PPL Challenge #1

Create an overall strategy (business plan) for exchanging knowledge between the experienced and the new generation of engineers.

About PPL Corporation:
Based in Allentown, PA. PPL Corporation (http://www.pplweb.com) is a FORTUNE 500 company that delivers electricity and natural gas to nearly1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania; markets wholesale energy in 42 U.S. states and Canada; generates electricity at power plants in Pennsylvania, Maine, and Montana; and delivers electricity to 2.4 million customers in southwest Britain and nearly 2 million customers in Chile, Bolivia, Brazil and El Salvador.

Background Information:
Like many other corporations, PPL has an experienced work force. Many of our finest employees have contributed over 30 years of service. PPL employees have gained a wealth of knowledge in their particular area of expertise.  This is particularly true in the engineering profession. PPL has often been described as “an engineering company.” It is certainly true that our engineers have made many extraordinary valuable contributions to our successes over our companys history. As PPL moves into the new century, many of these experienced employees will be looking to retire.  With that comes a new highly trained work staff right out of college.  These new engineers will bring with them many new advanced ideas regarding technology and new creative work practices. We expect many young engineers will be from minorities and speak a variety of languages.  While we will be able to learn much from them in many areas, a concern is that they will be lacking experience. The question becomes how do we exchange the knowledge our experienced workers have acquired over many years with the new generation of engineers who bring with them the latest information. And, how can they effectively pass on their ideas to our experienced engineers?

We must also make sure new engineers adapt to the “PPL culture.” Understanding the culture at a company is critical.  All companies have different ways of doing things and of how employees are expected to govern themselves.  In other words, what might be suitable in one company may be completely taboo in another. As high school students, you are the major stakeholders in the solution process.  If you were hired by PPL tomorrow, what would you need to learn from experienced employees so you can “seamlessly” become a productive member of the PPL family? And what is the most effective way for you to get that information?

Other questions we need you to address are:

Suggested Approaches/Considerations:

Suggested Research Areas:

PPL Expectations:
PPL is already aware of the vast pool of computer-based learning modules offered by software manufacturers.  We also know of the standard, “off the shelf” pre-job training programs.  While you may use those as resources, they should not be considered solutions.  Rather, we are looking for a creative alternative plan to orient incoming engineers into the PPL family with minimal loss of knowledge of our corporate history and goals. You are encouraged to research and formulate creative and imaginative solutions to this growing problem. Think outside the box!  Keep in mind that all engineers--both new and experienced--need easy access to PPLs knowledge bank (our collective brainpower).  For this to happen, you need to come up with a powerful and coordinated model.  You need to create a system that links people so as to orchestrate communication among people who dont normally interact with one another.  A key part of your solution is to “engineer” inter-connectivity to create a sense of community.  Youre expected to develop a social web that carries a mother load of intelligence, knowledge, and creativity that can be exchanged and tapped into by PPL engineers.

Oral Presentation:
If you are selected to give an oral presentation for this problem, the presentation will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2002, at PPL headquarters in Allentown, Pa. You will be given directions and an agenda later.

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