the Central Mississippi River. Colonel Miller recently met with Afghanistan's Engineer Brigade (the only construction unit in the Army) and talked with Lieutenant Aziz Mohammad who is their AutoCAD expert.
Lieutenant Mohammad was proud to show Colonel Miller his most recent designs that included roads, forward operating bases for the army, large entry points into Kabul City (like a border crossing points), command and control facilities (buildings), site plans for large water wells, and training facilities. Tools like AutoCAD give the lieutenant a mountain of power. I guess you could say Autodesk brought the mountain to Mohammad. [Sorry, I couldn't help myself.]
Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). More, better, and less have a variety of ways to be applied — even unexpected ones like reconstruction in a war-torn area.
Outside perspectives are alive in the lab.