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The Trouble With Targets

The threat of failure hangs over efforts to solve big, multidimensional engineering challenges, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying

3 min read
The Trouble With Targets
Illustration: Gary Waters/Getty Images

Among technology leaders burdened with unmet and ill-defined goals, setting engineering targets is the rage, promising specific results to people, corporations, and government.

Whether the demand is for capping the rise in Earth’s temperature, creating therapies to halt memory loss in the elderly, or expanding farm output to meet the world’s growing population, the answer is the same: Set targets.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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