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Meet Daniela

Meet Daniela

Head of R&T (Research & Technology)

Daniela Lohwasser became Airbus’ new head of R&T in the CTO organisation on 1 April. Airbuzz welcomed her to the post with three key questions.

How do you feel about your new job?

It’s a thrilling prospect. We’ll soon be celebrating 50 years of Airbus and we’re preparing for the next chapter of our story with disruptive new technology and products. Airbus isn’t only working on further improving its existing, excellent products. We’re on the verge of a big disruption and that means exciting times are ahead.

What do you bring with you from previous positions?

My understanding of other areas of the company and my networks will be extremely helpful. I worked in R&T, starting at the bottom, for 12 years on many projects, but I’m also a recognised aircraft architect with global knowledge of the complete aircraft. My nine years on the A400M programe, including four as local chief engineer, and my last four years as site chief engineer for the A320 Family have taught me how important innovation is to our products and the repercussions of adding something new that is not mature.

As a very technical person I like to create clear targets. I believe in establishing a shared vision and then supporting my teams as they work towards these goals. We should also remember that ideas and know-how aren’t only inside R&T, or even Airbus. There is a huge amount of expertise in the world and we should be humble enough to access it.

Is ‘fail fast’ part of the culture you’ll be promoting?

Absolutely! In R&T we have to be daring because we’re supposed to work on the edge. When I was learning to ski my father told me that he knew I wasn’t taking enough risks because I rarely fell – in R&T we have the rare privilege to push boundaries, even over the limit, in order to learn. If we never fail we aren’t pushing those boundaries far enough.

Failing fast means we try things, quickly decide what isn’t working, stop it, and reallocate resources to other technologies that might succeed. There is no point riding dead horses – if R&T is to contribute fully to the future of Airbus we need to make sure that the projects we focus on are good runners that directly benefit the company’s products and customers.

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