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ANP-Colloquium by Prof. dr. ir. Wim Bogaerts (Ghent University – IMEC, Belgium) "Lean techniques in (photonic) research"


ANP-Colloquium by Prof. dr. ir. Wim Bogaerts (Ghent University – IMEC, Belgium) Abstract: During your research, do you ever get frustrated that you’re doing things not as efficient and effective as they should be? That a lot of your activities are wasteful, and really do not contribute to improving the state-of-the-art? This is probably true for most researchers, both in the industry as academia. Lean provides you with a framework that helps you identify the origins of these frustrations and maybe even reduce the waste in your research. Lean is a collection of concepts and techniques that originated in the Japanese automobile industry but gained widespread adoption in many branches of manufacturing. Its philosophy revolves around identifying ‘value’, reduction of ‘waste’ and continuous improvements, and when properly applied it translates into a more motivated and empowered workforce. Principles of Lean have gradually found their way into project management, notably under the umbrella of ‘Agile’, and in particular in software development and startup environments. One of the last places where Lean is adopted is in Research, both academic and corporate. This is contradictory, since the principles of Lean should be extremely compatible with the pursuit of the scientific method. This presentation will introduce the concepts and basic principles of Lean, and take a closer look on how they can be applied in the typical setting of PhD researchers in the field of photonics.


Wim Bogaerts is Professor in the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University and IMEC. His research focuses on the challenges of large-scale integration in silicon photonics, and the emerging field of programmable photonic circuits. He also co-founded the startup company Luceda Photonics. During this startup phase, he got interested in the techniques behind continuous improvement, and in 2012 he gained a ‘Black Belt in Lean’. Since then, he tries to apply Lean and Agile methodologies to the academic environment (with varying success).