In June, the Materials Genome Initiative will mark its fourth anniversary. As on past anniversaries, the MGI community will look back on the successes of the prior year and forward to new goals, activities, and plans. One activity I hope we see soon, whether or not it’s announced this June, is a gathering of “lead users.” These are the people who will ultimately build the innovation infrastructure, one of the most critical needs of the entire initiative.
The concept of lead users was developed by Eric von Hippel, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management who specializes in the nature and economics of distributed and open innovation. von Hippel noted that lead users face needs in the marketplace months or years before others and are positioned to benefit greatly if they develop the solution. Such people may be reading this right now. If you’re one of them, the MGI, and ASM in particular, can use your help.
ASM is looking for someone to lead its Computational Materials Data Network. There’s a complete description of the position in the jobs section on this LinkedIn forum. The ideal candidate is someone von Hippel would describe as a lead user, specifically in the area of integrated computational materials engineering. Probably someone a little frustrated by the lack of data sharing tools, protocols, standards, and best practices. I think von Hippel might even say that the ideal candidate would be someone like his father, MIT professor Arthur Robert von Hippel. A materials scientist and physicist, the elder von Hippel was a pioneer in the study of dielectrics, ferromagnetic and ferroelectric materials, and semiconductors. He was also a strong proponent of interdisciplinary research and just the sort of person the MGI needs and ASM is currently seeking.