Um olhar sobre nós na voz dos nossos parceiros - Testemunho da PRIMAVERA BSS, SA, pela voz de David Afonso.

Fora de Série

"(...) por terem sido capazes de oferecer em 11 autocarros da STCP serviços de comunicações que tem funcionado de forma exemplar em ambiente de utilização real", Manuel Ricardo (Coordenador UTM)

A Vós a Razão

"O INESC TEC é um sítio especial. Oferece condições excecionais à realização de projetos de investigação e (...) a sua abertura permite que outros projetos de pendor mais interdisciplinar se realizem.", Carlos Guedes, UTM

Asneira Livre

"I believe that thinking each day if I have worked enough to deserve my salary is an entrepreneurial attitude. Did my work create enough value for my employer to be able to continue paying my salary?", Ana Barros, UESP

Galeria do Insólito

"Pois eis que agora parece que nos transformámos numa espécie de consultório a que recorrem aqueles que querem ver solucionados os seus problemas e curadas as suas maleitas..."


BIP tira Raio X a colaboradores do INESC TEC...

Novos Doutorados

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O INESC TEC lança todos os meses no mercado pessoas altamente qualificadas...

Jobs 4 the Boys & Girls

Referência a anúncios publicados pelo INESC TEC, oferecendo bolsas, contratos de trabalho e outras oportunidades do mesmo género...


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Asneira Livre

There's no place like home

Por Ana Barros*

Since I joined INESC TEC in November 2011, BIP has been one of my main sources of information to get to know the people, work and projects at INESC TEC. Therefore, I feel honored to be able to contribute to BIP, but also puzzled about what to write about, since I can pretty much write about anything in “Asneira Livre”.

I have lived five years in Munich, Germany, four months in Ithaca, New York State and almost one year in Cambridge, US. Although I have never intended to live abroad for good, people first didn’t believe I would return to Porto. Now that I am here for almost four years, people still ask me why I came back. Well, let me explain you why:

1. I believe that in Portugal there are more opportunities to make the difference. In Operations Management, my field of research, we define two kinds of improvement: continuous improvement or radical improvement. Continuous improvement applies a never-ending number of small incremental improvement steps that make it possible to achieve better results. I am glad to live in a country that has achieved a state of continuous improvement in a number of diverse basic areas such as health services, transportation, water supply, bank services, etc. Although continuous improvement never ends, in Portugal we also have many opportunities for breakthrough improvements. Radical improvements are innovation-based and are achieved through the dramatic change of the way things work, or by introducing completely new things.

What are these “things” I am thinking about? Well, for example, in education this could be taking a much broader use of active learning methods, where the learners take the responsibility for learning, as opposed to the expository learning method, where information is presented with very limited interaction with the learners. As a lecturer myself, I feel a huge inertia from learners to embrace this approach. However, I believe that this is the way learners will be able to place their knowledge into action. If we analyse the amount of work students at top universities develop during their studies, we realise that our students really have an easy life!

Another example that needs improvement is the entrepreneurial attitude of each individual in their work place. I believe that thinking each day if I have worked enough to deserve my salary is an entrepreneurial attitude. Did my work create enough value for my employer to be able to continue paying my salary? An example of a bad entrepreneurial attitude is someone serving in a shop who takes their job for granted, does not smile to customers, does not bother if they leave without being served, and loses customers every day. One day, their boss will not have enough money to pay them.

We see this kind of attitude everyday Portugal. Although I have professional experience in a start-up (in Munich) and in a multinational enterprise (Qimonda Portugal), until now I have only conducted research with cases from established companies. During my PhD studies I carried out around 50 interviews. One of them is a perfect example of an entrepreneurial attitude. It is from a warehouse manager inside an established organization who said: “I make sure to improve the efficiency of the operations under my responsibility, to create enough cost reductions, so the company can pay my salary”. I must also say that we have very good examples of an entrepreneurial attitude at INESC TEC! I hope to be one of them soon.

A third area where we need radical improvement is in the way we create economic growth in our country. We have so many great and successful companies here, but that is simply not enough. How can we change that? I do not know the answer, but I am trying to keep this in mind in defining my research areas at INESC TEC. Basically, these are structured around two main research questions: How can companies create competitive advantage by using collaborative networking strategies? How do supply chain strategic choices affect the performance of new ventures? I believe that if we succeed in helping existing companies enhancing their competitive advantage and new ventures in their first critical decisions, we can contribute to the economic growth.

2. Portugal has conditions to pursue an international career. Nowadays, and in my field of research, it is completely possible to have an international career based in Portugal.

3. In Portugal I feel at home. That’s one of the main problems of living abroad. Somehow, you never feel at home. Also, thinking that things are easier abroad is almost always an illusion. Another problem is that we have such a good weather in Portugal! Furthermore, my family is here and I like my three boys to have their family nearby.

Rita Pacheco suggested I could write about what I thing about INESC TEC so far. Well, I must say that I felt at home very quickly here at INESC TEC. Firstly, because during the first days here I realized that I already knew some people, from my studies, professional life, or whom I met during my time abroad. Secondly because it is really easy to feel at home when you’re surrounded my engineers (and with people that work with engineers)!

I really like the proximity to FEUP and FEP, and I enjoyed re-connecting with some of my former professors at FEUP after 12 years and with the Management Group at FEP. What I liked the most was that I understood from the first day that I wouldn’t get bored here. There are so many interesting projects going on, so many opportunities to start new things and so many different people to work with.

In my PhD thesis I developed a method to analyze operations in an organization based on seven phenomena: Waste, Uncertainty, Vulnerability, Congestion, Bullwhip, Diseconomies of Scale and Self-interest. Without having measured them at INESC TEC, from my perception so far, we should be concerned mainly with two of them: Vulnerability and Diseconomies of Scale. Vulnerability, due to the economic crisis. I think we will need to be flexible and creative in order to attract new ways of financing our activities. Our internationalization is certainly an excellent instrument to achieve this, but we will also need as much entrepreneurial attitude as we can get. Diseconomies of Scale is a concept from the Economics field. Firms experience diseconomies of scale when, above a certain size, their unit cost increases as the output increases. Large organizations tend to become highly bureaucratized and start losing efficiency. General Motors (GM) noticed that when the same software was developed in two different parts of the world. This is already happening here, but in two different floors of INESC TEC!!

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this great team and I am looking forward for our work together in the future!

All the best!

*Colaboradora na Unidade de Engenharia de Sistemas de Produção (UESP)