Like many of us, Dr. Renata Jovanovic is excited to see the significant growth and collaborations happening within the quantum industry. “I would call it the art of possible in the engineering,” she explained. As a Partner at Deloitte, and a quantum ambassador, Jovanovic has a front-row seat to experience the changes in this industry, specifically in the applications of quantum technology. “For any true invention to be considered innovative, it needs to be applied, to make our lives better or to accelerate scientific discovery,” she added. “My focus is on making an impact in the chemical industry because that is my background. This industry will be one of the first to benefit from applications of quantum computing along its value chain.”
This career experience made Jovanovic appreciate the possibilities of quantum even more. “I was a leader in a chemical company and was doing a lot of chemical simulations and modeling on my own,” Jovanovic stated. “There is a holy grail in the chemical industry, the structure-property relationship. So, the goal is to know what you are going to get as a product out of the reactor, even before you put the raw materials in. That’s the ‘holy grail’. And that’s where artificial intelligence and especially quantum computing is going to help us fundamentally change our approach to such types of challenges. There are many other use cases for the quantum along the value chain of a chemical company.” Merging chemistry and quantum was exciting for Jovanovic, who calls herself a life-long learner. As both her parents were scientists, she recounts how she would play with circuits as a child, sparking her dreams of going into engineering.
Now at Deloitte, Jovanovic relishes her ability to share her passions with her clients. “Now I’m advising my clients on how to use this technology to advance their own businesses,” she explained. “There are a lot of different approaches to quantum that I see my clients take. Some of them say: ‘Oh, it’s going to come in 5-10 years, I still have time and other priority projects.’ Others are already collaborating with this rich ecosystem of quantum computing, hardware, software, and consulting.” For those who are still on the fence, Jovanovic emphasizes that the time to enter the industry is now rather than later. “Later on, it will likely become more complex to enter,” she added, “as there will be more pressure for talent in this industry. So, you have to grow your own talent, have your own strategy for quantum, and have your use cases ready early on to succeed.”
With this ecosystem growing, many companies, including Deloitte, are looking for an influx of talent. For Jovanovic, this new hiring wave could be an opportunity to help the industry become more inclusive. “We need diverse thinking, diverse backgrounds, as well as neuro-diversity because there are geniuses around us, and we simply cannot afford to exclude them.” She explains that as a mentor within this industry, she has seen few women make it to positions of authority or deciding to be quantum start-up founders. Combining the need for mentorship with the high cost of quantum education makes the problems multi-faceted, she adds. While she encourages many currently in the industry to step up as mentors, Jovanovic also speaks to the incoming talent cohort as well. “We also need new colleagues to bring determination and a willingness for life-long learning,” she said. “We need to take this opportunity to be curious and be bold.”