Innovation Soars at The Hangar in Tech Square
A visit to The Hangar, Delta's global innovation center in Georgia Tech's Technology Square.
The next invention to make flying more enjoyable could be found in Technology Square.
Delta is working with Georgia Tech students to develop innovative ways to improve overall operations and the customer experience.
Through Delta’s global innovation center, called The Hangar, teams redesigned food and beverage carts to maximize storage space in the galleys. They developed a program to allow customers to pre-select on-board meals on some flights, guaranteeing their preferred entrée will be available. Additional projects explore how to incorporate drones, autonomous vehicles and other forms of disruptive technology.
Delta opened the doors to The Hangar Tuesday to showcase some solutions developed over the past year.
“For us, it’s really about a vehicle and a new channel to innovate,” said Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer. “We’ve got our normal channels within Delta to work and innovate, which do a great job … This gives us an agile type of development and innovation center that we’re able to test ideas and fail and experiment.”
The Hangar is one of 16 corporate innovation centers in Tech Square. Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson said these centers allow larger companies to access the Institute’s talent and technologies, while also collaborating with the area’s startup community.
“The ecosystem that Bud and Georgia Tech have created here is just really powerful,” West said.
A key part of that ecosystem is students like Veronica Young. Young, a senior majoring in industrial design, works in the center as a customer experience designer. She goes through each part of the customer experience with Delta and looks at how to make it better for the customer, as well as employees.
She’s currently working on a project tied to the check-in process for the Delta Sky Club and flew up and down the East Coast, visiting different sky clubs.
“I absolutely love my job,” said Young, who is graduating Saturday and has been offered a full-time position with Delta. “You are not treated like an intern because you are part of the team. They trust us to lead projects and figure it out.”
While the innovation centers generate solutions for existing real-world challenges, they also identify potential future disrupters that will be need to be addressed.
As companies like Delta look for solutions to current and future problems, it’s natural that they turn to Georgia Tech for help, Peterson said.
“We’ve got a bunch of really smart people that are looking for problems and Delta is looking for solutions,” he said. “This allows us to marry those problems with solutions.”