Engineering Creativity Becca Day

"Many nonengineers would say the phrase "Creative Engineer" is an oxymoron."

-The Creative Engineer

Engineers are notoriously "not creative" - or are they?

Being an engineer requires the ability to think outside of the box, to solve problems in unconventional ways, and to think about possible solutions for seemingly unsolvable problems.

In other words, it requires some form of creativity.

So how did engineers obtain this reputation?

Engineers must have a solid foundation in math and physics, leading many people to make the broad generalization that all engineers love math and physics.

This is, in fact, not true.

Many engineers succeed in their field due to their interest in applying the math and physics to solve problems. An engineer can power through the grueling work that is differential equations in order to later apply those same concepts to developing a useful tool for real-world applications.

They are the world's problem solvers.

However, these problems are solved by improving upon already implemented solutions, meaning there is no "blank slate" for engineers. Many people believe that in order to be truly creative, one has to be able to come up with an idea from scratch.

This preconceived notion of creativity stemming from essential "nothingness" leads many people to believe that engineers are not truly creative.

While engineers tend to focus more on the functionality of an object or process, a certain form of creative thinking is required. Creative thinking is not artistic thinking; this confusion is the common source for believing engineers are not creative.

Creative thinking requires the ability to look at a situation and think of an alternative way of handling the situation. In order for an engineer to be successful at his or her job, this quality is an absolute must.


Created with images by Unsplash - "suspension bridge bridge river" • Pexels - "arches architecture bridge" • Unsplash - "ruler pencil eraser" • Pixel-mixer - "aircraft turbine nozzle" • Unsplash - "steelwork walkways handrailing"

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