Apple, Inc engineering manager teaches innovation

  More than 1,000 students gathered in the de Jong Concert hall for the March college lecture, presented by Apple, Inc. engineering manager, Ramiro Calvo.

Calvo’s topic was innovation, a term he has become passionate about over the course of a long career in the high-tech industry. Calvo’s experience runs the gambit; he has worked with giants such as Microsoft and Apple, and has been on the ground floor of a five-man startup. 

His experiences have led him to a new definition of innovation; for him, it is not just what Merriam-Webster defines as “the introduction of something new.” It is “The ability to do the obvious,” Calvo said. 

He told students that when they had truly captured innovation people would look at their accomplishments and say “oh, of course it works like that…” Innovation, he said, should make perfect sense and seem like the natural, “no-brainer” solution. 

Calvo said the key to good innovation is simplicity, not to make a product more complex and confusing, but to apply new technology in a way that is intuitive and user-friendly.

“Pushing technology in a project is such a great way to simplify it.  You shove tech into an idea and instead of getting more complex, it becomes easier to use – it’s great,” said Jesse Moore, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering.

Moore wasn’t the only one impressed by the idea of simplicity. Adam Arnesen, a senior in the electrical engineering program also had his eyes opened. 

“Sometimes by thinking out of the box, we shut ourselves in another box, the ‘complicated’ box. Simplify, simplify, simplify is so important,” he said. 

Calvo said that one quality unites all the great innovators he has come in contact with in his career – they have a passion for innovation. 

“What does an innovator do in their free time?” Calvo asked. “They innovate.”

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