Leaders and Champions -Brian Buckley


The Role of the Facilitator in Building Capability for Sustainable Innovation

Even with the best of intentions, without guidelines to structure the interactions, members of a complex organization or ecosystem will struggle to coordinate their innovative activities. When taking a human-centered, cross-company approach to ideating and realizing solutions, the most effective way to build capability that results in lasting impact is a facilitator. Facilitators can act as the bridge to ensure that ideation isn’t just confined to an “innovation unit” but diffused throughout the organization. A skilled facilitator is one who can communicate at all levels and functions, ask the right questions, share the right information, translate the ‘speaks’ of different functions. Successfully facilitating the innovation process dramatically increases an organization‘s ability to create ongoing breakthroughs and confront problems creatively. The facilitator plays a key role in stimulating the ideation community, shaping the idea development and testing process. organizing review activities, defining evaluation criteria and communicating project milestones. So where do you get one of these unicorns?! What are the pros and cons of going in-house versus hiring a third party? What skill-set and experience should that person have? How can you establish a common language, including clear definitions of innovation and communicate more fully from concept to actualizing?


Brian Buckley has a diverse engineering and business background having co-founding an engineering startup specializing in applied Artificial Intelligence products for the Satellite Command and Control marketplace. Mr. Buckley was involved in the development of mission critical embedded systems, workstations class systems, visualization tools, and Automated Machine Learning tools for population of the AI engine. Mr. Buckley held many roles at Interface & Control Systems from startup thru acquisition 20 years later. ICS was ultimately acquired by a 7,200 person company in 2008. Mr. Buckley was retained under an employment contract as SRA’s Director of the Space Systems Division.

For 4 years, Mr. Buckley worked as the Lead Software Quality Engineer and a Cyber Security Leader at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. Mr. Buckley is a subject matter expert in software development techniques, software quality assurance, configuration management, and Cyber Security. Mr. Buckley also represented GE-Hitachi as a member of the ASME NQA-1 Software Standards Subcommittee.

Since February 2016, Mr. Buckley has been the Alstom Freight and Mining Platform Development Director. Mr. Buckley and his team of 110 engineers are responsible for developing products for a variety of Alstom railway signaling solutions. In November 2015, GE Transportation signally group was sold and became Alstom Transport – Freight & Mining. Mr. Buckley’s challenge has been to take this group of former GE Transportation staff and chart a course for new product offerings and evolution of current products. Mr. Buckley has put an emphasis on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to drive his product development team to work more like a lean startup rather than a 375,000 person company.To accomplish this, Mr. Buckley has launched a cultural change initiative to challenge and empower his staff to act faster & leaner with no compromise on quality or safety.New hardware and software tools will be applied to give more control over development; to foster higher levels of software and hardware reuse; all with the ultimate goal of increasing the operational velocity of the business. Our next challenge is the Siemens-Alstom merger at the end of 2018.