We caught up with Davide Migliorini, Senior Lead Engineer at Evolito Ltd and the Design Challenge’s new Steering Committee Chair.
Read our full interview with Davide to find out more about his academic and career background, what he would like to achieve as Design Challenge Steering Committee Chair, his advice for students taking part in the Challenge and much more.
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself, your academic and career background?
Davide Migliorini (DM): I started working full time in racing during my first year at university and I then graduated from Politecnico di Torino – Italy in mechanical engineering. I have spent the first twelve years of my career in different activities in racing back in Italy, from motorcycle to F1 until I moved in Jaguar Land Rover in UK in 2012. I have then been in vehicle design and development for five years before moving into the electrification of passenger cars and aerospace market, in 2022. Now in Evolito I am the functional leader of the mechanical design team where we engineer the new motors and controllers to be at the forefront of aerospace electrification.
Being exposed to different countries and different sectors, in different languages, gave me the opportunity to appreciate how much cultural diversity could really help to improve and take to the next level in any work team: ultimately, although engineering is based on numbers and facts, there is a lot of human interaction that could really help in analysing and solving problems with creativity.
Q: What are you looking to bring to your new role as Design Challenge Steering Committee Chair?
DM: Keeping up with the incredibly high level of the people that make the Design Challenge happen will be a challenge for me, on its own! My main goal would be to try to connect with the broadest possible number of people to understand pros and areas of improvement of the Design Challenge, address the concerns and hopefully help the Design Challenge to grow even more in the near future. More teams attending will be more fun for all of us!
Q: What motivated you to apply for the Design Challenge Steering Committee Chair role?
DM: Having the opportunity to apply for the Chair of such a crucial Challenge for students was a great honour. Firstly, it will give me further opportunities to stay in in closer contact with students that sooner or later will become our next generation centres of competence, leaders, managers, helping all our communities to solve problems with creativity.
The Design Challenge is possibly the first time where a student is facing a real-life scenario, where cross functional skills need to be consolidated in a team of individuals, to work together in solving a problem which is time and budget bound.
Q: What is your vision for the Design Challenge and what would you like to achieve during your tenure as Design Challenge Steering Committee Chair?
DM: My main message, if possible, would be to try to help students develop their attention to detail at the design phase, trying as much as possible to “design out” issues beforehand without manufacturing prototypes. Using fewer physical resources at the very beginning may feel more difficult and possibly counterintuitive, but will push all of us to think about being more efficient and less dependent on materials.
Another target for me would be to understand how we could expand the reach of the Challenge to more engineering related students, outside the core regions that have historically attended the Design Challenge.
Q: What advice/top tips would you like to give specifically to the competing teams?
DM: To maximise the success rate, look at the overall picture and try to find all the areas where a good high score could be achieved with relatively small effort. This will free up time, to focus on the areas of the project that are possibly a bit more challenging.
Another suggestion would be to plan your available time, but not kill the time by planning! A good ratio could be 20% of initial planning, with tasks and activities allocation, 40% to design without build and the remaining 40% of time between manufacturing, testing, developing and iterating, where needed with the design and documentation associated. If you know inside-out what you have designed, you will be better positioned in development and problem solving activities!
Q: What would you say to young engineers who are thinking of entering the Challenge?
DM: Have fun first and understand that is a competition, everyone wants to win! Winning a competition requires a mixture of focus, dedication, preparation, and a bit of luck. Attending a competition is a win for everyone because it will put all of you in contact with people you may have never met and at the same time hopefully give you different viewpoints on how to solve your the very same problems. It’s great!