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1998 Speeches

Phil Condit

The Boeing Company

"Working Together in The Global Marketplace"

World Congress on Information Technology

George Mason University, Virginia

June 23, 1998

Good morning. And thank you, Dr. Poisant.

It's a delight to be here, and particularly a delight to be with so many of you who have traveled very far for this important Congress. It's truly an honor to share my views as chairman of Boeing and as a major sponsor of this international event.

I do want to congratulate Dr. Poisant, his team and George Mason University, here in Fairfax County, for their outstanding work that brings people from almost 100 countries together to discuss important policy issues. This is a truly amazing and a difficult feat.

I have to tell you - I'm always delighted that meetings like this simply can't take place without commercial airplanes. I suspect, as Jim said, chances are there is no one here who has not flown on a Boeing airplane sometime in their life. At Boeing, we're proud that we've been working for more than 80 years to bring people, products, and places closer together.

This morning I want to talk about "working together" in the global marketplace from an aerospace industry perspective. I want to offer you a few ideas and then propose a challenge. I believe that we are living in an era of dramatic change and that:

I believe our challenge is to "work together" and use technology for a better world.

First, technology will continue to link us closer together as a global community.

Life on this planet has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. There were no PCs, ATMS, downloads, uploads. No cell phones or pagers or e-mail. No expert systems, no virtual reality. No space shuttles, no air express, no commercial jet airplanes.

Flying from the United States to Europe was a huge event. I thought a-once-in-a-lifetime event when my grandfather took our family in the early 1950s. Today, we jump on an airplane, almost without a thought, arrive at our destination ready to go to work. And often the flight is shorter than the time it takes us to drive to the airport, park our car, get through customs, and wait in the terminal for the airplane to leave. In the last 10 days, I've been in 10 cities and four countries. We are, in fact, a mobile society.

Getting information has changed dramatically, too. Technology advances allow us to link instantly around the globe 24 hours a day; e.g., stock markets open as the sun rises all the way around the planet from Europe to New York to Japan.

We also have tremendous choices on ways to get our information today. There's e-mail, audio, and video. They run on our desktops and laptops through the Internet. There are cable lines into our homes and satellite dishes on our roofs. From that home computer, we track our favorite team's performance, or someone else's team, in the World Cup. We can send e-mail questions to NASA's "newest and oldest" astronaut, Senator John Glenn, for CNN correspondent John Holliman's "Space Page." We can visit the International Space Station's 3-D website that uses virtual reality to get a preview of how International Space Station components will work in outer space.

To illustrate how far we've come in a short time, the biggest computer in the world when I arrived at Boeing, in 1965, had less power than what I carry in my briefcase today. In the 1960s, our airplanes were designed in two dimensions, using pen and ink on large sheets of mylar. Now Boeing people create airplane designs completely electronically. They view colorful, solid three-dimensional models to see all aspects of their design. Truly tremendous change.

Today I can communicate directly to almost 150,000 Boeing people with just a single keystroke. This is almost double what it was one year ago. What does this mean? It will result in more, and hopefully, better communication. It will change organizational structure. It will radically change the way we do business. In fact, Boeing people are watching this -- right now -- across the country on our Boeing Education Network through our business partner DigitalXpress.

We are changing the way people live and communicate because of the advances in technology. This ultimately impacts how we relate to one another, our companies, our communities, our cities, our countries, and our world. We are in the midst of dramatic change.

I do believe technology will continue to link us even closer together as a global community.

Second, imagination and innovation have allowed us to change.

Let's go back in time.

Let's go back in time and see the speed at which we are changing at an ever rapid pace. In the 15th century, an imaginative Italian artist and military engineer Leonardo da Vinci created the first designs for "flying ships," artillery tanks, and the first retractable landing gear. Hundreds of years later, in 1903, two innovative bicycle mechanics, the Wright Brothers, from Dayton, Ohio, flew the first engine-powered aircraft. Forty-four years later, when the jet engine and sweptwing technology came together, in 1947, we leaped into the jet age with more innovation. Ten years later, the former Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial earth satellite. Our journey into space began. And 12 years later, a man stood on the moon. Imagination and innovation allowed us to change.

As we cross over into the 21st century, the commercialization of space will offer us similar opportunity to imagine, innovate, and change. Forecasts show we will need 2,000 satellites to meet the information technology demands over the next 10 years.

Already in orbit is the Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based navigation system. This Boeing-built constellation of 24 satellites allows users to know exactly where they are 24 hours a day, under all weather conditions, anywhere in the world. GPS is used by farmers, by fishermen, by hikers, and by airlines - making life easier and, more importantly, safer.

And our new Boeing Business Jet will be "a flying office in the sky," with instant communication to the world. It will feature avionics with fully integrated GPS navigation and voice and digital data satellite communications.

To create the world's first advanced telecommunications network, Teledesic, Motorola, Boeing and Matra Marconi Space have recently joined efforts to design this "Internet-in-the-Sky." It will provide high-speed data connections to businesses, institutions, and individuals everywhere on earth regardless of location. This broad bandwidth is going to allow us the ability to truly do mobile computing; i.e., to move around on land, on air, or on sea and get our information anywhere on the planet.

Manned space is also providing an opportunity for innovation with the U.S. space shuttle and the International Space Station. The space station is one of the most complex systems integration jobs ever undertaken. It also represents how technology can bring 16 countries together to foster advances in science and technology to make our world better.

Today, we are on the threshold of a value-driven commercial expansion in space. I believe space will become a more attractive place to do business as lower costs and streamlined processes emerge.

Imagination and innovation have allowed, and will allow, us to change.

This brings us to our challenge: to work together for a better world.

I believe we control our own destiny. And that we can accomplish great things by working together. An example of the power of "Working Together" can be seen at The Boeing Company.

In 1989, Boeing was typical of many large organizations - bureaucratic and separated by functional walls. When the time came to do a whole brand new airplane family, the Boeing 777, a few years ago, we knew we had to do something different. The 777 would have three million parts: 3,000 pieces of tubing, 1,300 wire bundles, 14 tires, two great big engines. To produce the 777, we knew we had to take a new approach: a lot of people working together.

We created a mission statement: It was: "Working together to produce the preferred new airplane." Key words: "Working Together." We invited our customers and suppliers into the design process. We created teams to design and build a new airplane family. At first, it was difficult. Most people don't like when someone watches them at work. We like to complete our work before showing it to someone else.

A few years ago, a teacher friend of mine gave me a button that read: "None of us is as smart as all of us." I believe that states the power of working together. We can do magical things working together.

Our customers really helped us tremendously with the design of the 777. Helped a lot. Helped with the little things. Literally, thousands of things: reading lights that can be easily changed in flight. We learned that it's powerful to listen closely to the customer. The 777 is an airplane of thousands of "working together" ideas.

A TV cameraman caught me jumping up and down at the first flight of the 777 just four years ago this month. And someone asked me, "Why are you jumping up and down?" Didn't I think it would fly? The answer was, "I knew it would fly. I was excited because it proved that the process of working together had worked." Today, at Boeing, working together is an integral part of how we design-and-build…from the International Space Station to the Joint Strike Fighter.

We have done amazing things in both aerospace and information technology, but what does that tell us about the future?

We have only begun to see the impact. We live in an era of dramatic change.

I believe technology will continue to link us together as a global community. I believe imagination and innovation have allowed, and will allow, us to change. Our challenge is to work together to use technology for a better world.

Information technology is powerful. It drives us to new levels of learning, living and communicating. As information technology executives and government leaders, opportunities exist for us. I believe we can all come together, and work together, to accomplish great things in the years ahead.

So. . ."When do we start?"