InsightsHow human-centered design led to the creation of flying cars

How human-centered design led to the creation of flying cars

Third in the ranking of the world's largest aeronautical companies, Brazilian Embraer is an innovative company: most employees seek to work on innovation issues - product innovation, technology innovation, process innovation, service innovation.

EmbraerX, its division of innovation and disruption in the transport sector, was born out of the need to keep up with technological and social advances. "A plane takes a long time to get to market, and when it does, some of its features may already be obsolete," explains Paula Macedo, director of EmbraerX. This division is a shortcut to intercept the needs of people who will use your products before you start producing them.

Used to reacting to market demands rather than being proactive in the proposal, Design Thinking, human-centered design, was a great ally in anticipating needs and leading the way in the industry. "We are living the beginning of the Internet of transport. The technology needed to produce "flying cars" is becoming more and more mature. And society is evolving towards a more collaborative economy open to sharing. Fortunately, these two realities (technological and social) coincide at a time when cities are on the verge of collapse and demand new transport solutions.

Aware of the situation and the opportunities, EmbraerX begins to design electric vehicles which are totally different from anything we know. The technical name of its category is eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing). They are looking for the commercial name among future users, among people who may not know about aviation, but who are going to be users because they suffer the consequences of a collapsed urban mobility model.

Inquiring about what makes EmbraerX so successful, Paula assures that a great advantage for any innovation division in any sector and company must be "to assemble a diverse and complementary team. People working in that division should come from different backgrounds and have different profiles. To come up with a new product or service, you have to do a lot of research and touch a lot of people... but if you already have a diverse team, you'll save time and probably result in a better product or service". And this is even more important in a country as diverse as Brazil, which has multiple ethnicities and social strata but which are not represented in companies or leadership positions. According to Paula, "Education is the door for people to reach those positions, and today's education is not so accessible"

Self confident, Paula ends the conversation with an encouraging testimony: "When I got the chance to become a leader, I had to reflect on what I wanted my leadership personality to look like, and I had to shape it. As a woman, one can doubt her ability to lead because we only know one model of leader, the masculine one. But there are more ways. You have to have the courage to get them to respect you and follow you, and understand that sometimes the problem is not you or the tone of your voice, sometimes it is the rest of the team that has to adapt to you and accept you as a leader."

If you can't imagine what urban flying vehicles will look like, EmbraerX paints it for you in this video: