Meet the Judges: Mike Schlichtmann

Meet the Judges: Mike Schlichtmann

mikeWhere do you work and what do you do?

I work for John Deere Electronic Solutions as a Senior Technical Manager of Systems Engineering.  I manage a team of engineers that a.) define the products features, requirements and system architecture to deliver electronic control of vehicles or b.) support the application of an existing product into a new application/system.


How many years have you been an Innovation Challenge judge?

This is my second year.


What do you think will be your favorite part of judging Innovation Challenge?

Learning about the ideas and concepts, being exposed to the creative thinking and observing the energy and excitement of the inventors.


Why is innovative thinking important?

Mass production produces value by making identical copies of the same product. Product development or innovation produces no value if we create something that already exists.  So as innovators or product developers, we can only provide value if we create something different and in most cases, the “more different” it is, the more potential value it creates.  Innovative thinking is a key to create these differences.


One piece of advice for students who are about to enter the workforce

Think about how you are adding value to others whether that is your company, your customers or your employees.  When you know you are making a difference, you can enjoy your job and you can be passionate about what you do.