A paper co-authored by The Human Factor and their partners at NASA CAS was presented at the annual AIAA FORUM in May 2023. The paper, “Approaching Complex Societal Problems Tied to Aviation,” covered methods to explore aviation’s role in exacerbating or alleviating intricate societal challenges, emerged from The Human Factor’s ongoing project work with NASA.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the largest aerospace engineering society in the world, brings together over 2,000 international participants annually at the AIAA AVIATION FORUM. At the forum, notable keynote speakers –including Alan Weston, CEO of LTA Research and Exploration–explored this year’s theme of “Revolutionary Leaps Toward a New Age of Aviation”, discussing topics like mission-oriented aircraft, human connectivity, and environmental sustainability.
Contributing to the “New Age of Aviation,” our joint teams’ paper covers how human-centered, system-oriented, and futures-based design methodologies can assist engineering teams in generating solutions that leverage technical advances in aviation to address complex societal challenges. The paper also addresses considerations when employing human-centered design methods on technical teams and in complex organizations; for example, it details how bringing stakeholders to the table—the right people, at the right time—in a psychologically safe space enables engineers to challenge assumptions that may have inhibited progress toward effective solutions. A deviation from the classically technical subjects presented at the forum, the paper presented opportunities and methods for the aviation industry to address broader societal issues.
The paper garnered enthusiasm and curiosity from aerospace experts in attendance. The audience was particularly inquisitive about how human-centered design can be applied to innovation efforts in other problem areas within aviation and across domains, an encouraging response for our continued research and collaboration in this emerging and intersectional field.
Read the full paper here.