Hinton Lecture 2013

29 October 2013

Imagination: the key to engineering the future

Speaker: Professor Dr Uwe Krueger, Atkins

Shaping the future is better than trying to predict it. Take Leonardo da Vinci and his design for a helicopter 400 years before one flew; the ITER project in France recreating the power of the sun to provide a new form of stable and sustainable energy or Bertrand Piccard's current attempt to fly a solar-powered plane day and night around the world. These are examples where engineers have posed themselves a question, found an answer and delivered it.

We can scale this challenge up to a global level with the need for similar innovation in dealing with threats driven by issues such as climate change and population growth. At the micro scale we need to consider  the materials we use; at the macro scale, how cities cope with increasing urbanisation. This is the premise for this year's Hinton Lecture, being delivered by Professor Dr Uwe Krueger, chief executive officer of Atkins. He discusses the need for teams with the broadest array of skills to answer the complex infrastructure questions being asked; and how important it is to nurture a culture focused on exceeding design codes. He also discusses the vital need to always balance science and vision with safety and economics.

Professor Dr Uwe Krueger is CEO of Atkins. He has served as President of Cleantech Switzerland, a group providing sustainability advice to companies on behalf of the Swiss Federal Government. In addition, he served as Senior Advisor for TPG Capital. Until September 2009, he was CEO of Oerlikon Group, a CHF4 billion Swiss industrial conglomerate.

He began his career at international strategy consulting firm A.T. Kearney, followed by several senior executive positions at Hochtief AG, including CEO of Central/Eastern Europe and Chairman of Turner International.

He currently serves on the board of several high-tech companies including San Diego-based Zementis, Inc, SUSI Partners AG in Zurich and Ontex SA, Zele/Belgium. He lectures as an honorary professor of physics at the University of Frankfurt.

Keywords: Uwe Krueger, Atkins, innovation, infrastructure, climate change, materials, design codes, sustainability, design for the future, imagination, civil engineering, Hinton Lecture

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