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The creative engineering education imperative for twenty-First century living

conference contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Jennifer Loy, Samuel Canning
Engineering and design in the twentieth century were conventionally taught from opposite ends of an educational spectrum. Engineering education built certainty on a strong foundation of fundamental knowledge, with students engaging with applications only once those fundamentals were ingrained. Design, in contrast, involved challenging certainty, with divergent thinking, experience mapping, problem framing and exploratory research. Over the last twenty years, elements of creativity and design process education have progressed into the majority of engineering curricula, but change is still slow. Yet, meanwhile, the pace of technological change impacting engineering futures and has been rapid. Arguably, the ability to be open and responsive to radical changes in thinking will become increasingly vital for engineering educators and practitioners with the unknowns of rapid change, both technical and social. For future engineering professionals to be able to be responsive to each wave of disruptive technology, engineering educators will have to re-invigorate their efforts in the adoption of pedagogy that supports creativity and innovation in order to keep pace. In addition, engineering graduates need to be educated not only in how to respond creatively to new technologies but in retaining the human-centred focus of development in an environment where rapid technological change has the possibility of fracturing or supporting human centred and community development. This paper proposes a return to education aimed at producing holistic engineers who integrate social aspirations and technological innovation into their work, as in the nineteenth century, to safeguard human development in the digital era of the twenty-first.



Engineering and Product Design Education. International Conference (19th : 2017 : Oslo, Norway)


The Design Society Institution of Engineering Designers


Oslo, Norway

Place of publication

Glasgow, Scotland

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed


Arild Berg, Erik Bohemia, Lyndon Buck, Tor Gulden, Ahmed Kovacevic, Nenad Pavel

Title of proceedings

EPDE 2017 : Building Community : Design Education for a Sustainable Future : Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education